Gaming has become the popular pastime of Millennials and for a good reason, too. It’s accessible, it’s cheap, and it’s certainly less effort than heading over to a bar. From the Economist to Business Insider, major media outlets have been looking into the curious case of gaming in the 21st century. Presently, everyone is focusing their attention on an unlikely rival to PC and console gaming – mobile games.
To put things in context, mobile gaming titles managed to hit an all-time high at $50.4 billion, constituting 43% of the entire market in 2017. And that was before the time Fortnite started generating staggering revenue to the tune of $300 million worth of cash a month!
Casual Games for a Wider Audience
If you are a hardcore gamer, then chances are you might not even consider mobile games to be “real” games. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that the segment is overtaking all other platforms convincingly and nothing seems likely to reverse this trend. In comparison to the $50.4 billion the mobile segment generated in 2017, PC gaming only managed $32.3 billion. Meanwhile, console gaming registered similar numbers at slightly under $33.3 billion.
Whilst PC gaming studios have been working on pushing out the most well-received franchises and electronic sports (eSports) has seen a significant surge in interest, mobile gaming has continued to rise in popularity thanks to its convenience, ease of use, and accessibility from anywhere and anytime.
In other words, even casual players (which makes up the majority of the market) can go hunting for Pokemons without feeling inferior to more “Pro” gamers. Apart from their reach, mobile games also overcome gender stereotypes, resulting in a far more even playing field in regard to male to female ratio. And yet, bias still leaves much to be desired.
Marketing intelligence company NewZoo and Google Play are pooling their efforts to promote women gamers in the mobile segment, as reportedly 47% of male gamers would rather not play with female gamer on their team.
As experienced gamers ourselves, we would argue that such people may not have honed their skills to the point where they can ‘carry’ other players, as they fear their female counterparts may be lacking in certain skills.
A Few Great Alternatives
There is a growing interest in the iGaming segment, and poker fans, in particular, are making use of their mobile devices to hit their favourite virtual tables whenever time allows.
But even in poker, male gamers may be slightly biased against their female counterparts, although the majority of players keep their anonymity and bottom line – everyone’s out for themselves. If anything, female gamers may as well benefit from a male player underestimating them. Want to help beat that bias? You can join the poker gaming trend by playing on the best mobile online poker sites over at OnlinePokerAmerica.
China Fully Embraces Mobile Gaming
China is forging ahead with its mobile segment. The country has been an early adopter of mobile-first solutions, more so than the West, for example. If you thought western people were crazy about iPhones, think again. Asians literally go nuts whenever new iPhones are released and they’d happily queue for days just to be the first ones to get their hands on the newest and greatest.
Tencent, a regional behemoth worth $394.9 billion, following a recent slump in its value from $573.3 billion previously, has been a main driver of mobile gaming in the region. The company’s Arena of Valor has been renewed for a second season and is on its way to becoming a legitimate mobile eSports.
The market for mobile games also remains vastly focused on China alone. According to professional eSports powerhouse Gen.G Managing Director Weiwei Geng, China has the most-developed structure in the world to support the segment, having created a vibrant local ecosystem, which often spreads to South Korea.
To think it’s all China, though, will be inaccurate. A number of franchises are now expanding to mobile gaming, bringing hundreds of thousands of fans along with them. The Hitman Series have been ported to Hitman Go. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius achieved a record 20 million downloads.
Back in the west, Activision/Blizzard have also made their contributions by introducing Hearthstone to mobile platforms, even though there has been some criticism to go along with that.
The Fortnite Phenomenon
Shortly after PlayerUnknown’s Battleground made its entry, other studios began toying with the idea of introducing their own ‘battle royale games’. Not too long after PUBG had arrived, Fortnite saw the light of day, and it’s been killing it ever since. Fortnite’s success has been two-fold.
On the one hand, the company has been adding to its wealth and recently announced $100 million in prize money for the first season of competitive Fortnite. Secondly, players may pick any platform they like. The game is available on all platforms, and more specifically, on mobile. With the iOS app hitting 100 million downloads, Epic Games have proven that authentic gaming experience can be brought to a mobile platform.
PUBG has not been doing so badly itself. A mostly PC-focused game, PUBG Corp., the eponymous developers, have been able to meet Fortnite in terms of the overall volume for PUBG’s mobile platform.
What Drives Mobile Gaming?
It comes as a little surprise that increased usage of smartphones is one of the key factors that help mobile games overtake PC and console. This trend is best captured in China, as we have already pointed out.
The country’s mobile-first solutions and demand for such devices allow local companies to be self-sufficient and to develop cheap products that are easier to acquire and maintain top-quality games. And from a gamer’s standpoint, this is always cheaper rather than buying a dedicated gaming PC from ASUS or shedding money over X-box or PlayStation.
Bottom line, mobile gaming will continue to grow. With the largest share of the gaming market, it’s not a certainty that mobile gaming will conquer the West as it has China, but companies who are not at least considering porting their games over to iOS and Android may need to rethink their business strategy.