Games case: Tablet games
Some four million people were expected to buy or receive a tablet at Christmas 2013, according to the UK news brands assocation, Newsworks.
Over a quarter of the people buying tablets as presents planned to give them to a child aged 10 or under. But the group most likely to spend money on such a generous gift were between 35 and 44, old enough to afford it and young enough to keep abreast of the market's choices.
As with mobile phones before them, the tablet devices are also proving attractive for casual gamers to use them to play all kinds of strategy, puzzle and educational games - as well as more adrenaline-fuelled titles.
The UK's innovative games developer sector has been tackling the challenges of tablet development with applomb.
Blip Blup, for instance, is an addictive puzzle game from ustwo, which is based in London, New York and Malmo. The game requires players to fill a screen-full of tiles with colour. Walls and obstacles get in the way of the colour-pulse's path. There are more than 120 levels.
The tongue in cheek Amateur Surgeon 3 app from Mediatonic, which pioneers games as a service, won plaudits from the likes of Mashable.com, the seriously credible tech site.
This free app turns you into a rookie surgeon who saves lives with tools like a pizza cutter, stapler and car battery. The game offers different locations and challenges. Although distribution is free, Mediatonic, which is based in London and Brighton, sells value-addons.
Preloaded, the London-based studio which aims to make "smart, casual, socially-connected games on any platform" is the developer behind Crafty Cut.
Amplify is a US-focused educational publisher reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn. At the heart of this ambition is a groundbreaking digital curriculum for K-12, focusing on math, ELA and science.
Preloaded worked with Amplify to produce a series of games to be sold along with this core curricula, designed for the Amplify Tablet and a variety of other platforms including iOS.
As part of its focus on math, it developed Crafty Cut, a game which allows the player to explore the relationship between 2D and 3D objects.
Using an intuitive cutting mechanic, the player is tasked with revealing new 2D facets from an increasingly complex array of 3D shapes, delivered through 'Easy', 'Tricky' and 'Fiendish' level progression.
Each level presents a target shape which must be revealed within a set number of moves from a specific 3D object. Performance is based on the quality of the match and graded on a 3 star criteria; correct number of sides, correct internal angles, and correct length of sides.
The rise of tablet devices has undoubtedly created new technical, creative and business challenges for games studios. However, it also promises great opportunities.
Experts believe that the growth of Cloud-based computing, augmented reality and 3D printers, could offer new possibilites for tablet and mobile-based games to develop greater sophistication.