The evolution of mobile gaming
The gaming industry is seeing exponential growth for many reasons, with the key being the boom in mobile gaming we have seen in recent years. For mobile gaming, we expect to see a value of $315.9 billion by the end of 2023. Over the years, we have seen mobile games make up significant revenue in the gaming industry compared to dedicated consoles and PCs that have previously been the giants.
So why has the mobile gaming market seen such a tremendous growth rate, and why is the market so expansive? Mobile gaming has contributed heavily to responsible gaming with the growth in technology and is one of the many reasons it has gained so much popularity. It could also be down to how mobile devices have become a part of our everyday lives, as even those who don’t enjoy playing games will still have a mobile device and download a few titles to pass the time waiting for public transport or on lunch. Here is the evolution of mobile gaming and what we expect to see.
Social, mobile gaming
Social, mobile games have started to see a growth in popularity. These types of games heavily include social features that allow players to interact with one another while they are playing the game. This interaction could be through messaging and integrated social media. Marketers and game developers benefit from the ability to build a community and keep user engagement for an extended time provided by the mobile social game. Benefits will boost ad revenue and create a better return on advertising spend (ROAS). Some of the essential features found in these types of games include:
- Push notifications showing when your community is online allow you to stay connected.
- Chat functionality that creates more of a community feel towards your fellow players.
- Integration to other apps via social media.
- Activity feeds and leaderboards show just how well your fellow payers are doing.
The future of mobile gaming
Companies looking to boost their portfolios and profits have been paying much attention to mobile gaming recently. There are approximately 250 million players of Fortnite, and $2.3 billion has been generated in revenue from Pokémon Go. Investors in mobile gaming who already had a stake in the industry may have made substantial investments to replicate such success. Gamelynx raised $1.2 million from several investors, Boom Fantasy raised $2 million from ESPN and MLB, and Supercell invested $5 million in Redemption Games.
Investing $200 million in Voodoo, a hyper-casual mobile gaming studio, was arguably an old-school move by Goldman Sachs. Blackstone announced a year later that they would purchase mobile ad network Vungle for a reported $750 million; KKR bought a $400 million minority stake in AppLovin. The Take Two Corporation and Microsoft Corporation are also moving into the mobile platform. By acquiring Zynga, the former has access to cash generators like Farmville and can learn how to make successful F2P mobile games from experts.
Despite this, games like Genshin Impact have shown that the use of cross-platform gaming, when done right, can be the best way to increase your net revenue while also significantly increasing your player base. Cross-platform games could become the new standard and expand mobile gaming’s audience thanks to perks like this.
Cloud gaming and 5G
The introduction of 5G has enabled much more regarding connectivity, with its faster speeds and much higher bandwidth capabilities. As a result of this advancement, applications such as cloud gaming and augmented reality look to be a much more viable option for mobile devices.
Cloud gaming expects growth of up to 177 million active users by 2024, a considerable feat considering four years ago, the annual amount was around 3 million. The main hurdle with immersive games that show detailed graphics and landscapes has been the limited processing power available on mobile devices compared to PCs and consoles. The introduction and development of cloud-based gaming have helped mitigate this issue. Many top online game providers are now planning live events, such as the Travis Scott five-day concert on Fortnite. Experiences like this are being delivered through the power of cloud-based systems made possible through the low latency and the increased bandwidth characteristics of 5G networks.
A growing area of technology that will likely play an increasing role in mobile gaming is Augmented reality (AR), due to its extreme compatibility with these devices. The significant updates in hardware over the years have made these two devices a match made in heaven, along with the improved internet capabilities and camera quality. Companies such as Globe Telecom, Verizon, Deutsche, and TELUS have joined the planet-Scale AR Alliance by Niantic. Their collective vision is to create better real-world AR experiences that truly demonstrate the capabilities of 5G. Years after its inception, games such as Pokemon GO are still going strong, making partnerships with the likes of Starbucks. The implementation of AR seems to herald the advent of a world where we can add a whole new dimension to reality.
In recent years we have seen a massive boom in the esports industry, especially in the newest form, mobile esports. Spectators around the world tune in, with a total of 19% of viewers making up the mobile market, amounting to 2.53 billion hours watched. Of the most popular esports tournaments worldwide, titles such as Free Fire World and PUBG are gaining over four million peak viewers showing their extreme popularity. As of 2022, the global mobile gaming industry was estimated to be worth $152.2 billion, a growth of 9.16% compared to the year prior. The market is estimated to generate something in the region of $184.5 billion by 2024.