Mobile gaming is now the largest gaming market across the world, with a 60% share of the gaming industry’s revenue. Most adults and teenagers nowadays own a smartphone, far more than have dedicated games consoles or gaming PC’s, and its access to such a wide market which has allowed mobile gaming to grow at such a terrific rate. Although versions of smartphones have existed since the early 1990s, it wasn’t until the launch of the original Apple iPhone in 2007 that they started to gain popularity and interest from a wider audience. And while mobile phones had often come with simple pre-installed games like Snake and Tetris, there was very little choice for gamers who wanted to add something more interesting.
A year after the iPhone’s release, Apple introduced the App Store, with an initial 500 apps available for download. Many of these were simple games, and it wasn’t long before more title were added; titles with better gameplay, better quality graphics, and more replay ability. The first game to gain popularity all over the world was Angry Birds in 2009, and it showed developers how a simple idea could take advantage of the smartphones’ touch screen control system to create a worldwide hit. More successes followed, including Candy Crush Saga, Plants vs Zombies, Pokemon Go, and The Sims Mobile. In fact, the mobile gaming industry has become so profitable that it is now influencing the design of smartphones themselves.
Evolution of Mobile Gaming
Over the last decade, phones have evolved from having a small screen above a keypad, to losing the keys entirely. Screen sizes now average 6.5 inches and are capable of HD displays, showing a clarity of image and high refresh rate which will rival a decent TV. Heavy-duty processers, long-lasting batteries and even in-built fans are all part of the latest models of gaming phones. And because the industry is constantly changing and improving, software providers have to keep up by providing updates to keep the phones working smoothly.
Top Mobile Games in New Zealand
While some games are designed specifically for mobiles, others view mobiles as just one of the ways to access their gaming content.
One such example is the hugely popular game Roblox. Available on PCs, tablets, smartphones, and the Xbox One, Roblox allows users to create their own mini games, and play those designed by others. Everything is stored in the online platform, so a game built on the PC is able to be accessed and played on a smartphone. This flexibility, as well as the freedom and creativity the game allows, is why it is consistently ranked as one of the top mobile games in New Zealand.
Another popular choice is the app Pokémon Go. When it was launched in 2016, its revolutionary use of AR (Augmented Reality) technology to display the cute, fictional Pokémon overlaid onto the real world stood it apart from every other game on the market. Although the same technology has since been used by other apps, Pokémon Go remains the original and most popular AR mobile gaming app. A stream of updates, including the addition of raid battles, in-game gifting to friends, and regular releases of new Pokémon, help keep the game at the top of the popularity charts across both Android and iOS smartphones.
Probably the most popular genre of mobile gaming is casino games. Popular online casino sites will often create mobile app versions of their web-based games, to make them easier for people to play while on the go. While these sites can be accessed through the smartphone’s web browser, having an app version improves loading speeds, will be more reliable, and allows the developers to optimise the games’ graphics and user interface for a small touchscreen. Casino apps are also safe places to store log-in details and account information – you can leave them logged in, something which you wouldn’t want to do in a browser. Having a safe and convenient place to store your details and access all your favourite casino games gives casino apps a distinct advantage over playing in a browser on your mobile device.
Homescapes and Gardenscapes
A big drive behind the success of the mobile gaming market has been its ability to appeal to the casual gamer – someone who will play for short periods of time, often at puzzle games rather than continuous campaigns. This has led to the proliferation of simple, colourful games like Homescapes and Gardenscapes: match-3 games where the aim is to group together coloured shapes to clear them from a grid. In these popular examples, successfully completing the puzzles unlocks new areas of a derelict house/garden which can then be restored in a variety of different styles. For someone who is just looking for something to do to pass the time on a commute to and from work, these games are a great way to pass the time.
The same goes for all games. Apps save your progress as you play, and keep it linked to your long-in details, meaning you can transfer data easily between devices. While online games will time out and sign you out for security, there’s no need for mobile games to do so, especially those which don’t require an internet connection to play. They are also easier to access – just click the button rather than having to type in a URL.