The battle royale goes mobile
We couldn't write anything about this year without mentioning the release of PUBG Mobile and Fortnite - those two really defined the trajectory of mobile gaming this year from the second they were released. It's understandable, for a number of reasons.
For one thing these were console quality games that were already massive elsewhere - we didn't get shoddy ports or squished up versions though, we got the full Fortnite and PUBG experiences, but in a form small enough to fit in our pockets.
Fortnite still sits close to the top of the top-grossing charts, and more than any other game it's dominated mainstream headlines over 2018, and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
Both of the games show that not only is there a huge appetite for bigger and meatier experiences on mobile, but also that they can work brilliantly well. With Blizzard stating it's going to be bringing a load of its IP to mobile soon, it looks like it's a trend that's going to continue.
The battle royale genre going mobile is the start of a brand new era of mobile gaming, and we're super excited to see what it brings.
Bye bye Infinity Blade
If PUBG and Fortnite coming to mobile is the start of a new era, then Infinity Blade disappearing from the App Store marks the end of the previous one. This was the first real AAA franchise that started on mobile, and it acted as the iPhone's Crysis for a good long while - want to show off your new hardware, then show people Infinity Blade running on it.
All three of the games are gone from the App Store now, and while there's going to be some new content for dedicated fans, once that's out of the way the games are going to go the way of the Dodo.
As well as marking the shift from one mobile paradigm to the next, the death of Infinity Blade is a timely reminder about how we never really own the games we download from the App Store. With so many games requiring servers to run nowadays, when a dev or publisher decides it's time for something to go, it goes pretty quickly.
It's certainly going to be interesting to see whether Fortnite becomes Epic's main mobile focus now, or whether it decides to create another mobile-only IP. We're definitely hoping for the latter, but the former is just as likely to happen.
What happened to VR?
2018 was meant to be the year of VR. Or was that 2017? We don't really remember, since the VR market seems to have been silent for a good long while. Much like the 3D revolution for movie-goers and home-cinema owners, the mobile VR wave seems to have broken on the shore of no one really caring.
There just haven't been enough games to make the tech viable - sure it's fun slipping on a VR helmet for a quick play, but that doesn't mean you're going to fork out a fat stack of cash to get your own equipment. And that's the other problem - not only are there no really essential VR experiences out there, getting a set-up to play the mediocre games on offer is super expensive.
We imagine this is going to be the last we hear about VR for the next few years. It's going to become more popular in the business sector, but consumers are going to have to wait a good long while before VR manages to make it back into the home market.
And with top-end smartphones now more than capable of doing some stunning AR work, we fully expect that to take over as the top buzzword in mobile gaming. And we fully expect next year this part of our round-up will be asking what happened to blockchain gaming. You read it here first.
Apple starts taking mobile seriously
The amount of content that Apple is creating on a daily basis about the games you can download from the App Store has shot up this year. Games are featured on the front-page of the App Store more than almost any other category, and Apple is taking a more curatorial role over the content it provides.
That's great for gamers, since it gives them a direct link to the best games instantly. However, it does mean that sometimes Apple is going to recommend a dud - it wants you to buy and play as much as you can after all.
Obviously you can still come to Pocket Gamer for less biased opinion pieces on recent and classic mobile games (and we definitely think you should), but Apple has shown it's not playing around when it comes to games anymore.
While there are problems with that, for the most part Apple taking games seriously is a good thing. Hopefully it's going to roll over to other companies, and we're going to see some super interesting games because of it. After all, if Apple is on the ball, there's a smaller risk when it comes to making exciting and unique mobile gaming experiences.
Pocket Gamer gets a redesign
We've saved the best for last. It's been a long while coming, but Pocket Gamer finally got a swanky new look this year. It's still a work in progress, but we think you'll all agree it's a big step up from where we were before. We even re-branded our awesome YouTube channel.
There are still things we're going to implement in the new site, and we can guarantee that 2019 is going to be a really exciting year for your favourite mobile gaming portal. If there are things you'd like us to cover, or some changes you'd like to see on the site, then do let us know in the comments.
You're as much a part of Pocket Gamer as our team of writers, and we want to make the very best website for you, and cover what you think is important. Hopefully we've done that this year, but we're going to double our efforts in 2019.
To finish things up then, here's a big thanks to you for coming and reading what Pocket Gamer has to offer. We couldn't do this without you, so from the bottom of all of our hearts - cheers. We hope you have an awesome holiday season, and we'll catch up with you in January to see what you've been up to.