In the late 1990s and early 2000s, if you would have asked anyone about the most popular mobile game ever created, the answer would surely have been Nokia’s “Snake”. Taking a look at the evolution of mobile gaming in the last decade and a half will show you just how fast growing it is – and how much it has accelerated since the “smartphone revolution” started by the iPhone in 2007. Today the mobile gaming industry has revenues comparable to that of the desktop one, with millions of games available to play on the go.
The list of the 10 biggest mobile titles in history, you’ll see that puzzle games and “dash/run” titles are far above the rest when it comes to popularity. No wonder – these are among the easiest games to control on a touchscreen. Driving games and shooters are not meant for such a platform – until a brand new way of playing them is invented, these games will tail behind puzzles on all mobile devices.
But there is a category of games that is emergent on mobile devices, one that – available in free, social and “real” mode – has captured millions of people all over the world: casino games. These titles have found their way on mobile phones just a couple of years ago, but there is a strong – and continuous – demand for them.
Fueling the development of mobile casino games are real money operators, offering paid gaming services to their customers. These companies reach out to players all over the world, giving them a secure environment in which they can play their favorite games both at home and on the go. They stand out with their incredible game variety. The Royal Vegas casino, for example, offers its players over 80 titles to play on the go – right now there is no social casino that could provide a similar variety. And if you argue that these games involve money, you’re wrong. The Royal Vegas, while its primary service is gaming for money, gives its players the opportunity to play with no money involved – and even without the need of registering an account.
The quality services and profitability of casinos like the Royal Vegas, as well as the fact that it is not available in certain countries – like the US, for example – has prompted several real money game developers to adapt their products to social networks. Unlike the Royal Vegas, these social casinos do not allow real money gaming – but players can make in-app purchases of coins to play with. And what else would show their success better than a look at their revenues – social casinos are among the top grossing titles on iOS.
Mobile gaming has reached its pinnacle with the latest hardware released by phone manufacturers. Today’s smartphones offer players console-grade graphics, but the same basic ways to control the games. I expect an evolutionary jump in the coming years, offering us either more immersion, or new ways to interact with mobile games.