Mobile gaming has grown far beyond what anyone ever imagined. By the end of 2014, it eclipsed the $25 billion revenue mark within a 12-month period, and is projected to surpass $40 billion by the end of 2017. Needless to say, it has quickly overtaken the global prominence of console gaming, becoming the primary way that consumers around the world enjoy video game entertainment.
For as popular of a medium as mobile gaming is, it has been held back by input limitations. Restricted to the singular input of touchscreens and only a few inches of real estate to work with, player input has always been less-than-stellar. For record-high revenue games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga, simple binary touch input hasn't stunted their success, but in the case of more complex games, such as those belonging to the RPG (Final Fantasy) and action (Hitman) genres, it has been a deal-killer for many consumers that has directly affected not only the enjoyment of the titles, but their profitability.
Today, Apple announced 3D Touch as one of the major selling points of its upcoming iPhone 6s. This technology has already been employed successfully on the Apple Watch, providing the user with two methods of input on a small screen. The iPhone 6s will go one step further by providing a three level interface. The screen will recognize not only taps, but presses, and long presses.
For applications, this technology that Apple is betting big money on will be useful in specific scenarios. For gaming, it will be significant across the board.
Imagine a scenario where you're equipped with a sword and shield, such as in the popular title Infinity Blade 3. On any modern phone the game can be programmed to have you tap or swipe to tell the game how you want to attack the enemy with your weapon. With Force Touch, you will have those options, in addition to being able to press for a medium attack, or deep press for a powerful blow to the foe.
There are many uses for 3D Touch, including puzzle games like The Room 2. With more input methods come more options for game design.
Although Apple's iPhone has dropped to a smaller market share than Google's Android in the past couple years, it is still considered the premier ecosystem for gaming around the world. It gets bigger game exclusives, more polished releases, and as such is a leader in its space. Introducing two new simple methods of input without abandoning the touchscreen centric gameplay is a significant evolution.
The hardware is there, but it will need to be supported by software. It's likely that Apple has spent a lot of time and money on getting mobile developers on-board for 3D Touch, but it's up to the developers to decide how to utilize it. One problem posed will be its iPhone 6s exclusivity for the next year or more, meaning that a developer won't be able to market to older devices or other operations systems. New room for innovation will be made less attractive to a smaller install base.
Nonetheless, 3D Touch is an exciting technology for mobile gaming that could have a huge affect on the industry, becoming a solution to a near decade old problem.