When the smartphone revolution first started with the launch of the original iPhone, gaming was one of the first things users noticed would never be the same again on mobile platforms. The touch screen interfaces of most smartphones allowed game developers to create new, more interesting ways for players to interact with their creations, and the marketplaces that users got their apps from (i.e. the Apple App Store and the Google Play store) made it very easy for developers, large and small to distribute or sell their games.
Traditionally, the games people had played on their phones had been very casual, with classics like Snake keeping us occupied on train journeys and flights since the late nineties. Initially, smartphone games fit the same profile, with word games, number games and puzzles topping the lists of game downloads. Because these games are simple and addictive to play, developers could release them for free, supported by ads, and make money. Sadly for the smaller indie game studios, the market quickly became full of games, many of them very good, and it became quite hard for smaller games to get noticed and find enough players to make good cash. At the same time, casual gaming was becoming more social, with Facebook games like Farmville inspiring new smartphone games that allowed players to interact with their friends and developers to make money off of their players in new ways – with in game currencies and microtransactions.
Now, social gaming is huge, and casual gaming is no longer the only thing you can do on your phone, with big game developers like EA releasing more midcore titles for smartphone platforms. In addition to this, if you are a fan of online gambling on sites like the casino games at Royal Vegas casino, you can download mobile versions of your online casino of choice and play for real money on the go (as long as this is legal for you!).
Smartphone gaming is no longer simply a diversion with a couple of device specific gaming options (remember Word Mole on the Blackberry?), but a huge and thriving industry where players can socialise and win either real or in game money. The future of games on the whole is an interesting topic with things like microtransactions becoming a bigger thing in console gaming and ‘always on’ technology a hot topic. On mobile devices, however, we are likely to see things expand into more diverse and more hardcore games, so soon even the keenest hardcore gamers will have ways to play wherever they are.