A Brief History of Mobile Gaming

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert where you can find internet service providers in your area and compare prices on different deals for your mobile broadband needs.

When technology is placed in the hands of a gamer, it will not take long before they will figure out a way to install, code, or fabricate a game. This is the very scenario that spawned the world of mobile gaming, a niche market in an industry that nets billions in revenue every single year. While the transition from monochrome games on Nokias to the high definition games of today was not immediate, it would forever change the world’s view on what was possible on a mobile phone.


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Before the days of dual-core processors and wireless internet providers, the mobile phone had only the most basic of games by the end of the 20th century. Many consider Snake, first seen in 1997, to be the original mobile game. This simple 2D game involved directing an ever-growing snake around the screen to pick up items. While exceedingly plain, it began a craze for mobile gaming that would continue on indefinitely.


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There were only so many possibilities for games that could be used on a monochrome screen and directed by a numerical keypad. Other pre-installed games saw limited popularity as manufacturers began releasing shooting, racing, and card games on their phones. Games would remain simplistic and single player until the advent of WAP, or wireless application protocol. This would allow greater amounts of data to be sent and received by mobile phones, opening up phones to be used for competitive multi-player games. It also allowed users to begin downloading games from servers.


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The next five or six years were a rocky period for mobile gaming as companies struggle to understand what exactly was possible with this market. Handheld devices such as the N-Gage utilized wireless internet providers on top of traditional mobile phone reception to blend handheld gaming with phone usage. Most of these devices would end up as failed experiments and money sinks for their respective companies.


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In 2007, the first generation of the iPhone was released and the world of mobile gaming would come back to life. The iPhone, and every smartphone that has come after it, is the perfect platform for gaming. They utilize important components such as a high-definition screens, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and touch screens. On top of this impressive hardware, the software used to run games has become much more accessible and affordable. App markets began popping up, allowing gamers to utilize their wireless internet providers and play any of thousands of games in seconds.



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Current trends in mobile gaming have pushed in two distinct directions: competitive online gaming and 3D graphics. As 3D technology became readily available in smaller sizes, the 3D smartphone was born. Game developers have begun delivering massive, 3D worlds into the hands of anyone with a smartphone. Wireless service providers have also bumped up their speeds with the expansion of 4G networks. This not only allows games to be downloaded to a phone much faster, it also makes online play much more viable.


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While the possibilities for mobile gaming are practically endless, the most popular games on smartphones remain simplistic and addictive. On one end of the market are the instant classics such as Angry Birds, while the other end is home to 3D MMORPGs with hundreds of thousands of players.

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