Mobile Gaming Introduction And History Computer Science Essay

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Game has been the most amusement for people's daily routine and leisure time for long time. From the development of the computer game and computer network game in the last few years, we can see that game market has large demand. As well as the appearance of mobile gaming, it brings new vitality to the game market. Because it is not limited by the time and location, mobile gaming will be one of the most popular game in the worldwide. It is just a time problem.

Usually most of mobile phones are installed some random small games like Snakes. So mobile gaming is not strange to most mobile phones users. But this kind of small games are too simple to satisfy those fashion young and gamers. As the result, SMS game, WAP game and Java game etc. mobile games will become more and more advanced and popular in the future.

In most countries, mobile gaming is in a golden development era. Japan is the most developed country in game industry. Several years ago, Japanese mobile phone game has been developed. The laegest mobile phone game company in Japan only spend 4 years to realize miracle of 23 million dollars income. Although compared to Japan and some other European countries, American development in mobile Java game is a little lag. In 2003, the income of its mobile gaming market has reached 16 million dollars.

This report I will introduce the concept, some countries' current situation and its development trend of the mobile gaming.



With the creation of the mobile phone, one was easily impressed with the fact that the phone required no cables. However, towards the end of the 20th century, cellular phones started to modernize, and people wanted more out of their mobile phones.

With the introduction of the candy bar style mobile phone, the appearance of a mobile phone as well as its features and calling capabilities became a lot more important to people. Mobile phone games were among the many new features that could be expected in this new type of mobile phone.

Older mobile phone games were not as expansive or as popular as console games, as the phone's hardware was not suited to high-color screens or sounds beyond differently pitched beeps. The games were usually animated with black squares. A good example of an early mobile phone game is Snake. Unlike today's mobile phone games, which usually have to be purchased, these games came pre-installed on the cell phone, and could not be copied off or removed.

When the camera phone was introduced to the public, mobile phones started to become a lot more common. The storage and graphic capabilities on these new phones were a lot better than the older candy bar style phone, which meant that higher quality games could be created. This of course also meant that companies could make a profit off these games.

Nokia tried to create its own mobile gaming platform with the N-Gage in 2003 but this effort failed mainly because the convergence of a mobile phone and a handheld gaming platform did not mix at that time. Many users complained that they have to talk on the phone taco-style by tilting it sideways in order to speak and hear. There were hardware issues as well, and though some quality games came out, support for the platform was anemic.

Today, mobile phone games have come a very long way. Their graphics are about the same as you would expect on a 4th or 5th generation game console. Mobile phone games now tend to take up a large amount of memory on mobile phones, which is part of the reason why they still are not too popular. Still, certain games such as Tetris and Solitaire are somewhat popular mobile phone games.

Mobile gaming characteristics

Mobile gaming means the users use the portable mobile terminal equipments which have wide area wireless network online features to play games anytime and anywhere.

As the application runned with the handheld device, the hardware characteristics of mobile phone determine its features.

A large group of potential users

In the worldwide the number of mobile phones has been more than one billion. And this number is increasing everyday. In every developed countries except America, the mobile users are more than computer users.


In the era of console games, one of the reasons of GameBoy selling well is portability. People can play games that they like in anytime and anywhere. Compare to game console and PC, mobile phone maybe is not an idea game device. But people always carry the mobile phone. So the mobile gaming is likely to become the first choice for passing time.

Low technical requirements

Mobile game exploitation usually is open development platform like J2ME. Developers can conveniently get the corresponding development of information from the network.

Convenient for promotion

Telecommunication operators and equipment manufacturers can built-in the menu in the mobile phone. It allows players to connect with the game portal in the mobile phone directly through the network. At the same time, users can download the games through mobile internet.

Mobile gaming category

According to access type, mobile gaming can be divided into PC game and mobile network game.

PC game

PC game means the games can be run independently only use one mobile phone. Mobile PC games are compared in terms of mobile network games. It means users can play games in themselve's mobile phones without access into the mobile internet. And its mode most is human to machine battle. It does not access to the mobile internet which

means interactivity is not good. But it can use bluetooth, infrared rays and other connect method to get multiplayer games without special servers.

Mobile network game

Mobile network game is based on wireless internet which can provide a platform for multiplayer to join the game at the same time. At present it is divided into WAP network game and client network game. WAP network game is a mobile web game. Users do not need to download and install client program. It only needs mobile browser. For client network game, users' mobile phones must support Java extension and it needs to download and install the client program. It is similar to the PC game.

According to content, mobile gaming can be divided into casual game, puzzle game and RPG.

According to mobile platform, mobile gaming can be divided into Java, Brew, Unija, Symbian and Smartphone and so on.


Java has the characteristics of open platform and easy to dynamic download. It allows third party developers to exploit Java applications for the handheld devices. If a kind of mobile phone support Java, its function should be extensible. The users can download and use in their mobile phone after the service developer exploit its valued application. As Java has plenty of interface, the service developers can exploit complex function application which makes the operation of users more convenient and interface form more lifelikeness. When use the Java to exploit application for the mobile phone, it usually provides interactive game, screen saver, picture editor and personal information procession.


Brew has effectively billing function in the side of operators. So it can insure a program downloaded by a user can be only used by this user which effectively prevents the applications illegal copy and pirate.

According to presentation format, mobile gaming can be divided into word game and graphics game.

Word game has SMS game, MMS game and WAP game.

SMS game

SMS game is a kind of mobile game which players and game services use the word in the SMS to communicate with each other to achieve the purpose of gaming. Due to the whole process of game is expressed by word, it makes the playfulness of SMS game not well. But the SMS game is one of the mobile game which has the best compatibility. As long as phones can send tect messages, you can enjoy the happiness brought by SMS game.

WAP browser game

WAP is a kind of network service which use mobile phone to dial up. And that WAP browser game is similar to the computer Web browser and is a simple game which use browser to browse the web page. Its gaming mode is similar to SMS game. The players can according to the hint in the web page browsed by WAP browser to choose different options to play games. WAP game also has not enough visual disadvantage like SMS game

All the word games have a same characteristic. That is all of them play games through the word description. During the game, it needs players to have overmuch imagination. So it makes the game relatively monotonous.

Graphics game mainly has Java game and Brew game, also embedded game, Uni-java game and so on.

Embedded game is a kind of game which pre-curing the games in the mobile phone chips. Because all the data of this kind games is pre-curing in the mobile phone chips, it can not be modified. In other word, it can not be changed to other games and it can not be deleted. You only can play the games which are already exist. The Snakes which early used by Nokio is a typical example.


2.1 Global mobile games overview

In globally, the market of people's game entertainment toys has walked up to a high-tech digital line. Computer game products have been depth in general public. And in this massive game market, the mobile game earned a place in the competition of traditional PC games and TV game by means of its removability and portable features. And in the competition with the handheld Game, its advantages of communication ability and wide range of applications has emerged. So with the mobile phone products updates and technology continues development, mobile game market will be more bright.

Global mobile gaming income scale

The following graph shows the recent development of mobile gaming. The strong development of mobile games market will bring a huge market space for the mobile value-added market and the game market. Meanwhile, it will promote the development of mobile gaming market itself.

Figure 1. Global mobile gaming market income scale

Global mobile gaming market users scale

According to incomplete statistics, the global mobile phone sales in 2009 are one billion. Such a large mobile phone sales, it also brings the development of mobile phone value-added services. Due to the game products itselve's characteristics, the mobile gaming makes the requirement of public be the most straightforward and most easily to be accepted by consumers. As a result, the mobile phone game users increased. And with the continuous development and improvement of global mobile gaming enviroment, the market income of mobile phone games develops rapidly. The global mobile phone game market users scale as following graph.

Figure 2. Global mobile phone market user scale

2.2 Global mobile gaming development analysis

In most countries, mobile gaming is in a golden development era. Japan is the most developed country in game industry. Several years ago, Japanese mobile phone game has been developed. The laegest mobile phone game company in Japan only spend 4 years to realize miracle of 23 million dollars income. Although compared to Japan and some other European countries, American development in mobile Java game is a little lag. In 2003, the income of its mobile gaming market has reached 16 million dollars.

Japan mobile game development

Japan occupied absolute leadership in the field of mobile games. In 1999, many countries include North America and regions know nothing about mobile phone games. Japan already had more than 30 million mobile game users which represent more than 70% of the global mobile gaming users. In early 2001, when the SMS game developed in the world, NTT DoCoMo in Japan has launched nearly 500 i-mode games. In April 2004, the Japanese Computer Entertainment Association (CESA) released the statistics report shows that Japanese who use mobile internet play games has been over 897 million.

However, to the present point of view, the 9600 bps transmission speed is obviously outdated. When NTT DoCoMo launched FOMA technology the concept of i-Mode was weakened gradually. But too many people use the i-mode technology, FOMA launched by NTT DoCoMo can not completely replace the i-Mode's position. In a long event in the future, these two technologies would be coexistence and complementary. However, this technology has some shortcomings. As i-Mode used a non-international markup language - cHTML write which is very different from WAP technology accepted by international. Although cHTML language is compatible with most of the web content, so far the promotion of this technology is also limited to Japan. However, this technology is now being popularized in Asia.

Of course, in Japan there are more than two mobile internet services. As a rising star Ezweb, it is developing rapidly. This network technology was proposed by the KDDI Group. As a result of using Brew as the game development platform in this technology, it is ahead of the i-Mode. However, this leading edge is at the cost of game development costs. Although in the game image Brew does ahead of the i-Mode, it is undoubtedly detrimental to the overall promotion of this technology because of its implementation of technology relatively complex and heightening the threshold to enter the field for the major game manufacturers.

America mobile gaming current situation

In America, according to NPD's latest report, mobile games have not been just a fashionable. According to the report, the market located for the mobile game continues to rapidly expand. There are now half of U.S. mobile users have mobile phones which can download the game. There have a full 27% of people use their mobile phones to play games in U.S. mobile phone users, including pay to download games, free trial games and mobile phone pre-loaded games. Compared to 20% in last year level up a lot. The present situation is better than the industry expected, the another 6% mobile phone users who does not play games said they would accept this entertainment in the coming year. Most mobile phone users who are interested in the game said that the reason is that mobile game is a good tool for boredom.

When players leave the video games, computers and handheld games, the mobile games are their small world. Consumers use other devices to play games are twice more than they use mobile phone to play the games. But because of the screen is too small to operate and other factors, the most popular mobile phone game is limited to puzzle class and poker class. Not surprisingly, in mobile phone gamers, the proportion of children who are in 13 years old to 17 years is three times than adults. In fact, the average time of mobile game players play a single game is only 11 minutes. Compared to standard mobile users, mobile phone gamers are African American, Hispanic, or the possibility of Chinese Americans is two times higher than other.

NPD's latest report also showed that 57% of mobile phone gamers also intend to invest more money on mobile phones. Mobile gamers also often use the phone to answer and make phone calls. 48% of their wireless time is spent on answer and make phone calls. Their monthly wireless services are 22% higher than the U.S. average monthly user fee.

But not all the news are beneficial to the mobile games industry. NPD's latest report showed that the price factor is a very sensitive issue. This is also the bottleneck of mobile gaming industry. Price problem could explain why only one third of mobile gamers actually bought the game. The remaining two-thirds of mobile phone gamers are only interested in free or pre-installed games. And similar to digital music, the most popular buying model is pay as you go. The users who pay monthly are very few.

UK mobile gaming situation

According to the <<UKNationalGamers>> which is jointly issued by the TNS and shows: in 2009, a total of 3.8 million mobile gamers pay 1.7 billion pounds. Another 4.2 million British players did not pay in the field of mobile games. Only about 1/3 of the players who pay money for games pay more than five pounds in average month. IPhone and O2 are the leaders in all mobile payment.

In all payment and non-payment of players, the ratio of male and female is almost the same: about 53% of men players and 47% of women players. 20-34 years mature age group accounted for about 39% in the whole players. Of which 60% is paid players. The ratio of 13-19 young age group is about 18%. Of which 15% is paid players. In serving officers, about 2/3 are paid players.Of which half are married. In this two types of mobile phone games, two-thirds of paid players are full-time workers. Nearly half of them are married.

Only 14% of UK mobile gamers play games every day. The ratio of paying players is slightly higher which is about 18%. Most of the players spent about 15-60 minutes in games. Popular puzzle games for paying players are puzzle games, strategy, racing and large game. Large games and puzzle games are the most pre-installed games for non-payment players. In the past 6 months, 41% of mobile game players played three different games. About 16% are paid players. Also about 60 million people played more than 25 different games in the past six months.

2.3 Common limitation of mobile games

Mobile games tend to be small in scope and often rely on good gameplay over flashy graphics, due to the lack of processing power of the client devices. One major problem for developers and publishers of mobile games is describing a game in such detail that it gives the customer enough information to make a purchasing decision.

Currently, Mobile Games are mainly sold through network carriers and operators portals and this means there are only a few lines of text and perhaps a screen shot of the game to excite the customer. Two strategies are followed by developers and publishers to combat this lack of purchasing information. Firstly, there is a reliance on powerful brands and licenses that impart a suggestion of quality to the game such as Tomb Raider or Colin McRae. And secondly, there is the use of well known and established play patterns such as Tetris, Space Invaders or Poker. Both these strategies are used to decrease the perceived level of risk that the customer feels when choosing a game to download from the carrier's deck.

Recent innovations in mobile games include Singleplayer, Multiplayer and 3D graphics. Virtual love games belong to both of singleplayer and multiplayer games. Multiplayer games are quickly finding an audience, as developers take advantage of the ability to play against other people, a natural extension of the mobile phone's connectivity. With the recent internet gambling boom various companies are taking advantage of the mobile market to attract customers, ongame the founders of pokerroom developed in 2005 a working mobile version of its poker software available in both play money and real money. The player can play the game in a singleplayer or multiplayer mode for real or play money. As well, the MMORPG boom seems to hit the world of mobile games. According to their website cipsoft has developed the first MMORPG for mobile phones, called TibiaME.

Often trivia or quiz games will run out of questions on mobile devices. Some publishers like MobileQs will offer expansion packs to the original game to get around this problem.


Throughout the history of IT industry, computer games have become one of the driving force of technological innovation. Computer gamers are eager to have more powerful hardware computing ability and not be limited by different software whether it mandatory adds the graphics to the artificial intelligence or network security. As the technology experience for the game, the game market continues to grow.

3.1 Future mobile game features

Mobile phones have been closely together with modern way of life. They are the most commonly carried personal items only second to keys and wallet. The traditional desktop PC games put their target on the low tastes and adolescents, but mobile phone games are that everyone can access to in anytime and anywhere. Although every mobile game is not expensive, huge use amount makes the mobile game market a good prospects. But to the developer, it is a huge project to migrate the console game to mobile game due to the object, life style and distributed model what they face has large difference.

A successful mobile game most have the following features:

Easy to learn

Since the mobile game is for the common consumer, not for the expert computer. So they can not in depth learning game skills. Consumers will not spend a few hours to study a game which only cost a little money. So the game can be played after you download. To keep the game simple is the most basic requirement.


Multitasking is a basic feature of mobile lifestyle. Mobile users often have a short time between the tasks like waiting a email or bus. The games, calendar management, communications and data access work use the same equipment. So a good mobile game should provide a short time entertainment feature and allows users to switch between the game and working modes smoothly.

Based on subscription

The successful profit of the mobile game depends on their huge usage. The start of development and desigen each game is expensive. If a mobile phone game developer wants to make money, it is important that a same game engine with multiple titles and similar basic story. Based on subscription game is the best way to continuing generate income.

Abundant social interaction

No matter how well a game designed, as long as the players find its fundamental mode of the game or finish off all the paths, they will soon be tired of this game. For a based on subscription game, it is important to cooperate with other players to strengthen the game's intelligence and randomness. In today's complex multi player games, which have the abundant social interaction has been proved to be successful.

Use the advantages of mobile phone technology

Huge research and development costs are spent on improving mobile devices and the availability and reliability of networks. Therefore, the mobile device hardware and network protocols have large difference with desktop/console world. A nice mobile game should use those advantages of updated device features and network infrastructure equipment.

3.2 Future mobile game types

Based on these criteria, the most likely to succeed games are those temporary small games. It can provide entertainment for a wide range of players in all social occasions. In particular, the following types of games will be the most popular games in the future.

Multi-player games

Those games can provide mobile phone access in order to build online gaming group. Also they can use mobile phone proprietary features such as multimedia communications and location based services to create a completely different social structure. Good game design and management is the key to the success of this type of games.

Content based game

These games send the copyright of multimedia content such as celebrity pictures, video clips, audio stereo and private sports programs to the music, movie and sports fans. The key of its successful is to provide high quality content subscription stream.

High impact video games

PC and desktop games have evolved from 2D to 3D. Mobile games will follow this trend. Mobile phone 3D Toolbox and earpiece has been already exist. However, 3D is very resource-intensive. They require developers and graphic designers are expert level. Professional shops are most likely to develop these games.

In the early mobile games, most developers are fanatics who want to fun equipment, learn skills and pass rapidly. However, as more developers join this industry, mobile games have evolved to leading products which involve professional designers, construction division, developers,product distributors, lawyers, and artists. This is the inevitable trend of the industry walks up to mature.

J2ME smart client

J2ME platform is considered the most outstanding mobile gaming platform. It is widely accepted by developers, equipment manufacturers, network communications companies and consumers. It has some very important features are useful to all organizations.

J2ME devices are intelligent. They can process information on its own. The most important different characteristics between J2ME smart phones and last several generations mobile phones are:

For users, the most attractive features of smart phones is that it can play games without always in a state of the network connection. Online mode in today's 2-2.5G networks is necessary. But in this network, covering is small and data communication is expensive. Cache the data and request network operations to the transaction processing can also significantly reduce the usage of wireless networks and provide application reliability.

Smart clients can use different protocols to intergrate the game servers in the background and its peer including wireless peer and internet peer integration.

Smart Client supports rich user interface which is very important to high-impact visual games.

Smart client can access mobile private network such as SMS and MMS or device extension such as GPS features. This makes it possible that develop the game which has the advantage of completely usage of mobile phone life style.

Smart client provides a more powerful and more flexible security through advanced encryption and digital signature algorithm. With the smart client, we may pass on perceptual private data in the internet and establish an effective online community.