Mobile Games: The Road So Far


How does a simple piece of code turn into a multi-billion dollar business? How does the release of a single gadget lead to a revolution? How does a novelty become part of everyday life in just two decades? To know the answer to these questions, take a look at the history of mobile games so far.

In the beginning

Embedded games were present on the “dumb” handsets of the 1990s when phones were little more than communication devices. The games were extremely simple and were added to the phones’ software as a curiosity. It was not until Nokia released its legendary 6110, with “Snake” included in its code, that users started to consider mobile phones to be more than just communication devices. “Snake” was a massive success, especially due to its simplicity, and basic multiplayer capabilities via the phones’ built-in infrared ports.

The evolution of mobile hardware

While phones became smarter over the years, they were never considered to be dedicated gaming devices. Although there were some attempts to turn them into ones, like Nokia’s nGage, they were overshadowed by the PlayStation Portable, Sony’s handheld console, that took the gaming world by storm in the mid-2000s. Years still had to pass until the phones could turn the tables on consoles, reaching their current position in the gaming industry.

It is interesting to note that the first real money mobile games were released around this time. First launched at the Royal Vegas Online Casino, mobile slots were a novelty, yet not very successful. No wonder – the Royal Vegas Mobile Casino required an internet connection to be played, something quite expensive and unreliable at the time.

But everything changed with the release of the iPhone, Apple’s revolutionary gadget, in 2008.

The Smartphone (r)evolution

With Apple redefining the phone, turning it into a pocket-sized computer with an incredibly large screen, everything has changed. The new platform opened up a brand new realm for developers to explore, and mobile games started to flow. Today there are hundreds of thousands of games available for all smartphone platforms, always just one tap away. And mobile games became the new norm, overtaking desktops, and consoles in the process.

The smartphone also helped real money gaming to break into the mobile world. The Royal Vegas Mobile Casino has been transformed from a bunch of rudimentary Java applets into a sophisticated, reliable, secure, and most importantly cross-platform gaming interface. Royal Vegas can now be accessed by players all over the world using their smartphones and tablets, by simply navigating to its website. For this, all they need is a live internet connection, nothing more.

Finally, some numbers

The numbers are the best way to show the evolution of mobile gaming over the last two decades. According to Newzoo’s estimates, the global gaming market will be worth $99.6 billion this year, with smartphones and tablets being responsible for over a third of the total revenue. By 2019, Newzoo estimates that this percentage will grow close to 50%, further carving into the market share of desktop PCs and consoles. A massive growth in just twenty years, don’t you think?