||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2008)|
|Part of a series on:|
A mobile game is a video game played on a feature phone, smartphone, PDA, tablet computer, portable media player or calculator. This does not include games played on dedicated handheld video game systems such as Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita.
Three years later Nokia launched the very successful Snake on selected models in 1997. Snake and its variants has since become one of the most-played video games and is found on more than 350 million devices worldwide.
Mobile games are played using the technology present on the device itself. For networked games, there are various technologies in common use. Examples include text message (SMS), multimedia message (MMS) or GPS location identification. The first two-player game for mobile phones was a variant of the Snake game for the Nokia 6110, using the infrared port.
However, there are non networked applications, that simply use the device platform to run the game software. The games may be installed over the air, side loaded onto the handset with a cable, or may be embedded in the handheld devices by the OEM or by the mobile operator.
Mobile games are usually downloaded via the mobile operator's network, but in some cases are also loaded in the mobile handsets when purchased, via infrared connection, Bluetooth, or memory card.
Towards the end of the 20th century mobile phones began to modernize. With the introduction of the "candy bar" cell phone mobile phones' capabilities significantly improved. With these technological advances mobile phone games were becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Older cell phone games were not as expansive or popular as games for consoles since the hardware for the early mobile phone was not suited for high-color screening or sounds beyond differently pitched beeps. These games were also usually animated with shaded squares (e.g. Snake) due to their limited graphical quality. Unlike today's cell phone games, which usually have to be purchased, these games came pre-installed and could not be copied or removed.
With the advent of the camera phone cell phones became more common. The storage and graphic capabilities of these phones were better than the older candy bar style phone which meant higher quality games could be produced. This also meant that companies could now make a profit off of the games because of their superior quality. Some early companies utilized the camera phone technology for mobile games such as Namco and Panasonic. In 2003 Namco released a fighting game that used the cell phone's camera to create a character based on the player's profile and determined the character's speed and power based on the image taken; the character could then be sent to another friend's mobile phone to battle. That same year Panasonic released a virtual pet game in which the pet is fed by photos of foods taken with the camera phone.
In the early 2000s, mobile games gained popularity in Japan's mobile phone culture, years before the United States or Europe. By 2003, a wide variety of mobile games were available on Japanese phones, ranging from puzzle games and virtual pet titles that utilized camera phone and fingerprint scanner technologies to 3D games with exceptionally high quality graphics. Older arcade-style games became particularly popular on mobile phones, which were an ideal platform for arcade-style games designed for shorter play sessions. Namco began to introduce mobile gaming culture to Europe in 2003.
Nokia tried to create its own mobile gaming platform with the N-Gage in 2003 but this effort failed mainly because, at the time, the convergence of a cell phone and a handheld gaming platform did not mix. Many users complained of having to talk on the phone 'taco-style' by tilting it sideways in order to speak and hear. There were hardware issues as well, and though some quality games came out, support for the platform was anemic.
Today, cell phone games have come a very long way. Their graphics are about the same as you would expect on a 4th or 5th generation game console (which may not seem like a very big improvement yet is considered one because the game is being played on a cell phone). Cell phone games now tend to take up a large amount of memory on cell phones. Still, certain games such as "Tetris" and "Solitaire" are somewhat popular cell phone games.
After the integration of 3D APIs into mobile platforms, the mobile gaming world started to launch its own brand games. Real Soccer, Assault Team 3D, Crash Arena 3D, Edge, Labyrinth and Tournament Arena Soccer 3D were the first 3D games who became the sectoral well-known brands. After the huge success of Tournament Arena Soccer 3D by Mobilenter with getting over 35 millions of downloads in only 1 week before World Cup 2010, the 3D game development became the primary area of mobile game development and mobile gaming became one of the most important gaming platforms.
Calculator games 
Calculator gaming is a form of gaming in which games are played on programmable calculators, especially graphing calculators. Few games exist for the earliest of programmable calculators (including the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, one of the first scientific calculators), including the long-popular Lunar Lander game often used as an early programming exercise. However, limited program address space and lack of easy program storage made calculator gaming a rarity even as programmables became cheap and relatively easy to obtain. It wasn't until the early 1990s when graphing calculators became more powerful and cheap enough to be common among high school students for use in mathematics. The new graphing calculators, with their ability to transfer files to one another and from a computer for backup, could double as game consoles.
Calculators such as HP-48 and TI-82 could be programmed in proprietary programming languages such as RPL programming language or TI-BASIC directly on the calculator; programs could also be written in assembly language or (less often) C on a desktop computer and transferred to the calculator. As calculators became more powerful and memory sizes increased, games increased in complexity.
By the 1990s, programmable calculators were able to run implementations by hobbyists of games such as Lemmings and Doom (Lemmings for HP-48 was released in 1993; Doom for HP-48 was created in 1995). Some games such as Dope Wars caused controversy when students played them in school.
The look and feel of these games on an HP-48 class calculator, due to the lack of dedicated audio and video circuitry providing hardware acceleration, can at most be compared to the one offered by 8-bit handheld consoles such as the early Game Boy or the Gameking (low resolution, monochrome or grayscale graphics), or to the built-in games of non-Java or BREW enabled cell phones.
Games continue to be programmed on graphing calculators with increasing complexity. A new wave of games has appeared after the release of the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus series, TI's first graphing calculators to natively support assembly. TI-BASIC programming also rose in popularity after the release of third-party libraries. Assembly remained the language of choice for these calculators, which run on a Zilog Z80 processor, although some assembly implements, have been created to ease the difficulty of learning assembly language. For those running on a Motorola 68000 processor (like the TI-89), C programming (possible using TIGCC) has began to displace assembly.
Industry structure 
Total global revenue from mobile games was estimated at $2.6 billion in 2005 by Informa Telecoms and Media. Total revenue in 2008 was $5.8 billion. The largest mobile gaming markets were in the Asia-Pacific nations Japan and China, followed by the United States.
Different platforms 
Mobile games are developed using platforms and technologies such as Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Symbian, Adobe Flash Lite, NTT DoCoMo's DoJa, Sun's Java ME, Qualcomm's BREW, WIPI, Apple iOS, Windows Phone 7 or Google Android.
Java is the most common platform for mobile games, however its performance limits lead to the adoption of various native binary formats for more sophisticated games.
Common limits of mobile games 
Mobile games tend to be small in scope and often rely on good gameplay rather than graphics, due to the lack of processing power of the client devices. One major problem for developers and publishers of mobile games is describing a game in such detail that it gives the customer enough information to make a purchasing decision. Most of the mobile games are built around a particular theme or have a specific story line. Currently, Mobile Games are mainly sold through Network Carriers / Operators portals and this means there are only a few lines of text and perhaps a screen shot of the game to excite the customer. Two strategies are followed by developers and publishers to combat this lack of purchasing information, firstly there is a reliance on powerful brands and licenses that impart a suggestion of quality to the game such as Tomb Raider or Colin McRae and secondly there is the use of well known and established play patterns (game play mechanics that are instantly recognisable) such as Tetris, Space Invaders or Poker. Both these strategies are used to decrease the perceived level of risk that the customer feels when choosing a game to download from the carrier’s deck.
Recent innovations in mobile games include Singleplayer, Multiplayer and 3D graphics. Virtual love games belong to both singleplayer and multiplayer games. Multiplayer games are quickly finding an audience, as developers take advantage of the ability to play against others, a natural extension of the mobile phone’s connectivity. With the recent internet gambling boom various companies are taking advantage of the mobile gaming market to attract customers, Ongame the founders of PokerRoom developed in 2005 a working mobile version of its poker software available in both play money and real money. The player can play the game in a singleplayer or multiplayer mode for real or play money. As well, the MMORPG boom significantly impacted mobile gaming. CipSoft developed the first MMORPG for mobile phones, called TibiaME.
Often trivia or quiz games will run out of questions on mobile devices. Some publishers like MobileQs will offer expansion packs to the original game to get around this problem.
Location-based games 
Games played on a mobile device using localization technology like GPS are called location-based games. These are not only played on mobile hardware but also integrate the player's position into the game concept. In other words: while it does not matter for a normal mobile game where exactly you are (play them anywhere at anytime), the player's coordinate and movement are main elements in a location-based game. The best-known example is the treasure hunt game Geocaching, which can be played on any mobile device with integrated or external GPS receiver. External GPS receivers are usually connected via Bluetooth. More and more mobile phones with integrated GPS are expected to come.
Besides Geocaching, there exist several other location-based games which are rather in the stage of research prototypes than a commercial success.
Multiplayer mobile games 
A multiplayer mobile game is often a re-branding of a multiplayer game for the PC or console. Most mobile games are single player mobile games perhaps with artificially intelligent opponents. Multiplayer functionality is achieved through Infrared, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G, Wi-Fi, AI, MMS, or Wireless LAN connection.
Some "community" based games exist in which players use their cellphones to access a community website where they can play browser-based games with other players. Such games typically have limited graphical content so that they can run on a cellphone, and the games focus on the interaction between a large number of participants.
Older mobile phones supporting mobile gaming have infrared connectivity for data sharing with other phones or PCs.
Some mobile games are connected through Bluetooth using special hardware. The games are designed to communicate with each other through this protocol to share game information. The basic restriction is that both the users have to be within a limited distance to get connected. A bluetooth device can accept up to 7 connections from other devices using a client/server architecture.
WAP, GPRS, UMTS, HSDPA 
A GPRS connection which is common among GSM mobile phones can be used to share data globally. Developers can connect mass numbers of mobile games with one server and share data among the players. Some developers have created cross platform games, allowing a mobile gamer to play against a PC gamer. WAP and GPRS best supports turn based games and small RPG games. (Most counties have a weak GPRS speed in their carriers. In these types of games, the phone communicates with a global server which acts as a router between the mobile phones. Faster connections like UMTS and HSDPA allow real time multiplayer gaming. More multiplayer mobile continue games entering the market with an increasing connectivity.
3G and Wi-Fi 
3G allows in most cases realtime multiplayer gaming and is based on technologies faster than GPRS. Wi-Fi is often used for connecting at home. Not every mobile device allows games to use the Wi-Fi connection.
Mobile games can be distributed in one of four ways:
- Over the Air (OTA) - a game binary file (usually BREW or Java) is delivered to the mobile device via wireless carrier networks.
- Sideloaded - a game binary file is loaded onto the phone while connected to a PC, either via USB cable or Bluetooth.
- Pre-installed - a game binary file is preloaded onto the device by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
- Mobile browser download - a game file (typically Adobe Flash Lite) is downloaded directly from a mobile website.
In the US, the majority of mobile games are sold by the US wireless carriers, such as AT&T Mobility, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. In Europe, games are distributed equally between carriers, such as Orange and Vodafone, and off-deck, third party stores such as Jamba!, Kalador and Gameloft. Third party, off-deck game stores have not yet taken off (as of 2007) in the US, as the US based carriers use a 'walled garden' approach to their business models.
With the rise of mobile OS platforms like Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Mobile 7, the mobile OS developers themselves have launched digital download storefronts that can be run on the devices using the OS or from software used on PCs. These storefronts (like Apple's iOS App Store) act as centralized digital download services from which a variety of entertainment media and software can be downloaded, including games.
The popularity of mobile games has increased in the 2000s, as over $3 billion USD worth of games were sold in 2007 internationally, and projected annual growth of over 40%. Ownership of a smartphone alone increases the likelihood that a consumer will play mobile games. Over 90% of smartphone users play a mobile game at least once a week.
In recent years,[when?] there has been a move towards mobile games which are distributed free to the end user, but carry prominent, paid advertising.
See also 
- iPod game
- List of best-selling mobile games
- Handheld electronic game
- Handheld game console
- Handheld video game
- Mobile software
- Mobile gambling
- Mobile development
- N-Gage (device)
- Scalable Network Application Package
- Hagenuk history
- http://www.handy-sammler.de/Handys/Hagenuk_MT-2000.htm Hagenuk MT-2000 with Tetris
- Nokia - Snake is born:a mobile gaming classic
- 7 Nokia World Records That Will Blow Your Mind
- Hermida, Alfred (28 August 2003). "Japan leads mobile game craze". BBC News. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Global mobile game industry turnover reaches $2.6 billion by 2005