Mobile First and what it means for gaming

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The mobile first trend was one of the most prominent trends of the previous decade. You have surely used the phrase ‘mobile first’ and you probably have some sort of and understanding what it stands for. Here, we’ll have a look at the mobile first trend and its meaning for the gaming industry, particularly for mobile gaming.

Mobile first is often described as a paradigm shift in industry circles, and rightfully so. When the first smartphones appeared, many thought that while it is handy (yes handy), to be able to send an email from your mobile device, that would only be used as a last resort, i.e. that only a small proportion of all email sends, google searches, let alone more complex activities will be performed on mobile devices.

Mobile First Vs Optimisation

The mobile share of all organic searches in the US for the third quartal of 2019 amounted to 60%, and only few years before the figure was lower than 50%. People are more likely to come across your site from a mobile device, which is why it is completely reasonable to have a website that’s completely mobile optimised.

Mobile optimisation was a major trend at the beginning of the decade, but site owners and developers who had a vision for the future, realised that mere optimisation will not suffice. That’s when the ‘mobile first’ trend was born.

The mobile first concept first appeared at the beginning of the now last decade and it was initially defined both as a strategy and a new way of writing code. We won’t get too much into the writing code bit, but we will discuss mobile first as a strategy.

It is pretty simple really, mobile first means designing the website and the whole user experience for mobile devices before designing it for desktop devices.

If more than 50% of all visits come from mobile devices, mobile first seems like a very logical approach. But many site owners and developers took this approach long before that. Going the mobile first route meant reversing the process of development.

Sites that have been developed for desktop devices first are generally more robust and less user-friendly. With mobile first, all text should be easy to read and navigate through, and all content should be adjustable.

Mobile First applied to gaming

This is a time when players and, website visitors, in general have a lot of options and nobody is going to visit your site for a second time if it didn’t work the first time. First impression always mattered, but it matters a lot more nowadays when players can go to your competitor’s site immediately and forget your site existed.

The best thing about mobile first is that it gives developers an opportunity to add extra desktop features when they optimise the site/game for desktop use. The mobile first when we speak of websites means ensuring that everything will run smoothly when the site runs on the smallest possible resolution.

If we apply this principle to game development, that means that all symbols that appear, characters and buttons are large enough to be clearly seen, but also to fit in on the screen and be compatible with the rest of the elements that appear on the screen.

One look at any of the most popular mobile games on Android and you will immediately realise that they were built for mobile, even if they are based on pre-existing PC or console games.

And it’s not just developers of conventional video games that adopt the mobile first approach. If you have a look at the new online slots, you will notice that most of these games are also created based on the mobile first approach.

The figures show why mobile first is the dominant approach nowadays, and we are yet to see what the future will bring and what will be the next dominant trend in game development.

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