Mobile gaming is now an even bigger industry than both PC and console gaming, which may not be surprising since almost all of us carry a smartphone everywhere we go. Gaming on phones took off way back in 1997 with the inclusion of Snake on Nokia’s handsets.
However, the landscape of gaming on phones has changed dramatically with the use of today’s smartphones.
As a result, there are thousands of games available to us by simply downloading them to your device or visiting websites to play. For example, a quick browse on www.mobile-casino.com reveals a plethora of casino-style games all designed to be played on mobile devices.
It is safe to say that gaming can change our lives and this article will go through some of the most interesting ways that smartphone games have done just that.
Gaming on the Go
Without a doubt, the feature that holds the most responsibility for the popularity of smartphone games is their portability and accessibility. The fact that you have access to such a huge library of games inside your pocket at all times is mindblowing.
Whether you’re on the train, waiting in a queue or the doctor’s waiting room, you can keep yourself entertained by simply pulling out your smartphone and playing some games. Sure, there are dedicated mobile gaming consoles out there but they require you to carry an extra device around just for gaming. On the other hand, you’re very likely to have your phone on your at all times so it just makes playing games that much more simple.
More often than not, mobile games are much simpler in nature than PC or console games so they lend themselves perfectly for a quick 5 or 10 minutes of gameplay while you wait for the bus.
Playing for Money
Outside of the more traditional kinds of games, smartphones also offer the ability to play inside virtual casinos and even bet on sporting events around the globe.
Major casino brands now have websites and apps where players can log in, deposit some cash and play for money on casino staples like poker, roulette and blackjack. You can even have a spin on the virtual slot machines and try for the jackpot.
Similarly, most sports betting companies have taken advantage of the online gambling scene by offering apps for placing wagers on thousands of events all over the world.
You no longer need to head to a physical location to place a bet. You just need to open the app, select your chosen bet and cross your fingers. These apps even offer in-play betting on many events where you can bet live as you watch the action unfold.
Thanks to smartphones, it has never been easier to play casino games or bet on sports so the popularity of both has rocketed over the past decade.
The Business of Smartphone Gaming
The game Snake, which was mentioned in the intro was simply included with multiple Nokia handsets for free as standard. Having the game on the phone was a selling point at the moment of purchase but offered nothing more in terms of revenue beyond that point.
Nowadays, this certainly isn’t the case. The 2019 mobile gaming industry was worth an estimated $61.7 billion (USD). A staggering amount.
What might seem even more staggering is the fact that many games are free to download and play so how can this industry possibly be worth so much?
In general, these free games make their money in 2 ways: advertising and in-app purchases.
Mobile game developers can sign up for popular advertising networks that allow companies to place adverts throughout their games. If you’ve played any mobile games lately, you will no doubt have come across an annoying pop-up advert that you were forced to watch before continuing with your game.
In some games, adverts are tied to rewards inside the game. For example, actions inside a game might take a specific amount of time to complete so you may need to wait before progressing.
Players can cut down this wait time by watching a video. These videos are adverts that companies have paid to have inside the game.
The second highly prevalent method of making revenue from free to download games is for companies to include additional content that can be purchased in the game. Sometimes, this might be aesthetic content like outfits but some games offer purchases to help players progress faster like weapons or in- game currencies.
Top Mobile Games
The variety of mobile games is so vast. The top three most popular mobile games of all time are very different from each other but they still boast a combined total of over 4.5 billion downloads. Here are the current top three mobile games in terms of downloads:
1. Subway Surfers - 2.7 billion downloads
Released in 2012, Subway Surfers is an endless runner video game where you play as a graffiti artist who gets caught by and must escape from an inspector and his dog. While running, various obstacles need to be avoided and power-ups can be collected. The game is controlled by simply swiping different directions on your phone’s screen.
2. Pokémon Go - 1 billion downloads
Pokémon Go took the mobile gaming world by storm when it was released back in 2016. It has rocketed to the number two spot in such a short space of time, which is a testament to its popularity. The game is unique in that it features very well-done augmented reality gameplay. The player’s task is to search out the real world for Pokémon that can then be collected and used for battling other players. When it was first released, it was commonplace to see herds of people clutching smartphones in front of them, running to the locations of rare Pokémon in the hopes of adding them to their collection.
3. Candy Crush Saga - 1 billion downloads
Candy Crush was released in 2012 and is a free to play puzzle game. Regular Facebook users will have certainly seen some of their friends playing this game as it has some features where players benefit from connecting the game to their Facebook accounts. The game also offers in-app purchases for items such as extra lives but the game can be played entirely for free if you wish.