A mobile game is a video game played on a feature phone, smartphone, smartwatch, PDA, tablet computer, portable media player or calculator.
The first game on a mobile phone was a Tetris game on the Hagenuk MT-2000 device from 1994.
Three years later Nokia launched the very successful ''Snake'', starting in December 1997. Snake and its variants, that was preinstalled in all mobile devices manufactured by Nokia, has since become one of the most-played video games and is found on more than 350 million devices worldwide. A variant of the ''Snake'' game for the Nokia 6110, using the infrared port, was also the first two-player game for mobile phones.
Now, mobile games are usually downloaded at app stores as well as via the mobile operator's network, but in some cases are also embedded in the handheld devices by the OEM or by the mobile operator when purchased, via infrared connection, Bluetooth, memory card or side loaded onto the handset with a cable.
The first downloadable content was introduced already in 2000. Many new WAP-enabled phones allowed new games to be downloaded. However, mobile games distributed by mobile operators remained a marginal form of gaming until the Apple App Store was launched in 2008. App Store, that was the first store operated directly by the mobile platform holder, significantly changed the consumer behaviour and quickly broadened the markets for mobile games, as almost every smartphone owner started to download mobile content.
Mobile games are played using the technology present on the device itself or over the mobile cloud.
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 also became 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. In the present day, Japan is the world's largest market for mobile games.〔http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303330204579251221692606100〕 The Japanese gaming market today is becoming increasingly dominated by mobile games, which generated $5.1 billion in 2013, more than traditional console games in the country.〔http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/japanese-console-market-down-as-mobile-gaming-takes-over/0136110〕
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 anaemic.
In Europe, the downloadable content was introduced by the “Les Games” portal from Orange France, run by In-fusio, in 2000. Before the mobile games were usually commissioned directly by phone manufacturers, but now also mobile operators started to act as distributors of games. As the operators were not keen on handling potentially hundreds of relationships with one- or two-person developers, mobile aggregators and publishers started to act as a middleman between operators and developers that kept the revenue share of the developers of minimal.〔
The launch of the Apple App Store in 2008 radically changed the market. First of all, it widened consumers' opportunities to choose where to download apps; the application store on the device, operator’s store or third party stores via the open internet, such as GetJar and Handango. The Apple users, however, can only use the Apple App Store, since Apple forbids the distribution of apps via any other distribution channel. Secondly, mobile developers can upload applications directly to the App Store without the typically lengthy negotiations with publishers and operators, which increased their revenue share and made mobile game development more profitable. Thirdly, the tight integration of the App Store with the device itself led many consumers to try out apps, and the games market received a considerable boost.〔
Consequently, the first commercially highly successful mobile games emerged soon after the launch of the App Store. The initial version of Angry Birds developed by Rovio Entertainment, for example, was released on iOS in December 2009.
Today, smart phone and tablet games have come a very long way. Their graphics are about the same as you would expect on a 6th 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).
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』