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How Android TV will change the way you game

John Gaudiosi | July 15, 2014
Look for the line that separates mobile gaming from console experiences to get even more blurry with the release of Android TV. We talked to game makers to find out why.

Multiplayer experiences will rule the living room
Chris Howard, chief gamer at publisher zGames, believes mobile gaming will evolve into multiplayer experiences that can be enjoyed by the whole family in the living room. Casual mobile games will start appearing in the living room, introducing more interactive multiplayer options for friends and families. That's something consoles have relied on since their inception as a way to keep gamers engaged in cooperative action titles like Super Smash Bros., Lego Lord of the Rings, and Ratchet & Clank.

"You'll have both the single-player mobile experience, as well as multiplayer living room social play that you can't get now on mobile," said Howard, who has optimized the cartoon fighting game Fright Fight for Android TV with Tegra K1. "We're offering more advanced visual effects without lag. The graphics really pop and the gameplay is smooth. You can definitely tell the difference on the big screen."

Controllers will enhance both old and new games
Never underestimate the value that controllers can bring to the gaming experience, says Pascal Bestebroer, founder of Orangepixel, whose games include Groundskeeper 2, Gunslugs, and Heroes of Loot. "Even though my games are designed to work great on mobile touch screens, there is still the simple fact that they can be enjoyed even more with physical controllers like those on Android TV," Bestebroer said.

Bestebroer adds that he's already seen "great response and request" for older games to be made available for devices such as Ouya and the Fire TV. "So I can't wait to have a much larger audience who has an Android TV gaming system in their living room. It makes it easier from a business perspective to focus more on that segment of gamers who play with physical controllers instead of touch screens."

One device to rule them all
Right now, the Android mobile gaming space remains a fractured market, where developers need to create different variations of the same game for different chipsets and devices. With a unified Tegra K1 chip running Android TV, game makers will be able to deliver a huge, quality library of offerings directly to consumers in the living room. For gamers, this means an influx of enhanced mobile games for the big screen for a small fraction of the cost of investing in console hardware and software.

"I strongly believe that mobile developers, who are used to fast iterations and shorter development cycles, can quickly offer many high-end games for the K1/Android TV combo," said Tom Mleko, co-founder of mobile game publisher HyperBees. "Mobile developers are at an advantage here because they already have a massive audience enjoying their titles on smartphones and tablets. Now they can add better graphics, new game modes and a different social context: at home, on the sofa, with friends."

Mleko thinks mobile games are far more accessible than console titles. "They're casual by nature and have lower price points," he said. "As a result, Microsoft, Sony, and PC game developers will have a serious competitor for the TV audience."


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