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Mobile gaming is a massive industry, from simple time-killers like Angry Birds to global esports such as PUBG. But what is it exactly that makes mobile games so popular? The first big leap in mobile gaming came after the release of the iPhone and its App Store in 2007. From there, a whole new genre of games started to boom.The History of Mobile GamingBack in the early 2000s, games were a secondary feature of mobile phones. Nokia’s famous ‘Snake’ game signaled the start of a new era of mobile gaming and became an obsession for an entire generation.The iPhone opened the door to a whole new world of touch-friendly mobile gaming. Developers were able to take advantage of new hardware, and slope unblocked games like Angry Birds and Temple Run became blockbuster hits, raking in billions of dollars in revenue for their creators.In recent years, telecom companies have created cloud gaming services that allow players to play console and PC games on their mobile devices, only needing an internet connection. This has been one of the main reasons for the continued success of mobile gaming. Moreover, 5G will allow for even better graphics and gameplay.The era of N-GageNokia was one of the first companies to attempt to merge a phone and gaming console. Unfortunately the N-Gage suffered from hardware drawbacks, a limited game library, and poor design (the device was often mocked as the Taco Phone). The N-Gage QD, a follow-up to the original N-Gage, offered some improvements but was still not a success.Despite the N-Gage’s failure, it was a bellwether for the future of mobile gaming. The N-Gage featured a rudimentary service for downloading games, which is comparable to today’s app stores. The N-Gage also signaled the upcoming popularity of touchscreen devices. This was a precursor to the smartphones that would soon dominate the market. Vivendi Universal and Nokia eventually joined forces to launch a rudimentary version of an app store called Vizzavi.The era of PSPWith the launch of touch screen mobile phones, games adapted to the new format and started to grow in popularity. Mobile gaming is also gaining interest from big-time game publishers who want to buff up their portfolios and profits. This is evidenced by the fact that game companies such as Supercell and Niantic have already made substantial investments in mobile gaming startups.The PSP was the first handheld console that offered a truly immersive gameplay experience thanks to its vivid display and powerful processor. It was able to offer a wide range of games from action-packed titles to adventurous platformers and rhythm-based strategy games. It also offered a unique gameplay style in the form of glasses-free 3D visuals which was quite unlike its rival the Nintendo DS.The era of iPhoneThere’s a saying in the gaming industry, “if it has a screen someone will make a game for it.” This became true for mobile phones with Apple’s release of their touchscreen iPhone and the App Store in 2008.Suddenly jigsaw puzzle games were available to a much larger audience. Simple casual games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush broke download records and made the developers business superstars.This success influenced AAA PC & Console games, with many now incorporating loot boxes and in-app purchases to boost engagement and monetization. It also shifted the perception of video games from a men only activity to something that anyone with a phone can play, even their grandma. This is a trend that looks set to continue as the gaming industry moves towards more equality for all gamers.The era of AndroidThe mobile gaming industry exploded in popularity in 2007 with the release of Apple’s iPhone and App Store. Apple’s App Store allowed game developers to create games for the platform and sell them directly to the customer without going through a mobile operator or publisher, giving them control over their audience and monetization strategy.Angry Birds is a prime example of a mobile game that became hugely successful due to its low price point and multiple revenue streams. The game had no extreme graphics and required a small screen but has managed to capture the hearts of players all over the world. PC & console games have started to take inspiration from mobile gaming in terms of monetization and design. The future of mobile gaming looks bright.