The average number of people using their mobile phones to browse the Internet has skyrocketed throughout this decade. What was a costly and fiddly process on the WAP-enabled button phones of the early 21st century is now a fully integrated part of daily life.
The smartphone boom has resulted in the vast majority of people carrying devices in their pockets and bags that are capable of finding and collecting information, playing videos, music and games, and much more.
Businesses in every industry are always looking to make sure that they are doing all they can to put themselves on that handheld screen as much as possible.
It is therefore no big surprise that many online casino websites have invested heavily into making their sites as mobile-friendly as they could possibly be, and the result is people playing casino games on their mobile phones a whole lot more often.
Why so much focus on mobile?
2016 was the year of the ‘mobile first Internet' - the year that mobile searches finally surpassed desktop searches on the search engine powerhouse, Google.
In response to this, Google increased its efforts to ensure that sites which rank well in their search results offer an equally good user experience, whichever device the user happens to be using to access the page.
To this end, since the second half of 2016 Google has been pushing mobile responsive sites ever higher in rankings, offering a tantalising incentive to those web developers who have yet to take the plunge into mobile offering.
The shift from Flash to HTML5
One of the biggest driving forces behind the massive growth in popularity of using mobile phones to browse the Internet is the emergence of HTML5 as the engine behind website content.
Its predecessor, Adobe Flash, was completely eschewed by Apple due to a combination of factors including disagreements between creators as well as security concerns. This meant that iPhone, iPad and iPod users - a huge chunk of the Internet's browsing audience - were all unable to access Flash content. Flash enabled websites to offer a great deal of functionality in the 21st century, but over time more and more exploits were found and well, exploited.
As well as being completely unsupported on iPhone, it was often incompatible with Android phones. With more and more people wanting to access the content on their mobiles, something had to change, and HTML5 came into prominence early in the 2010s.
It is debatable whether the shift from Flash to HTML5 was the cause or the effect of increased mobile browsing - but it is clear that the Internet overall has been moving in the direction of increased mobile-friendliness for several years now.
Major developments from Netent
As one of the main game developers for online casinos, NetEnt have naturally been the trailblazers when it comes to providing games which look as brilliant on mobile phones as they do on desktops.
NetEnt Touch® is the brand of games produced by NetEnt for the mobile market. They work on both iOS and Android devices, and the portfolio of games offered is absolutely massive. Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Bingo, and lots more are on the menu, all coming complete with superb graphics, and enhanced experience optimised for mobile users.
In-Browser Casinos vs Casino Applications
Playing a game in your mobile phone's browser is convenient as it prevents you from needing to download an application which will take time to do as well as occupy space on your phone. Anybody with a 16GB iPhone will know only too well the constant battle to keep storage space free.
However, if it is a game that you play regularly, or one where progress needs to be saved, applications come into their own. It may take slightly longer to download it in the first place, but once you have, it's there all the time and loads in a matter of seconds, with your progress and preferences to boot. What is more, you may be able to play the game even when away from an Internet connection.
As far as the mobile casino trend goes, the browser version is still useful for ascertaining how much you enjoy playing at that particular online casino. Online casino developers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their games can be played on any device, so whether you decide to go for the app or the website, you're sure to be satisfied.
In the last ten years or so, mobile phone technologies have improved rapidly and most games are now as impressive as their PC and console counterparts. When you think that not too long ago, we were all playing Snake on the old-school Nokia 3310...!
Whether you are a football fan playing FIFA 17, a punter betting on French roulette or a puzzle aficionado playing Sudoku, it is amazing to think just how seamless the experience is on a mobile. Eventually, mobile gaming might even overtake console gaming - the sector is already set to surpass revenues earned in the latter stages of 2016, generating $31.9 billion while console gaming will "only" take in $29 billion.
Accessible and Improved Graphics are Key
Accessibility has been crucial to the rise in gaming on smartphones: what could be better than beating boredom while queuing at the store with a quick game of Angry Birds? It is all available at the click of a button or the swipe of a tablet.
One sector which has especially benefitted from the take-up of this new trend is iGaming. In fact, mobile online casino games such as roulette or slots are perfectly suited for smartphone users who like to play in short bursts and possibly win hard cash on your mobile device. Review websites focusing specifically on mobile casinos such as Casino Quest have even flourished in recent times due to the rise in popularity and exposure of these games. Designers have worked on making the gameplay both realistic and quick; and the live casino rooms are just as detailed on a smartphone device as they are on a wider screen.
While it is sometimes more practical to play these games on a wider computer screen, the graphics and feel of gaming on a smartphone certainly appeals to the masses. After all, not everybody can afford to fork out £500 for a reliable computer; in contrast, smartphones give users the chance to get their gaming fix whilst still being able to text, make phone calls and do other daily chores, all on that tiny screen.
Competitive and MMO Play
The one big difference between mobile and console lies in competitive eSports and MMO games. eSports feature worldwide tournaments and events for the very best players on the planet, while MMOs need massive open worlds and a lot of real-time interaction. It doesn't seem that developers and designers are making much effort (yet) to produce engaging MMO games for mobiles. There needs to be a shift in the MMO culture to ensure that the likes of Order & Chaos don't remain a small niche in the mobile world.
As for eSports, games like League of Legends actually have a huge take-up on PC, which is the first step towards mobile adoption. This type of games tends to be favoured by hardcore players, so again studios need to step up to the challenge of creating engaging mobile options. And if we believe Andrew Paradise, CEO of Skillz (which creates eSports infrastructure), the time is ripe. Games like Vainglory have been very popular on Twitch in 2015, with over 150 million minutes watched.
We can't deny that consoles are still very popular but the lure of playing your favourite games on the move has seen a major shift in the gaming universe. With the rise of Augmented Reality (remember Pokémon Go?), mobile gaming is definitely getting a bright future.
The holiday season is almost upon us and many of you will either be travelling back to your home or going on a vacation. Whether you are returning home or going away from it, you will possibly want to avoid expensive roaming data charges from you carrier. Even if you do decide to use the internet while on the road, there are chances that you might end up with no network coverage at times. Offline games are your best bet during these trying times and therefore, here's a small list of games worth downloading before embarking on a trip.
Improved both in graphics and gameplay, Dead Trigger 2 is the better version of Dead Trigger with more aggressive zombies and a huge arsenal of weapons.
This is as simple as they get, but the puzzle game is very addictive nonetheless. Minutes will pass by fast as you keep connecting colored dots to figure out the next solution.
Jetpack Joyride is an extremely fun and popular game where you control and guide Barry, who is riding a machinegun jetpack through a secret laboratory, killing evil scientists and avoiding obstacles for as long as possible.
This one is a personal favourite of mine and I have put multiple hours into it. An addictive tower defence game at its core, Plants vs. Zombies 2 brings better graphics, animations, more plants, more levels more zombies and even a upside town funny story to the garden.
Click here for a complete list of all offline games prepared by Google on the Play Store itself.
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Ever since Nokia introduced phones with the first incarnation of Snake pre-programmed on them, mobile users have become obsessed with skill-based app games as a time-filling distraction. The simple idea was easy enough to get the hang of, but took hours of practice to master. Snake's popularity led developers to focus frequently on skill-based ideas for their games, in an effort to tap into the human desire to conquer challenges.
According to bgo, Millennial and Generation Y gamers have become accustomed to games that test their ability. This highlights how Snake in the late ‘90s went on to influence apps for smartphones, where the primary area of focus is games of skill.
One of the first ever skill-based games for smartphones was Doodle Jump, which was released in 2009. Players had to tilt the phone to guide "The Doodler" up an infinite series of platforms. If you missed a platform you would fall to your doom and have to start all over again. It was hugely popular, and sold 25,000 copies daily for its first 4 months. Later that year, Angry Birds came out, and surpassed Doodle Jump's sales record.
Where Doodle Jump didn't have much longevity in that it was only one level being played over and over again, Angry Birds had multiple stages, each representing a completely different set of challenges. Users could keep testing their abilities using unique birds that had varying special talents, and by breaking down more intricate sets of obstacles. They also got a star rating out of three for each level depending on how well they had done. This gave players an extra challenge - to attempt to get three stars on every level. Games in the series have been downloaded over 3 billion times, which is testament to the game's appeal.
The three-star concept has been used by a number of games since Angry Birds, most notably perhaps, Candy Crush. The idea behind the game was simple; to mix candies together and clear the puzzle area. As bgo suggests, the game was "sickly and addictive" because of its "saga" feature, the fact that there were so many levels to overcome, and because you could see how far your Facebook friends had progressed as well.
The success of these challenging app games has even influenced iGaming developers to start incorporating them into slot games. Online slots are hugely popular, but gamers who like to test their skills are missing out on the action. The new Space Invaders slot at Vegas Slots Online has an added element that requires gamers to shoot the aliens to try to win money, and is one of the first of its kind. Games like this could help online casinos pull in an even wider audience.
Another skill-based app that is pushing the genre in a new direction is Pokémon Go. Players not only have to use skill to throw the pokeball and catch the intriguing monsters, they also have to wander about in real-life settings in search of them. The game incorporates augmented reality, so that the Pokémon are actually seen in the real world, through the lens of the phone of course. With augmented reality glasses set to flood markets in the near future, Pokémon Go could mark the beginning of a new wave of AR games.
The massive success of Pokémon Go and apps like Angry Birds and Candy Crush suggests that a combination of these things could be a massive hit. Will people soon be flinging virtual birds in real-life settings? Or maybe gamers will have to go into shops and move candy around on the shelves? Whatever the aim, skill games are here to stay, but they are sure to become more advanced.
The internet has changed our lives forever and there's hardly any aspect of it that still remains untouched by the World Wide Web. Apart from simplifying the global trade, making information easily available and creating countless other potentially world-changing opportunities, the internet have also become a hub for digital entertainment. Online gaming has gained a lot of popularity in recent times and it will only grow in magnitude and scale as time passes on. If you are looking to give this lucrative world of multiplayer battles, races and rewards a try, check out this list of the most popular genres in online gaming today.
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO)
Imagine exploring, fighting and completing quests in a virtual world that's co-inhabited by thousands of other players and you should have an idea about what an MMO is exactly. Some of the most popular MMO titles include World of Warcraft, Tom Clancy's The Division, Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV and Tera Online.
First Person Shooters (FPS)
A FPS game typically puts you in the shoes of the protagonist, armed with guns, armor, grenades and much more to blow your opponents into oblivion! Multiplayer first person shooters like Counter Strike Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2 and Destiny are extremely popular and are enjoyed by thousands of players around the world every day.
Various online casino games like Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Roulette, etc. are played and enjoyed by millions of players around the world now and with the security system getting tighter and safer with each passing day, the number is expected to increase. However, you should be careful and deal only with legal and trustworthy online casinos like casino.com for example.
Sports games like the FIFA series or the Pro Evolution Soccer series make for some of the most intense real time competitive online simulations ever and that's exactly why they are so popular all over the world. Other popular games in the genre include the Madden series and the NBA series.
Racing was one of the first genres in gaming ever to sport competitive multiplayer gameplay. The genre gained widespread popularity recently with the extremely successful NFS series of games. Apart from cars, online racing games may include bike racing, Jet Ski racing, etc.
Basically anyone can pick up a controller and start throwing punches and kicks in a fighting game, but it takes true skill and precision to reach mastery of the game. Although they are not as popular worldwide as some of the others on this list, the player base is still pretty strong for games such as Street Fighter or Tekken.
Did we miss your favourite type of online games? If so, then let us know in the comments section below.