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The mobile gaming industry is thriving, thanks to app stores and the billions of people worldwide who use phones. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, with developers and publishers competing to make financially successful, increasingly impressive games that push the boundaries of mobile gaming.

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With phones being easily accessible and mobile games readily available, it’s no wonder mobile gaming is so popular.

However, there’s a bad side to every good side, meaning that for all its positives, mobile gaming has several negatives. Let’s look at some of the main ones.

The Pros of Mobile Gaming

There are multiple reasons why mobile gaming is worthwhile. Here are a few:

1. Mobile Gaming is Convenient

Woman in whote headphones using a smartphone

Part of the appeal of mobile gaming is that you can do it anywhere. Because phones are small, they’re easy to carry around—an advantage of smartphones versus handheld consoles—so many people will probably have their phone on or near them most of the time.

Convenience is one of the best things about mobile gaming. It’s nice to be able to whip out your phone while waiting for something or when there’s a lull in your daily activities instead of waiting to get home to play on a console.

Also, mobile games are easy to download and install—no deciding if game keys are safe, no extra hardware, and no waiting hours for a game to download. With all the advantages of its convenience, mobile gaming is perfect for gaming on the go.

2. Touchscreen Controls Make Mobile Gaming Easy

Hands holding a smartphone

Many people like to complain that touchscreen controls limit the mobile gaming experience, but that’s not entirely true or fair. Older smartphones may have had imperfect controls that made gaming difficult, but smartphones today do a terrific job of giving you a smooth mobile gaming experience.

Touchscreen controls are easy to use because you don’t need to press any buttons. You’re tapping and swiping, which you already do while using your phone outside gaming. That’s why most mobile gamers don’t use a controller; they don’t need one.

Furthermore, with controllers, there’s a learning curve. Not everyone can quickly master controller controls, which can negatively affect their gameplay.

However, if you’re a hardcore mobile gamer looking to upgrade your mobile gaming experience, you might benefit from connecting a handheld controller to your device or some other way of gaming on your phone.

3. Mobile Games Are Affordable

Games can be expensive, with most games having an RRP of $60 or $70—unless they’re mobile games. Many mobile games are free to download, and the ones that cost money are mostly in the single-digit range. Even more pricey games are still within a reasonable amount.

You can access the mobile version of big game titles like Call of Duty and FIFA for free, whereas you’d have to pay tens of dollars for non-mobile versions.

Overall, mobile games are much cheaper than games for other platforms. Their affordability allows people to play various games without breaking the bank.

4. It’s Easier to Be Consistent When Playing Mobile Games

children lying on sofa and using gadgets

There’s a level of consistency you can easily maintain when playing mobile games that you can’t as easily maintain on a console or PC, and much of it has to do with the accessibility of mobile games.

If you’re into quests and challenges, or you want to check on the progress of an in-game task, you can quickly pick up your phone and launch a game; this is incredibly convenient if you only have a few minutes to spare.

In comparison, console games require you to invest more time and energy. Unless you’re a pro gamer or have a lot of free time on your hands, you won’t be able to play video games for hours. PCs are better, but you can’t carry them around all the time, so they’re not as convenient as smartphones.

The Cons of Mobile Gaming

Mobile gaming comes with several headaches. The following are some of them:

1. Mobile Gaming Can Be Unhealthy

tired female student sleeping on books in light room

While mobile is a fun way to while away the time, it can be unhealthy, negatively impacting your physical and mental well-being.

When you spend significant time gaming on your phone, you risk developing eye strain, leading to headaches and blurred vision. That’s why it’s essential to take steps to avoid developing eye strain.

Some games have limited events that allow players to obtain special items. Some people take extreme steps to avoid missing deadlines for tasks during these limited-time events; this could mean staying up at night or setting an alarm to wake them in the middle of the night, neither of which is ideal.

Sleep deprivation is a serious condition that can lead to an increased risk of health problems, accidents, mood swings, and fatigue, besides affecting your productivity during the daytime.

2. Mobile Gaming Can Be Distracting

Representation of a person using their smartphone while driving

Mobile gaming can distract you from what’s happening around you. Because mobile games are typically designed to be immersive, it’s not hard to find that you don’t want to be bothered while playing.

With notifications urging you to continue playing, it’s easy to pick up your phone intending to only check in for a moment, then end up playing for hours. You might become so immersed that you join the wrong waiting line or end up in the wrong room.

And with social features in mobile games, it might be easy to forget to interact with people around you instead of engaging with your in-game friends.

When mobile gaming continuously distracts you from real life, it might be a sign you’ve crossed over into obsession, which we’ll discuss below.

3. There’s Potential for Mobile Gamers Developing an Obsession

Obsession is a scary thing that can be difficult to curb. Some people are more susceptible to developing a mobile gaming obsession than others.

If you notice you’re constantly checking your game, not interacting as much with people in real life, anxious when you spend even a little time away from your game, or spending tons of money on IAPs, it might be time to take a break.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent or curb your mobile gaming obsession, like restricting apps on your Android device. Or you can use Screen Time on your iPhone to limit your gameplay.

4. In-Game Purchases Can Add Up

illustration of coins stacked up and card

Microtransactions are sneaky. It might look like those in-game purchases you make while playing a game are small and harmless, but in reality, they can potentially become the complete opposite.

It’s easy to scoff at someone spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on in-game items, but the truth is that it can be very easy to become a victim yourself if you’re not careful with those microtransactions.

Imagine playing a game where you need gems or tickets to advance and keep running out. If you buy a bundle worth two dollars 20 times, that’s $80 spent. And for some people, it can get much higher than that.

It’s scary how in-game purchases can add up over time. You might look back to find out that you’ve spent a significant amount on boosters and bonuses, special deals, or limited-edition items for your mobile game.

Is Mobile Gaming a Suitable Option?

Mobile gaming’s popularity is ever-increasing because more and more people are buying phones, but is it the best option for gaming? It has some strong positives: it’s convenient, and you can find many free-to-play and affordable paid games in app stores.

It also has eyebrow-raising negatives, like adverse health effects and the potential for obsession and spending on in-game purchases.

However, given that there are ways to avoid the disadvantages of mobile gaming and that mobile gaming remains the most affordable, it’s safe to say that it’s a solid gaming option.

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