For a long time, mobile gaming has been a bit of a black sheep in the industry. Video games have been around for more than 40 years – that’s a long time for expectations to build and for people to know what they really want from their titles.
Mobile games started popping up a decade or so ago as soon as the technology allowed. Big breakthrough titles such as Rovio’s Angry Birds led the way for a more ‘casual’ gaming experience. However, you can even look as far back as the late 1990s to find mobile game origins, in the likes of Snake, which appeared on retro Nokia handsets.
Since then, mobile gaming has evolved beyond all recognition. It’s not just casual, free-to-play fun, either. Casinos and slots lounges have broken through onto the mobile scene. It’s why sites such as Luckyland Slots Casino continue to attract so much interest. In fact, Luckyland is probably a varied place to start if you’re new to online casino games.
That said, what place does mobile gaming have in the world in 2021?
Mobile games aren’t free from controversy. These are games that have faced accusations of cheapness and a lack of quality. Many still arrive on iOS and Android reminiscent of the early days of Flash – though that’s not always a bad thing.
There is also controversy over the ‘freemium’ aspect of mobile gaming. It might seem as though games are free to download and get into immediately, but that isn’t always the case. You might have to pay a small amount to replenish your stock of lives or to continue trying the same level on Candy Crush, for example.
Finally, there’s also the accusation that mobile gaming is not ‘real’ gaming and that it requires little strategy. That is certainly not always true, and again, while simple, you only have to look at games such as Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride – you do still need some timing and dexterity to get ahead!
An end to snobbishness?
Mobile gamers and casual gaming fans may worry that there’s a sense of snobbishness regarding smartphone and tablet games. The feeling that a game is immediately less fulfilling if it’s on your phone is unfounded. Even big games such as Mario Kart have made their way to mobile to relative success.
The fact is mobile gaming is on the rise, and the reason for it should be obvious. Many people own smartphones for other reasons, such as for IMs, social media, and for – dare we say it – actually calling one another. They also instantly have a games console in their pocket. Mobile gaming is an opt-out, whereas console and PC/Mac gaming is an opt-in.
Casual gamers are much different in terms of demographic than average console gamers. Console gamers in the modern era are more likely to be millennials and Generation Z-ers than Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers. Mobile games appeal to all four – they are easy to pick up and play, and, shockingly, they are also lots of fun.
The future of mobile gaming
Two prominent trailblazers in mobile gaming that emerged in the past five years are Pokémon Go and Apple Arcade. Pokémon Go showed us the amazing potential in augmented reality (AR). Apple Arcade is already showing us how a Netflix-style subscription library could and should work for casual games.
Current global crises also show us that more and more people are falling back on gaming for quick fixes for fun. It is incredibly easy just to pick up your iPhone or Galaxy Tab and just play a few games of Fruit Ninja. All it takes is a couple of taps and swipes.
This amazing convenience is likely to keep mobile gaming fresh and appealing to millions of people for many years to come. There are concerns that this gaming sector will need to pivot and evolve to appeal to new people.
However, there’s a strong argument that mobile games already pivot enough. They are already easy to get into, and there is boundless potential. There’s also no need for people to invest in brand new consoles and pay over the top for more games and additional hardware.
It seems that the arguments between casual gamers and ‘traditional’ gamers may continue. However, it’s safe to say that mobile play really isn’t over yet, and in fact, it’s probably just getting started.