Mobile gaming has historically gotten a bad rap with the wider gaming industry. It’s easy to understand why this would be the case. When the App Store launched alongside the iPhone 3G in 2008, console and PC gaming was finally beginning to stake its claim to being a valid 21st century artform, and in comparison the inane freemium offerings provided on the nascent smartphone platform looked like little more than a continuation of the trend for flash and HTML5 minigames circulating online. In other words, early mobile gaming appeared to align itself with the hyper-casual periphery of the industry. Since those early days, the association between mobile gaming and affordability hasn’t gone away, but the quality on offer has certainly improved. Android and iOS gamers now have an incredible array of top-tier, affordable gameplay experiences at their disposal. Whether that takes the form of using the latest bonuses and welcome offers provided by comparison platforms like oddschecker to enjoy mobile-optimized casino gaming, or hopping onto any number of immensely popular free-to-play multiplayer titles like Free Fire or Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
Make no mistake, you won’t find any platform out there today that can match mobile for bang-for-buck, and below we’re going to take a whistle-stop tour of some of the most impressive platforms available on both Android and iOS serving up top-tier gaming at a fraction of the cost of console or PC offerings.
The Apple App Store is home to hundreds of thousands of games, but many of these are knock-offs or shovel-ware. One of the greatest challenges facing mobile gamers today is discovery. Finding the games truly worth playing can be a real challenge. That’s where Apple Arcade comes in. This subscription service delivers a curated, on-demand gaming take on the App Store. For a single monthly cost, you can access hundreds of the platform’s best games. What’s more, Apple is increasingly developing exclusive games for the service, further compounding its value.
While the other platforms on this list undeniably represent real value for gamers, F-Droid goes one better by giving them access to a vast library of titles free of charge. This is because F-Droid is an open source alternative to the Google Play Store. What this means is that all the apps and games available there have their source code readily accessible to anybody who may wish to survey them.
Not only does this make it impossible to monetize these apps, but it ensures that, in downloading them, you’re not exposing yourself to trackers or malware against your consent. For this reason, F-Droid is not only a great choice for the cash-strapped gamer, but the best option for those with earnest privacy concerns around closed software.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Cloud gaming is a relatively new technology, but before long it will become the default way by which we all access gameplay experiences. Simply put, cloud gaming streams game content to your chosen device from a remote server. This cuts out the need for you to own powerful hardware locally in order to run the newest games.
This results in the almost-uncanny experience of being able to play 9th generation console games, right from your smartphone. The best example of cloud gaming out there today is Xbox Cloud Gaming, which comes as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. This service gives you immediate access to hundreds of Xbox games past and present, including day one releases of flagship titles like the upcoming Forza Motorsport.
Netflix for Games
You may not realize that Netflix has soft-launched its own gaming service, but its offerings are growing ever more compelling with each day. What makes Netflix for Games interesting is that it provides unique games you can’t access any other way, including franchise tie-ins with some of the platform’s biggest shows, like Stranger Things and The Witcher. Crucially, if you have a Netflix subscription already, all these games are free to access right from within the app.