Mobile gaming has come a long way since a Tetris variant which was available on the Hagenuk MT-2000 in 1994. Snake was the standout success, pre-installed on all Nokia devices from 1997 onwards. It has since become one of the most played video games and is found on over 350 million devices worldwide. Today, mobile games are usually downloaded from app stores or online marketplaces. The most widely supported platforms are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The mobile version of Microsoft’s Windows 10 (Windows Phone) is also actively supported, but its market share remains marginal compared to the iOS and Android.
The Apple App Store was launched in July 2008 along with the release of iPhone iOS 2.0 software and introduced third-party app development and distribution to the platform. Consumers could then download new apps for their device through the app store or the iTunes store on handheld and desktop software. All apps are subject to review by Apple staff and can be rejected if they do not pass Apple’s content guidelines. Apple also takes a 30% commission on revenues from paid apps. The app store has been a gigantic financial success for the company and reaching over 40 million app downloads by 2013 with a then library of over 800,000 apps available.
Shortly after, charts became a big section of the iTunes and app stores. Usually featuring two charts, one for the top paid apps, the other for the best free apps, showed consumers what games and apps are hot in the world right now. They can then be split down even further into category such as puzzle, role-play and strategy or even the latest casino based or betting apps. TV game shows are also getting in on the action with the Deal or no Deal high low game, Pointless, Tipping Point and Family Fortunes all having tablet and smartphone versions of their popular games.
Pokémon Go, although not even being out for a week in the United Kingdom, may well revolutionise mobile gaming for a new generation. Using aspects of the original Gameboy and Nintendo DS games from the 90’s onwards, Pokémon Go uses GPS and satellite technology so players will have to explore their real world environment in search for Pokémon in the aim of catching them all. What’s more the game is free and should be heavily praised for the way it is getting players out of their homes and enjoying the great outdoors while becoming more social with other players. The game has united people of all ages from different cultural backgrounds. Take a look outside your window and the chances are you’ll see a mass of people gathered in your local park, chatting and laughing together while they all search for a Bulbasaur. Expect Pokémon Go to remain at the top of the free game chart for a while to come.
Handheld versions of console games such as FIFA, and variants thereof, remain ever popular and allow players to play against each other while they are on the go. There are also versions of Grand Theft Auto for tablet and mobile while Minecraft: Pocket Edition has remained at the top of the paid game chart for a number of weeks.