New Yorker

Apple and Google crushed Nokia to dominate the cell phone business, and that’s a gaming story

Apple and Google crushed Nokia to dominate the cell phone business, and that’s a gaming story

These days it's hard to imagine anybody other than Apple and Google being major players in the smartphone market, but back in 2006 and 2007 the ecosystem looked very different. 

Nokia was the big fish in the pond at the time, and Apple was far from certain to be a success in the smartphone market with the iPhone just about to be released. It's very strange to imagine how the gaming market might be different today had somebody besides Apple emerged with the go-to mobile gaming platform.

Even today we see tremendous differences in how the iOS and Android platforms operate. How might things look like if Nokia was at the helm? Would mobile development have become a gold mine that brought hundreds of new developers into the field? Would free-to-play gaming have taken off in the West? Would all of the micro-consoles like the Ouya still have an open operating system to base their consoles on?

It makes for pretty tantalizing alternate history mind candy, and we need to start thinking about the cell phone market as a huge part of the world of gaming. Mobile gaming is only going to get bigger, whether we like it or not.