From Snake to Fortnite – Mobile Games Have Come a Long Way in the Last 20 Years

From Snake to Fortnite – Mobile Games Have Come a Long Way in the Last 20 Years

Mobile gaming makes up 51 percent of the global gaming industry’s overall revenue, with console and PC games accounting for 25 and 24 percent respectively. This form of playing went from being virtually nonexistent 25 years ago, to becoming a worldwide phenomenon in the 2010s. It could be argued that Nokia started it all off when it made Snake available for its devices in the pre-smartphone era, but there were plenty of other developers and innovations that kept this form of gaming moving forward.

Did Snake Kickstart a Multibillion Dollar Industry?

Nokia’s Snake wasn’t the first mobile game ever created, but it was incredibly popular and had a heavy influence on what was to follow. The original cell phone offering was a version of Tetris in 1994, which came preinstalled on the Hagenuk MT-2000. Snake emerged a few years later as a preloaded option on a variety of Nokia phones. It was based on the 1976 arcade game, Blockade, and was an unprecedented hit with audiences in the late 1990s.


Snake was simple and could be played in short bursts. This became the blueprint of mobile games and what has made them so successful. It would be some time before smartphone gaming came into fashion, though. There were plenty of Snake sequels and upgrades in the meantime, including a multiplayer option.

Nokia helped push the mobile gaming industry forward in other ways as well. In 2003, it launched the Nokia N-Gage, which was the first-ever mobile solely dedicated to gaming. This came with a number of different titles for players to enjoy, with Creatures of the Deep being the most played option.

There is no doubt that the introduction of games on these early devices prepared people for the more advanced options that were brought in when smartphones hit the market. They could have also influenced companies like Apple when they were coming up with ways to make the iPhone more appealing. Snake will always go down in history as an important game, and the fact that it has been re-released on modern phones shows how it is still an example of a perfect mobile game to this day.

Smartphone Games Boomed Because of Convenience

As soon as smartphones started to become an essential item in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the games market boomed. Mobile games were one of the main selling points of these high-tech devices, and it was found that around 60 percent of users would install an entertainment title within the first week of purchasing their phone.

Early hits included the likes of Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds and ZeptoLab’s Cut the Rope. The key features of these titles were that they could be picked up and put down at a moment’s notice. They could also be played from anywhere, making them more convenient than console and PC games.


The smartphone industry was boosted by the simultaneous rise of online casinos, as this form of gambling started to take off in the 2010s. Initially, most people logged on to internet casinos on their desktops. However, site operators knew that in developing markets, such as South Africa, more people would be accessing sites from mobile. Indeed, there are now dedicated sites that highlight the top online casinos in South Africa for mobile. These list all the offers that players can take advantage of, including free spins and welcomes bonuses. Developers went on to gear their titles towards the smaller screen, and slots look particularly immersive on the handheld device.

Advanced Devices Now Allow for Complex Titles

For many years, smartphone games were usually characterized by being basic and uncomplicated. However, as the industry has grown, the variety of genres has expanded as well. Smartphones are much more advanced now than they were in the early days. They have more processing power in order to handle titles that are traditionally associated with consoles and PCs. This means that players can now enjoy the likes of Call of Duty, FIFA, and Fortnite from their handheld screen.

Mobile gaming is a hugely successful industry that’s going nowhere, and it’s now just a question of how big it can grow. As smartphones continue to evolve there is a chance that they may one day negate the need for consoles and PCs at all, with gamers having all the power they need on their phones.


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