Video gaming has evolved to the point where users no longer need a dedicated video game system like Nintendo or PlayStation, when playing games on-the-go. While older cellphones’ hardware was not equipped with high resolution or sophisticated sound systems, with the advent of the smartphone, gaming went mobile in a big way. Equipped with GPS and cameras, consumers today can either purchase phones with games pre-installed or easily downloadable.

Samsung & Rivals

To assess how Samsung gained not only a foothold in the smartphone market but became the dominant gaming player (overtaking all its competitors with a 47 percent increase from a year earlier), one has to understand the history of its rivalries with Apple and HTC, over the years.

While it’s been said that Apple learned from Sony and then overtook it, the same could be said of Samsung seizing a similar opportunity with Apple. Samsung learned about the value of marketing, premium products and enhance product design by replicating Apple’s success in these areas of discipline.

HTC, on the other hand, does not want to be an also-ran in the smartphone race against Samsung. Earlier this year, HTC unveiled its newest flagship phone, the HTC One. However the design of this phone marks a departure from building a better Android smartphone than Samsung, and instead is taking its cues from Apple. By favoring the iPhone design, HTC feels it can better compete against Samsung’s latest release, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Game App Downloads on Smartphones

The increased number of game app downloads to smartphones is a good indicator as to consumer preferences. According to a recent report by analyst Juniper Research, forecasts indicate there will be 64.1 billion such downloads in 2017 — more than three times the 21 billion downloaded in 2012. Key drivers prompting this heightened uptick point to the increasing number of free-to-play releases (aka the freemium business model).

Samsung’s Enhancements

With the release of Samsung Galaxy S4, mobile gaming will provide an enhanced user experience. According to John Gaudiosi in his Forbes report, he noted “there’s a large library of games from top publishers, including Electronic Arts (that are) optimizing games to take advantage of the new functionality the Galaxy S4 introduces to the burgeoning mobile gaming space.”

One of the new gaming technologies that comes part-and-parcel with the new Samsung phone is “Group Play.”  This feature enables one phone to control multiple Near Field Communications (NFC) devices in remote locations. This functionality will allow multiple Galaxy S4 owners to instantly connect with multiplayers.

“Group Play has the potential to enhance social aspects of mobile games and fire up the competitive spirit of our fans,” said Glenn Roland, vice president of New Platforms at EA.

“Games are inherently shared experiences, whether you’re actively playing against others or telling friends about your favorite game. Features like Group Play will continue to evolve the innovation around multiplayer and that’s going to be good for developers.”

While Apple mentions video games in its commercials and has partnered with Epic Games in the past, the company has not been a vocal proponent of gaming. Samsung, perhaps, sees that as an opportunity.

“It shows that Samsung sees gaming as a key differentiator for their flagship devices, and it shows that gaming is a major feature of what people expect from a great smartphone,” said Baudouin Corman, vice president at Gameloft.

According to Eric Franklin at Cnet.com, with the latest version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor, “the Galaxy S4 catapults itself to the top of the smartphone gaming heap” where purchasers will experience the best that gaming has to offer.

One of the most important features when it comes to gaming is the display. Users tend to demand high quality from their phone displays, and with the S4 that is what you get. The 5-inch 1080p HD screen and the color rendition is comparable to what you see on today’s Samsung TVs making the gaming graphics ‘killer.’

Games To Consider Playing On The S4

The best free games for the Samsung Galaxy S4 range from casual games that can kill a few minutes at a crack, to sweeping epics which appeal to the hardcore gamers who have time on their hands.

Some websites list dozens of recommended free game apps and reviews several of the more notable ones. Pointing to the classics, they state that you can’t discuss mobile gaming without a deferential nod to the ‘Angry Bird’ franchise: “Debuting in the December of 2009, Angry Birds took the world by storm with its wacky, flightless and short-tempered avians and their never-ending war against the egg-snatching Bad Piggies.”

Another game, which caught some buzz early on, was the result of a celebrity’s passion for the app. Even folks who’ve never played the game might remember the 2011 incident when Alec Baldwin refused to power-down his ‘Words With Friends’ game on an airplane. The situation got heated when a flight attendant threatened to have him exit the American Airline’s flight delayed at a gate at LAX. Reminiscent of the classic board game Scrabble, WWF also has some in-depth networking tools that allow players to exchange messages, make friends online, and challenge opponents to another round anytime.

Temple Run features a more fast-paced gaming experience. Running for one’s life from evil demonic monkeys in a ruined temple, the player is tasked with surviving for as long as possible. At high speeds, you have to navigate around obstacles, take sharp turns, and leap over chasms. The challenge and subsequent interest in Temple Run for users is the game never ends and you can continue to level up as you become more proficient.

Conclusion

Bottom line, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 remains the smartphone front-runner for many of its other attributes, but especially in the ever-evolving world of mobile gaming. It has the edge, the design, the bandwidth and the speed. This model is more than a smartphone with features — it’s a mobile game console that is leading and distinguishing itself from the competition.

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