The Evolution of Mobile Gaming

Mobile Games

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The Evolution of Mobile Gaming

With the average smartphone user spending nearly an hour a day playing games on their phone, it’s little wonder why the mobile game industry is massive and growing and why mobile game developers are in increasing demand. But mobile games weren’t always so slick and immersive; let’s take a look at the history of mobile games.


Launched: 1994

Gameplay: Manipulate shapes and try to create straight lines across the screen


Launched: 1997

Gameplay: Steer a “snake” (really, a line of blocks) without hitting the wall or having the line cross itself

It’s estimated that more than 350 million mobile phones have the game.

Snake II

Launched: 2000

Gameplay: Expanded upon original by adding some obstacles and mazes


Launched: 2001

Gameplay: Simple life simulator

2002: First commercial phones using Java technology, enabling faster gameplay

Space Invaders

Launched: 2002

Gameplay: Almost seamless conversion from iconic arcade game

JAMDAT Bowling

Launched: 2002

Gameplay: A simple bowling game; most noteworthy because of the technology it used (BREW)

2003: Phones with color screens become widely popular.


Launched: 2003

Gameplay: Intended as a rival to Game Boy systems, the device offered good gaming but poor phone capabilities


Launched: 2003

Gameplay: Match colors to clear spaces, place bombs to disrupt your opponent

Asphalt Urban GT

Launched: 2004

Gameplay: Topdown racer

The Fast and the Furious

Launched: 2004

Gameplay: Topdown racer

Tower Bloxx

Launched: 2005

Gameplay: Stack blocks to create towers

Downtown Texas Hold ’Em

Launched: 2005

Gameplay: Poker game

Doom RPG

Launched: 2005

Gameplay: First-person shooter with some role-playing game elements

2007: Apple introduces the iPhone, a touchscreen smartphone; later that year, Apple introduces the iPod Touch, which allows for data access over WiFi networks.

Tap Tap Revenge

Launched: 2008

Gameplay: Tap areas on the screen in rhythm to the beat; most-downloaded free iPhone game in 2008

2008: Apple launches its App Store. Within a few days, 10 million apps had been downloaded by users around the world.

2009: Touchscreen smartphones become more common, as Samsung introduces the first Galaxy model on the Android platform, challenging Apple’s iPhone, which was introduced a couple of years earlier.

Doodle Jump

Launched: 2009

Gameplay: Guide your character up a series of platforms without falling

Angry Birds

Launched: 2009

Gameplay: Launch a bird from a slingshot to kill pigs

1.7 billion+

Total Angry Birds series downloads

Words With Friends

Launched: 2009

Gameplay: A Scrabble clone, the game was famously addictive, even helping lead to actor Alec Baldwin being removed from a flight for refusing to turn off his phone

Interestingly enough, Words With Friends has spawned three real-life board games.

Candy Crush Saga

Launched: 2012

Gameplay: Puzzle matching game; game has been downloaded more than 500 million times

1 billion

Games played per day


Launched: 2012

Gameplay: Real-time augmented reality game for Android

2014: In-app purchase revenue expected to be close to $8 billion and climbing fast; game items include 99 cents for a new life in Candy Crush to $600 for the Apathy Bear in Gun Bros.

What will be the next major step in the evolution of mobile gaming? And who will be the innovator to come up with it?