Mobile gaming is an enormously popular sector of the video games industry, making up almost half of the industry’s total worldwide revenue, which is on course to exceed $200 billion in the next few years!
Mobile gaming has brought gaming to a whole new audience, with millions of people worldwide playing games such as Candy Crush. Many of these people were never the target market for the video games industry and have little to no experience of video gaming before the popularization of mobile games.
However, mobile gaming was not always so popular – in fact, it was a neglected and overlooked sector of the video games industry for many years! So how did mobile gaming start, and how did it get so big?
The Beginning of Mobile Gaming
The first game on a mobile phone was a version of the classic Russian arcade game Tetris in 1994, on the Hagenuk MT-2000 mobile phone. Three years later, the hugely popular Snake was released on the Nokia 6110 and became a cultural phenomenon due to its ease of use and addictive gameplay. The years following saw other arcade classics such as Space Invaders on mobile phones. These early mobile games had no online functionality and came pre-installed on mobile devices.
Competition with Handheld Games Consoles
In the 2000s, Nokia released the N-Gage phone – a phone built to compete with video game consoles like the Nintendo Game Boy, as well as having all of the features of a mobile phone. While the N-Gage was a technological advancement and was even able to play certain 3D games, it was unsuccessful in competing with more dedicated handheld games consoles.
Smartphones and the Modern Era of Mobile Gaming
In 2007 Apple launched its hugely popular iPhone, which continues to release new models and dominate not only the smartphone market but the gaming market. While games consoles (both handheld and traditional) still sold and continue to sell at high numbers, the advancements in technology that made smartphones able to play a wider variety of games opened the gaming market up to a whole new audience. Apple’s App Store, and later Android’s own store, offers thousands of apps, including video games, which in some cases rival anything on a dedicated console. Games such as Angry Birds, which broke records in 2009, outsold any traditional console game, and the 2010s saw games like Candy Crush and Pokémon Go become worldwide phenomena due to their ease of use, broad appeal, and lack of need to purchase a dedicated games console.
Mobile app stores also revolutionized the online gambling industry, which was already hugely popular on home computers. Click here to find some of the best online casino sites.
Mobile Gaming Today and in the Future
Apple’s App Store has nearly 2 million apps today, and Google’s Play app store has almost 3 million! Most of these games use advertising to make a profit, and the vast majority will never reach the popularity of classics like Angry Birds or Candy Crush.
Mobile gaming has transformed what was previously a niche hobby into a pastime enjoyed by a huge percentage of the global population daily. While mobile gaming has never been as technologically advanced as console or PC gaming, we are likely not too far away from technological advancements such as VR making their way to mobile games!