Finding an activity that everyone in the family can participate in has troubled parents and children alike for generations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this quandary grew even more acute as people found themselves spending far more time at home than they may have previously. At the same time, many of us migrated to connected television (CTV) to find distractions during the lockdown days.
The massive rise in CTV’s popularity has primarily benefited streaming services like Netflix, and 80% of American households now have at least one smart TV. However, finding the right TV show or film for everyone can be tough as audience preferences can diverge.
In order to bridge that gap, CTV-based gaming has emerged as a unifying alternative for families, and the number and quality of new games is only increasing.
CTV Gaming Works for Families
Gaming content offers an interactive experience that all members of the family can enjoy, regardless of age. Television shows can bring people together but the experience is of course not interactive. A shared experience like gaming is more rewarding for families than individually viewed content like TV as everyone can fully participate.
As CTV games are played on smart TVs, the overall experience for the players is better too. Mobile games depend on small devices with accompanying small screens. CTV on the other hand can offer a large screen experience that’s much easier to enjoy as a group.
This makes CTV gaming an attractive option not just for families but also for those looking for a stress-free, simple experience. CTV games are primarily low-key and relaxing, providing enough of a challenge to retain the player’s attention without overly taxing them. The large screen size, and the fact that you don’t need to connect to other devices, make it easy for family members of all generations to become involved.
Some of the most prominent CTV-based games include casual games like Crazino, racing games like Asphalt 8, and strategy games including Space Conqueror. Of the various platforms you can use, four stand out as the most popular: Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV and Apple TV:
Roku is one of the pioneers in the U.S. CTV market and offers a large number of games. Gaming content on the platform can be found on the Roku Channel Store, and while some are pay-to-play, most are completely free to download, which should give most families a decent range to choose from regardless of budget. Any games you download are added to your Roku home screen, which should make it easy for you to keep track of how many games have been downloaded.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV does offer its users a number of decent quality games but you need to make sure you have the right tool for the right game. Most family games only require the Fire remote to play, however, some like racing and shooting titles may require a gamepad. However, connecting your smart TV to this gamepad isn’t challenging even for the less technologically gifted, and navigating to find your games is easy enough – just visit the Amazon app store for more.
Google TV is particularly easy to use as each connected device already has the Google Play Store installed. All of the supported games on this platform appear in the Play app, and all you need to do is to find the game your family wants and download it. After this stage is complete, it will appear on your home screen.
The process for Apple’s platform is basically the same as that for Android TV, and devices made by the company will come with the eponymous app store pre-installed. The difference however is in controller technology, especially in regards to the Siri virtual assistant software.
Some games on Apple TV already support the Siri Remote, however, others will require an Apple TV controller. One thing to note however is that the number of games available on this platform is fairly limited, so try using other iOS devices to download your game and then screenshare it with your CTV device via the AirPlay screen mirroring function. Some games contain native support for AirPlay – these will use the mirroring iOS device as the controller.
Regardless of the platform you choose, if you want to control the games your children are playing (even as part of a family activity) make sure you control downloading access.
Many CTV games are free to play but some are not, and others may have in-app purchases, and we’re all familiar with what can happen if kids decide to go on a downloading spree.
When making your choice, find the platform that fits in with your family life and provides the games you believe would be most enjoyable for all.
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