How Did Mobile Gaming Turn Simple Online Games Into Worldwide Sensations?


When you were a child, what was the ‘fad’ of the day? Perhaps you are of the Tamagotchi age, or maybe the Rubik’s Cube was all the rage in your school playground? These trends come and go, but the way we entertain ourselves arguably changed in the year 2007. What was the momentous development in that year? The launch of the first iPhone, the ground-breaking smartphone from Apple.

It may surprise a few to remember that the iPhone is so young, as the current models are a long way removed from the original. It wasn’t long before imitators arrived, and then the developers began building apps and – of more interest to us here – games that could be played on a small hand-held device while on the move. Let’s talk about some of the major games that changed our gaming habits.

The Mobile Gaming Revolution 

The early smartphones – from Nokia and Blackberry, for example – were simple and functional devices. The former was for communicating with each other without the need for a permanent connection, the latter cleverly aimed at the business market. The iPhone was a game-changer, aimed at a far broader audience, including those who wanted entertainment on the move.

A quick question here: how many readers have played ‘Angry Birds’? We’re willing to bet that there are but a few among you who have not! Launched in 2009, this clever animated game with its caricature birds, pigs and other features was like nothing seen before. Simple to play, engaging and strangely addictive, it was a massive global hit and turned the gaming market on its head. But being honest, it could only work on the smaller screen.

Gaming on PC’s was already established, and those players wanted more: intricate graphics, a matching soundtrack, challenging game play and original storylines. Angry Birds offered none of that, but that wasn’t the point. You could play it on your smartphone on the boring commute to work, it appealed to the Facebook Generation. 

Angry Birds was followed by several other smash hits from developers recognizing that a new market had been created. Candy Crush Saga doesn’t look like a hit when you read a description – it’s a tile-matching game, and that’s pretty much all – but open it on your smartphone and hours go by before you realize they’ve gone! The same is true of Temple Run, another of the massive worldwide mobile games.

What all these games have in common are simplicity, fun and the ability to play on the move. All enabled by the development of the smartphone. The success of these games gave thought to many game developers: could casino games be translated to the small screen? The answer was yes, and an industry has been created that is far bigger than anyone could have envisaged: the online casino.

Why Online Slots are the Favorite 

An online casino serves two purposes: to entertain, and to possibly make the player a profit. The big names in the online casino world – Betway, 888 Casino, LeoVegas, 32Red for example – all recognized at an early stage that one staple of the bricks and mortar casino would transfer perfectly to the handheld device – the slot machine.

Check out any online casino and you’ll find a wealth of choice in online slots, and they are amazingly popular throughout the world. The reason is simple – a slot machine is a familiar format to most people, and it’s easy to play. What is interesting is how the slot machine has shot to the top of the charts for most-played online games. 

Let’s consider why this might be. Take a game like Angry Birds; the aim is to score as many points as you can. But what then? You have bragging rights over your friends, of course, but your next step is simply to score even more. That’s great, as Angry Birds – like many smartphone games – is free to play, fun and engaging. 

An online slot has an extra attraction: you might actually win some money. We all know that at every casino the odds are in favor of the house. That’s why the green 0 (or two green zeros on some wheels) is there on a roulette wheel. Anyone betting red or black, even or odd, is slightly behind the house in the chance of winning.

A slot machine is the same. Developers build in what is called the ‘RTP’ which stands for Return to Player. This is a percentage figure representing how much the player will get back over a number of spins, and is usually around 96%. We recommend you look for the RTP and choose a game with the lowest, but that’s enough of the technical stuff, let’s get back to why slots are the most popular form of online gaming.

Volatility and Progressive Jackpots

Slots are fun, there’s no doubt about that. Many have transferred from the high street to online, including standards such as Starburst, with its familiar 5×3 format. Others have been developed especially for the online player, so let’s have a quick look at a couple of these.

If you’ve played online slots you may have heard tales of a game called ‘Mega Moolah’. It’s slots like this that are changing the way we view mobile gaming. Mega Moolah comes from a top developer – Microgaming – and is one of a growing number that involve a progressive jackpot. This is where the jackpot grows with each player. As a result, jackpots can be very large indeed. If we told you that Mega Moolah has paid out a number of jackpots in excess of $1million, and a few of more than $6million it should paint a clear picture of why this is a popular game. 

Mega Moolah, available at all top online casinos including Spin City, BetVictor and more, is what is known as a ‘high volatility’. The difference in volatility of slots is yet another reason for the popularity of this genre of game with mobile players. High volatility means the game will pay out larger sums but less often than a low volatility game such as the aforementioned Starburst, which will pay out more often but in lower amounts. Players think of volatility as a measure risk: high risk in which you can choose to wait and see if you get a large pay out, or low risk in which you are more likely to win at least something. 

The sheer breadth of choice in online slot machines is an influencing factor in choosing which game to play, and the simple fact is that online slots are the perfect game for someone on the move with a smartphone to hand who wants to take a risk and gamble. The top developers all optimize their games for mobiles, which further enhances the attraction of playing online slots


The mobile smartphone has opened a world of possibilities for online game developers and casinos, and it is clear that online slots lead the way in terms of entertainment and possibility of winning real money. What started with simple and engaging games has become a more attractive and exciting world and brought the authentic casino experience to anyone with a smartphone.

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