The impact of touch screen on gaming

Touch screen technology has been on the market for a while now – specifically for gaming devices – although it’s only in the last 10 years that this translated to mobile technology. It has boosted online gaming numbers because of the ease of use on mobile phones; but how exactly has touch screen technology improved?

The main type of touch screen currently used in mobile technology (especially the iPhone) is a capacitive screen; these work with anything that holds an electrical charge – including human skin. They’re made up of materials that hold charges in an electrostatic grid of either a surface or projective screen. Resistive screens are analogue devices that create a connection between two flexible resistive screens. They use the pressure of your finger to create a change in the flow of electricity; when a finger is placed on the mobile, a voltage drop is registered that allows the screen to work.

Resistive screens were used in the earliest touch screen mobiles, along with QWERTY keyboards, although these were not very popular with users – especially gamers – as the pressure needed for the mobile to register touch, and the tiny size of buttons, made gaming near enough impossible. However, as capacitive screens became more widespread and ‘light touch’ technology started to improve – so did the number of mobile gamers. 61% of smartphone owners in 2011 used their mobile for gaming at sites like, and this number is only set to rise with the improvement of the technology. In fact many people are accessing games – from poker favourites to Angry Birds – on a daily basis during their commute or whilst waiting.

The development of capacitive screens will have had a part to play in the growth of mobile gaming, particularly in the poker industry. It has allowed online poker providers to develop their apps to allow smooth and accurate games of poker. With small icons in the games, such as card and chips, its important the touch screen is accurate so players don’t place incorrect bets. Going all-in with a poor hand, by accident, could cost the player all their bankroll and put them off playing again.

Continuing the technological advances of the mobile touch screen is becoming more difficult. However, improvements can always be made, and the most recent is in regard to the screen’s basic capacitance charge before it is touched. Having a higher starting capacitance makes the change harder to detect and so helps to eliminate false touches, which could cost you money when shopping online or playing poker – although it also makes it harder to detect which buttons are being pressed, causing its own issues.
This brought in a range of touch screens which can be calibrated to each individual user. Although these have gone a long way to completely eradicate the over-sensitivity of touch screens, many ‘average’ users don’t know how to calibrate a screen – leading to many becoming irritated with the technology despite its overwhelming popularity.

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