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The Evolution of Mobile Gaming Industry

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 2615 words Published: 26th Feb 2020

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The discussion of this document is to explore the history of mobile gaming and explain how it evolved from a small game to a global, multi-billion-dollar industry. Discussing how the mobile gaining industry have developed over the last few years, the growth and threats to the mobile gaming industry. Lastly, what the future holds for mobile gaming if it will succeed or fail.


Mobile gaming is one of the world’s youngest creative industries. (Osborn, 2014) states, “despite its youth, Mobile Gaming is arguably the most pervasive form of gaming across the world today, permeating more corners than any PC, console or handheld has ever reached before.” Mobile games are beginning to become a lot of user friendly as the years pass. Mobile gaming has been popular during the last decade and has fundamentally changed how both casual and hardcore players interact and socialise in gaming environments. The popularity of mobile gaming undoubtedly comes from accessibility, anyone with a smartphone can get addicted, without needing to invest in games or consoles. This type of gaming is not a replacement for traditional video game industries. To quote from (Scimeca, 2015), “These are complementary industries, not competing ones, and that conclusion is becoming increasingly obvious.” The exchanging of ideas between mobile and video gaming industries suggests that mobile gaming may bring down divisions and stereotypes within the traditional game industry. The past few years have seen the computer game business facing some major changes in terms of product, costs and financial gain. While early mobile games were oversimplified and tough to access, up to date games take full advantage of portable technologies like sensible phones and tablets. They have improved dramatically in terms of graphics and mechanics, span over several genres, and target very large audiences.

History of Mobile Gaming

A mobile game is solely a computer game that's contend employing a mobile device. Because of the fast-technological breakthroughs witnessed within the late twentieth and therefore the 21st century, the history of mobile gaming is kind of short. The first mobile game that is known to be played was Tetris back in 1984. “Tetris, one of the best sellers game in the mobile gaming scenario, is an example of casual game,” states (Furini, 2007). Since Tetris’ creation there have been many variations of the popular game for hand held consoles over the years such as the NES and Nintendo’s Game Boy. Three years later, mobile gaming got a wider audience with the success of the Nokia mobile devices and its pre-installed simple game Snake in 1997. (Tombola, no date) states, “this proved to be a masterstroke by Nokia, with the exceptionally addictive Snake becoming the time-killing activity of choice for people of all ages and sexes.” Snake remains one of the most played games and is still Nokia’s number one mobile phone brand, by 2005, the game was on 350 million handsets. By 2000, mobile games had now been available to download through different platforms. Countries where handsets and modern communication through mobile phone networks had become available. In Japan, several games such as puzzle and virtual pet games had become available in 2003. Even though a variety of games were available and widespread, they were minor until 2008 when Apple Inc launched the iOS app store. Many companies could develop more games in the form of apps to sell on handheld devices such as mobile phones, iPads and Laptops as they reached a variety of audiences. This started the competition in the gaming industry, this allowed the entry of more companies being made and the development of games in different genres.

Development of Mobile Gaming

Over the last few years, mobile gaming has developed at a fast rate. With the development of technology like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which were non-existent before mobile gaming started has opened mobile gaming to so many possibilities, such as online multiplayer gaming. (Crews, 2017) argues, “the diversity of mobile gaming today could be regarded as its greatest strength.” Mobile games were harder to obtain in the past, but indie releases can now be accessed through the global market through services such as Google Play and App Stores. Instead of playing “brand” games, users now have access to millions of games that can be downloaded on their smartphones. For example, Angry Birds and Temple Run games have had one billion downloads since they were released. The capability and functionality of mobile gaming have improved dramatically over the years. Various methods to play games have been developed and has led to gaming communities to play games together from around the world. The implementation of augmented reality into smart phones could be the biggest achievement in the evolution of mobile games. One of these games is the Pokemon Go (Nintendo,2018).  game that has been quite popular. “With the development of games such as Pokemon GO, which integrates location properties through GPS with the gaming itself, innovations in the gaming industry are on the rise,” states (Handjam, 2018). Using the players smartphone camera and GPS signal, the game makes it look like there are wild Pokemon showing up in the streets of the real world. When the optional augmented-reality is turned on, it could look like the Pokemon is peek out from grass at the players front door, this put the player in the shoes of the Pokemon trainer.

Growth and Threats

Mobile gaming is a fast-evolving sector in the market and has been overtaking PC gaming between 2014 and 2015. (Raza, 2018) argues that, “With a growth in revenue from $25 billion to $46.2 billion between 2014 and 2017, its rise to the top is unprecedented – and it’s showing no signs of slowing just yet.” The quantity of mobile game users has grown faster than any other gaming platforms, with nearly 200 million using mobile phones in 2017. Mobile phones have become more powerful much quicker then consoles and PC’s, which do not have much room for improvement. Consoles get new hardware every few years whereas, mobile gaming has shorter gaps for improvement. Developers use ads and competitive multiplayer games to make money as users play their games, this helps pay to make more games and company employees. The success of games like “Supercell’s Clash Royale” (Wikipedia, no date), which made $1 billion in less than a year on the market. The opportunities in augmented reality, virtual reality, location-based games like Pokemon Go, (Wikipedia, no date) and the growth of smartphones. Some issues that users have with mobile gaming are getting unwanted mobile game requests, updates and un-skippable ads, they are extremely annoying especially of the user just wants to play a simple relaxing game. “The growing world of in-app purchases, or "micro transactions," a multibillion dollar industry based on "freemium," a category of smartphone apps that are free to download,” claims (Wells, 2015). Paid mobile gaming has two categories, Premium games, players and pay to make the game easier and free to play which is just playing the game for free but you will have to pay money for upgrades and costs real money. One of the other biggest issues and threats facing the mobile gaming industry is Brexit. (Chapple, 2017) states, “Fierce competition, rising user acquisition costs and rising marketing costs were major concerns for 2017.” Being able to fund a certain game is a topic of debate across all gaming platforms. Even with profit and income coming in and marketing costs are rising, it makes it difficult to get users to start generating downloads for income. One of the major concerns is Brexit in the UK, the decision to leave the European Union. An open letter was published by an anti-Brexit advocacy group which expressed an industry that strongly opposed to leave the European Union. “the letter claims Brexit is a “dire threat to UK interactive entertainment,” argues (Clayton, 2018). The company is calling for a second referendum, people’s vote on the outcome. The concerns gaming companies have concerning Brexit include a skills shortage, lack of UK investment and rising costs.

Future of Mobile Gaming

In the last decade mobile gaming has changed how both casual and hardcore gamers interact in socialise in gaming environments. So many people play mobile games and the industry is now worth more than its other competitors. In 2018, the mobile gaming industry will continue to shape the industry with its smartphones and advanced tech and make more unique and powerful games. Pokemon Go is a popular franchise that used the power of a brand name to deliver a memorable gaming experience on a mobile device. (Leadernewspaper, 2018) states, “publishers such as Ubisoft, Bethesda and Electronic Arts now recognise how a successful mobile game can amplify the reach and success of franchises such as FIFA and Fallout.” Mobile gaming is going to be a part of additional integrated marketing, publishers will use apps and experiences on Android and iOS, along with social media and celebrity and trend influences. This will make the brands more visible and will help the industry gain profit and marketing. The eSports gaming has been the domain of PC and console online multiplayer battle arena franchises, but there are signs that mobile gaming is ready to start this trend as well. The freemium mobile tower rush game Clash Royale is about ready to have an online multiplayer battle against other players online which will make the game more popular. Free to play is a strategy for mobile as the audience is made up from casual gamers, who do not want to spend money. In-app purchases are available like booster packs if the in-game experience was enjoyable enough to spend money on.


Mobile gaming has been in in the shadow of the more dominant equivalents, consoles and PC’s. In the coming years new and exciting tech upgrading and connected features are taking a pocket experience to the next level. It has the potential to argue that mobile games’ inventive advantage, appears safe to mention that this type of recreation is here to remain. It is accessible, low cost, and innovative, creating it appealing to several potential gamers. Furthermore, it's a powerful supply of revenue for developers, who can still produce mobile games if shoppers demand them. However, the speedy unfold of the mobile game can't be attributed to just one factor; rather, it had been a mix of a range of forces, that allows for such quick growth and that bodes well for future success. Even with profit and income coming in the marketing costs are rising, it makes it difficult to get users to start generating downloads for income. As the mobile gaming industry is advancing its technology and improving as the years go by, the functionality and graphics will get better over time.



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