Today we continue our theme “Mobile games through the years”. So buckle up!

Gradually, games on phones became more and more difficult – both in graphics and in gameplay. For example, the arcade race The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, released in 2006, impressed with its 3D picture, and at about the same time, an almost full-fledged analogue of Sid Meier’s Colonization, FreeCol, appeared.

There were also many other high-quality adaptations of “big” games for phones. Gameloft created full-fledged remakes of well-known series, often without losing the depth of the gameplay and the complex plot of the original. Good examples of this are Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell.

There have also been daring attempts to combine a game console and a smartphone. The most famous example is the Nokia N-Gage, released in 2003. The hybrid did not gain much popularity, but dozens of exclusive games on cartridges were released for it. Here came their versions of Call of Duty, Sonic, Civilization, The Elder Scrolls and even Tomb Raider with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

N-Gage also supported 8-bit and 16-bit console emulators, and content was sold through its own digital store. Despite all these innovations (or rather, even their fault), the public was not ready for a strange hybrid, because the smartphone-console did not gain much success.

The period from 2001 to 2006 may well be called the golden age of Java, until a new player entered the mobile device market in 2007, giving rise to the next stage of development.

The revolution in mobile gaming, which turned it into a huge industry, began with the arrival of the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone looked more tempting to developers than devices from other manufacturers: a large touch screen and a built-in accelerometer offered more options for creating an interface and customizing controls.

And that’s not to mention the appearance of the App Store in 2008 – a digital store that offered a ready-made infrastructure where developers could post their applications and get 70% of the profits. In the same year, a similar system was offered by the Android Market, which in 2012 will be renamed Google Play.

Thanks to the emergence of platforms that provide direct interaction between the developer and the user, small companies have the opportunity to express themselves. Thanks to this, a real boom began: Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Temple Run – all these games are made by small teams, but have achieved incredible success. Such stories of rise and huge profits inspired other developers to create more and more new games.

With the release of the iPad, there was hope in the community for the possible birth of mobile AAA gaming. Apple’s tablet seemed like the perfect device for gaming, with a huge screen, powerful hardware, and a stable digital store where games were much cheaper than on the PSP and Nintendo DS.

Electronic Arts was one of the first to release its major projects on the iPad, creating exclusive versions of Red Alert, Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge. Later, Epic Games came to iOS with the revolutionary Infinity Blade.

Unfortunately, the premium format has not really taken root on mobile devices – the free-to-play and hyper-casual games sector has received much more development. All because of the peculiarities of the audience of mobile devices, which mainly includes far from hardcore gamers.