Back in the 1990s, the first online casinos hit the market. Their game variety was pretty weak and they relied on downloadable programs – we would call them “apps” today. At first, they were only available on Windows-based computers – Linux was far less popular (and far less user-friendly) back then. Later, as Flash became mainstream, the first browser-based casinos appeared – but they had nowhere near the game variety of their downloadable counterparts. Mobile gambling was pretty much out of the question back then. Still, in a little more than two decades, online casinos have become a mainstay on smartphones. Let’s take a look at how we got from bulky Windows programs to cross-platform services like the Crypto Thrills online casino.
Java and feature phones
Before smartphones, there were feature phones – handsets with color screens and some advanced capabilities, including the possibility to download and run third-party programs. For years, these feature phones were all the rage with their cameras and music-playing capabilities. Mobile gaming was only a novelty back then – most mobile games were barely smarter than those running on the 8-bit consoles of the “golden age”.
In the early 2000s, though, software developers already saw mobile phones as the future of casual gaming, so the first mobile casino games were released. Since they required constant connection to the servers and didn’t look very convincing on the small feature phone screens, these never broke into the so-called “mainstream” – but they did start a trend that led to the mobile gambling industry we see today.
Then everything changed when…
The iPhone and HTML5
By the time the iPhone was released, Flash was already THE browser game development platform. This is why Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash came as a shock to the world. All online casinos used Flash – and with this, they effectively banished themselves from the iPhone – and later from Android, too.
Luckily, HTML5 was already at the point where it could be used as a reliable mobile game development platform. And while it wasn’t good for browser games – there is still no way to deploy an HTML5 game as a package as one could with Flash – it was a godsend for online casinos.
Online gambling started to shift from downloads to browser-based operations – and it also began to spread on the increasingly popular smartphones.
Where we are today
Today, online gambling has completely phased out downloadable software from desktops – after all, online casinos have a fully functional and completely cross-platform browser-based interface to work with. On smartphones, in turn, things are a bit different. Many online gambling outlets have their own native mobile apps, even if it’s little more than a website in a container.
Mobile gambling has come a full circle: it went from downloadable programs to native apps on all major mobile operating systems. And all it took was about 25 years.