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History of mobile games

Nowadays, mobile phones don’t use to be what they were in the past. Now we don’t only make calls from them, but we surf the net, send mails, play videogames and even watch a movie. I barely remember my first cell phone.  It was only able to send sms and make calls, though; I don’t remember having a game on it. It might, but I guess it wasn’t really good to be played, or I wasn’t too hardcore to be playing on it.

The truth is that, nowadays, we can play videogames that were made by more than a dozen people team, featuring particle system, real time shadows and even an option to be played online! You can now sit on the sofa and play for hours without getting tired, because of the screen most phones have, and the big games catalog. Let’s start with the first game, ever.

The first game on mobile

The very first game to be played on a mobile phone was, according to the records, a tetris game played on a hot 1994 Hagenuk MT-2000, and then 3 years later, the mobile gaming industry would have its first hit, with the release of the Snake game, that had supposedly hit 400 million copies around the world. A fascinating number, judging by the development of the games back then.

In 2003, Nokia make an aggressive movement by launching its N-Gage, which was the first phone to take seriously the gaming industry, though; the results were not good at all, due to a dreadful design, which was sharply criticized. Another problem was called Sony, with the release of its mobile console PSP. Then, the N-Gage project had a radical change in 2008, with the announcement of the N-Gage gaming platform; which was preinstalled software, rather than hardware, on selected Nokia phones. Sadly, the results were bad, mostly because of the launch of iPhone’s Appstore several months later, and the new phones called ‘Smartphone’s’. The Nokia project was cancelled in 2010.

The Smartphone's era

In the other hand, with the beginning of the Smartphone’s era, Apple took advantage of the capabilities of the iPhone, which for the first time competed with real mobile gaming consoles, thanks to the quality of the games. The first hit on the new era, was the Finnish developer Rovio game, called Angry Birds; which has more than 1 billion downloads! In the beginning, the most played games were the puzzle ones, such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja or Where’s my Perry. In 2009, French developer Gameloft released Modern Combat: Sandstorm; a first person shooter that, while it wasn’t the first FPS on a mobile device, it certainly was the first real attempt to bring a quality FPS game on Smartphone’s using Gameloft’s own engine.

Then, in 2010, Epic Games announced the support of their award winning game engine Unreal engine 3 for iOS. Thanks to the development of powerful GPU’S for Smartphone’s, which made the platform even better for gaming.

While we don’t know exactly the potential of mobile gaming, we do know it is growing really fast, and probably it could make the game consoles disappear.

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