Play away: 5 Alternatives to console gaming
These days pretty much anything with a screen can be used to play games. For us enthusiasts that means whether we're sitting on the throne, pretending we're working at our desks, or killing time while the missus tries on clothes, we've always got video games handy. These are our favourite ways to play away from home...
Social games maker Zynga accounted for 12% ($444m) of Facebook's total $3.7bn revenue last year. Farmville has over 60 million active users. Call of Duty Black Ops has sold 25-30m copies since launch. Mass Effect, Dragon Age, FIFA and many other of gaming's biggest and best franchises are well represented on the social network. Give them a shot.
Free to play
Japan based publisher Gree makes £12m a month from one game (they're bigger than Zynga). PC MMO League of Legends has 11.5 million monthly active users. F2P games come in all kinds of different flavours these days, if shooters are your thing Valve's Team Fortress 2 is the one to beat. CCP's free-to-play shooter Dust 514 hits PS3 in 2012.
iPad / iPhone apps
There are 306,554 apps on the iPhone app store, over 200,000 of which are paid-for. The app store ($7.08bn) alone is worth more than RIM ($7.04m), the makers of Blackberry. For the price of a chocolate bar you can download games that provide dozens of hours of gaming time. Those open to drop a little extra coin can pick up high-end experiences that rival some of the consoles best.
There are 350,000 Android apps, though over 10% are removed due to bugs and inactivity. Android devices can also "Take the world of PlayStation everywhere with the PlayStation Official App". The app allows users to access classics such as Syphon Filter, WipEout and Destruction Derby from their phones.
There's a natural overlap with 'free to play' games, but Jagex's Runescape has been installed over 130m times, with 8.5m active users. Google's Chrome Web Store offers a number of top notch games such as Plants Vs. Zombies, King of Fighters and Bastion. Even id Software is getting in on the action, Quake Live allows desk bound gamers to play the classic FPS online for free.