Mobile gaming is becoming the dominant area of video games, with huge sales figures and an impressive market share. In 2017, 43% of the total video games market around the world was occupied by mobile gaming. That 43% equated to an absolutely enormous $50.4 billion, split between smartphone gaming and tablet gaming.
In 2018, mobile gaming is projected to produce half of all revenue generated by video games. PC and console games will only contribute 24% and 25%, respectively. 2.3 billion gamers across the world will spend $137.9 billion on mobile gaming. That is in stark contrast to 15 years ago when the only game you could play on your phone was Snake. So, what is shaping the success of mobile gaming?
Experiences to rival those available on consoles
One of the major shifts in the last couple of years has been the advancement of smartphone technology. Previous smartphone game successes such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga were extremely addictive and fun experiences. However, they did not really offer the same experience that you could get from a high-budget console or PC game. The last few months have shown us that mobile games are beginning to catch up with their console and PC brethren. PUBG Mobile and Fortnite Mobile offer a comparable experience to the PC and console versions. Their success opens up the platform to more developers willing to try and push the envelope on what smartphone gaming can be.
In comparison to PC and console gamers, there are so many more mobile gamers available for developers to market their games towards. Most people already own a smartphone – in fact, the percentage of the UK population that owns smartphones is now over 85%. That is 85% of a current population of 66 million people, an absolutely enormous market. That is why developers are making games that appeal to different demographics. Games that are attractive to older gamers are making this older demographic one of the largest that plays mobile games. Niche titles that on PC and console would only have had a small audience can now have a much larger audience thanks to the size of the market.
Huge variety of genres
Smartphones, with either of the two operating systems, both offer a huge library of games in their app marketplaces. Puzzle games, shooters, racing games, strategy games and casino games mean that everyone can find something to enjoy. Additionally, smartphones can also play browser games, expanding the size of the games library even further. Popular casino games with Stakers can easily be played on a mobile device, allowing you to make bets and win money even when you are on the move.
Cheap pricing and free-to-play
The cheap pricing of smartphone games is a huge draw – smartphone apps cost less than £1. If you compare this to the £50 price tag of a new console game, not to mention the price of the console itself, it is easy to see why mobile gaming is so popular.
Aren't things nice when they're free? Consumers seem to think so. Free-to-play pricing models are contributing greatly to the shape and success of the mobile games market. Mobile gamers are generally more casual gamers, so they will play games for less time during the day, as well as overall. This means that they are less likely to pay upfront for a game they might not even like. Fortnite is an example that seems to be working well with the free-to-play model of allowing players to buy in-game clothing items. We should expect to see more mobile games following this model.
AR and VR
Augmented Reality games are games that superimpose graphics and gameplay onto real life, using the smartphone camera. Pokémon Go is an obvious example of this and its enormous success is sure to have an impact on the use of AR in other games. Virtual Reality is another fascinating area of mobile gaming that is growing with the improvement of technology and greater affordability of it.
This is such an exciting time for mobile gaming. The industry is growing, there are impressive games coming out every year and technology is advancing. The success of mobile gaming is down to the broad appeal of the platform, the cheap pricing and the clever use of developing technology.