Gaming has shifted in a new direction over the last decade. Since the Apple App Store launched back in 2007, there’s been an incremental rise in mobile gaming. In the last five years, the introduction of free and hyper-casual mobile games hasn’t just changed how and why people play a game on their phones.
It’s also led to the rise of competitive mobile gaming. Traditional PC and console games are pricey—and that’s not even including the hardware like a monitor, PlayStation, Xbox, or PC. In other words, mobile gaming is more convenient and accessible for millions worldwide. In 2022, titles like Subway Surfer, Garena Free Fire, and Stumble Guys have all hit over 45 million downloads.
But it’s not just mega-hit titles that are contributing to the rise in mobile gaming. For casino gamers, just about any smartphone will allow them to play their favorite titles on the go. In fact, mobile casino gaming is one of the standout features of the industry. Today’s top casinos offer state-of-the-art mobile apps for their players to stay ahead of competitors, creating seamless interfaces that are easy to navigate and adapting top games for a handheld experience.
It’s not just something that gamers want to see—it’s something that anyone with a smartphone expects. Over the last five years, more and more Android developers have focused on creating gaming-first phones that make playing casino games or Garena Free Fire more enjoyable. But do they meet the hype?
Meet the Gaming-First Gen of Smartphones
Android has started creating smartphones that are produced and developed with remote gaming in mind. This means they have added storage and processing space, ergonomic controls for long gaming stints, specialized software for helping games run, and elevated graphics and audio. For a game to run smoothly on a handheld device, that first point is most important: better computing.
Today’s most popular gaming phones are the Asus ROG Phone 6D & 5, the Black Shark 5 & 4 Pro, and the Sony Xperia 1 IV. The Asus and Black Shark products are a cut above the rest thanks to boosted graphics and, in the case of the Black Shark 5, retractable triggers.
These favorites are being used for competitive gaming. The game mentioned above, Garena Free Fire, has over 15 million daily users who can compete for a chance to appear at the Free Fire World Series, which doles out around $2 million in prize money each year to competitive gamers. With so much on the line, opting for that gaming-first phone is good sense.
Here’s the Catch…
The idea behind gaming phones is straightforward: mobile gaming is rising in popularity and, in some cases, is being treated as a veritable eSport. And with so many AR projects for mobile in development, this trend will only grow. But that doesn’t mean that mobile gaming is flawless.
Above, we outlined the popularity of mobile slots. These types of games are perfectly suited for mobile, as they’re casual, colorful, and designed for excitement. A game like Garena Free Fire, on the other hand, includes complex gaming mechanics that require players to swipe, press, or tap with high accuracy.
The issue here is that mobile gaming is a relatively new quantity. Game developers haven’t had the time yet to adapt competitive titles for mobile play. Additionally, phone developers also haven’t had enough experience to design phones with sufficient storage, touchscreen controls, and fast processing speeds.
This has stalled the growth of mobile gaming and gaming-first phones—at least, for competitive gamers. In other words, games that were designed on mobile originally have seen greater success with gamers than those that were adapted for mobile from PC or console. Specifically, these are hyper-casual games. But, looking ahead, don’t be surprised if you see more competitive games move to the mobile sector.