The evolution of app games has been a fascinating journey that has transformed the gaming industry and revolutionised how people play games.
It has gained significant popularity in Africa due to the widespread adoption of smartphones across the continent and its affordability in comparison to gaming consoles and PCs.
Mobile gaming is particularly popular in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
Thanks to this rapid development, African game developers are also now making strides in the gaming industry, creating unique and culturally relevant games that cater to their market.
There is a growing interest in promoting local game development talent and fostering a supportive ecosystem for game developers.
But how has mobile gaming transformed over time? Read below to find out.
1. Early mobile games
In the early days of mobile gaming, simple games such as Snake and Tetris were popular on non-smart phones. However, these games had limited graphics and gameplay but they laid the foundation for the future of mobile gaming.
With the introduction of smartphones, app stores and touchscreens, casual games started gaining popularity.
Games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga became a massive hit with their addictive gameplay, easy-to-learn mechanics and colourful graphics.
These casual games opened up gaming to a wider audience, including people who were not traditionally considered gamers.
2. Freemium and in-app purchases
The freemium model, where games such as Homescapes are free to download and play but offer in-app purchases for additional content, became prevalent in app games.
This business model enables game developers to generate revenue through micro transactions, unlocking new levels, cosmetic items and virtual goods.
3. Building a community of gamers
As smartphones became more powerful and connected, multiplayer and social gaming became a significant trend in app games. Games such as Clash of Clans and Fishdom introduced multiplayer gameplay, whereby players could compete or collaborate with others online.
Social features such as leader boards, achievements and friend invites also became integral to many app games, thereby fostering a sense of community and competition among players.
4. eSports and competitive mobile gaming
eSports, or competitive gaming, has grown tremendously in recent years. Mobile games have also become a significant part of the eSports ecosystem.
Games such as PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang have gained massive popularity as eSports titles, with professional tournaments, sponsorships and significant prize pools.
Competitive mobile gaming has become a lucrative industry, attracting professional players and creating a competitive gaming ecosystem.
5. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and gamification
With the advent of AR and VR technologies, app games have also taken gaming to a whole new level of immersion.
Players can now interact with virtual objects in the real world using their smartphones, which provides a new dimension of gaming experience.
When you think of how else app games have evolved, consider how games have evolved beyond traditional entertainment and have found applications in other areas such as health and fitness.
Gamification has been used to encourage physical activity, promote mental well-being and improve overall health.
This is achieved when gaming elements are combined with health and fitness goals, making gaming a tool for personal growth and self-improvement.
In conclusion, the evolution of mobile games has been driven by advancements in technology, changing consumer preferences and innovative business models. From simple mobile games to immersive AR/VR experiences and competitive eSports the app gaming industry continues to evolve rapidly, shaping the future of gaming and entertainment.