In today’s gaming world, one of the many new innovations that’s being embraced by gamers all over is cross-connectivity. Both Sony and Nintendo have already found ways to let gamers switch their games between consoles and mobile devices thanks to the PlayStation Vita’s cross-play functionality and the Wii U’s gamepad but another such avenue for gamers looking to supplement and enhance their games has come in the form of smartphone companion apps.
Browsing both Apple’s iOS and Google Play’s Android app stores reveals just how robust the companion app market has already become. Apps such as Battlefield 3’s Battle Log or Hitman: Absolution’s ICA Monitor allow players to track their stats, keep up on the latest news and announcements from developers, and even unlock and customize new items within the games themselves.
And then there’s apps like the Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game or Mass Effect 3’s recently retired Datapad which take the integration one step further; allowing players to play a portable version of a game on their phone which can in turn unlock rewards in the game’s console version. Before it was sadly discontinued by Bioware, ME3’s Datapad even helped enrich the game’s single-player story by granting access to a fictional galactic email account which filled up with messages from the player’s squadmates as they progressed through the game’s single-player campaign.
Developer Ubisoft seems to be a particularly big advocate of the companion app scene as it has already released a number of mobile games with more on the way, all of which are tied together thanks to Ubisoft’s popular gaming hub service Uplay. Heck, Ubisoft’s upcoming open world hacker thrill ride Watch Dogs features a protagonist whose chief weapon *is* a smartphone and whose actions can be helped or hindered thanks to a planned companion app which will tie into the game’s multiplayer.
EA hasn’t been slacking off either since both Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3 are IP’s under its domain and the upcoming Battlefield 4 will feature the return of the popular Commander Mode which can be utilized on the go thanks to a tablet companion app that will be released simultaneously with the game. Whatever Bioware has in store next for the Mass Effect universe, you just know that the team is already looking into ways of making mobile integration a viable part of the experience.
So what about you VGU readers? Do you think mobile companion apps are becoming a more and more important facet of how gamers enjoy their games? Do you constantly find yourself utilizing companion apps? Or do you think they’re just another fad that will pass with time? Sound off on this week’s VGU Reader Discussion in the comments below or through our pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Raptr.