Mobile games are games designed for mobile devices, such as smartphones, feature phones, pocket PCs, personal digital assistants (PDA), tablet PCs and portable media players. Mobile games range from basic (like Snake on older Nokia phones) to sophisticated (3D and augmented reality games).
Today’s mobile phones - particularly smartphones - have a wide range of connectivity features, including infrared, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G. These technologies facilitate wireless multiplayer games with two or more players.
Because most mobile devices have limited system resources, mobile game features are not as rich as games designed for PCs or gaming consoles. For example, only one mobile device (as of late 2011) - the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY - is equipped with a dedicated gaming controller. In most mobile devices, the keypad doubles as gaming controller. Smartphones have touch screen displays for user input.
Augmented reality games are the latest mobile gaming trend. These programs combine a real-world environment with advanced computer graphics to provide the effect of augmented reality. An example is Sky Siege, where a player shoots virtual helicopters that appear to fly around the room. In actuality, a live image of the player's room is captured by the device camera and fed to the display screen, resulting in augmented reality to the player.
Advanced mobile games usually require fast central processing units (CPU), dedicated graphics processing units (GPU), large random access memory (RAM) and high-resolution display screens. Most developers use a royalty-free, cross-platform application programming device known as OpenGL ES to write games with 2D or 3D graphics.