In today’s digital world, more people use their smartphones for gaming than they do consoles or PCs. The home console may have been king during the first few decades of the gaming industry’s life, but here in 2022, gaming on the go is where it’s truly at.
Mobile gaming is incredibly versatile, giving players access to a vast range of gaming experiences without needing to go out and purchase brand-new hardware or even download space-eating games onto their devices. If you can think of a gaming genre, it’s available on smartphones and tablets – games can do everything from play poker on mobile apps to competing in eSports tournaments.
In this article, we’ll look at why this platform dominates the gaming sphere and talk about what the future of mobile gaming’s supremacy might look like.
Mobile is Critical to Any Gaming Company’s Success
At least, that’s a core belief driving Microsoft’s recent acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, which generated more revenue from its mobile games during the last fiscal quarter than its PC and console games combined.
Xbox Chief and Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer is a key figure in the gaming industry, and rarely has he gotten a prediction wrong. To a major gaming company like Microsoft, “access to mobile players” is absolutely essential on the pathway to success.
The statistics would also support this proclamation: of the 3 billion people currently playing digital games in the world, only 200 million do so exclusively on gaming consoles. Mobile, however, pulls revenues of over $100 billion a year and could grow by a further 5% from 2023, according to market research firm Newzoo.
The Truly Global Appeal of Gaming on the Go
Let’s be honest; there are very few gaming innovations that haven’t appealed to gamers on a global basis. But the mobile gaming platform is far-reaching for numerous reasons.
In the developed world, particularly across Western Europe and the US, gamers are fully invested in the freemium gaming model – boosting the mobile gaming experience with in-app purchases. Consumers with more readily accessible budgets see value in such microtransactions when they involve purchasing new accessories and costumes for character avatars or unlocking new maps, quests or levels.
After all, the premium upgrades on the mobile platform are a mere fraction of what it would cost to make similar purchases in console or PC games.
On the other end of the scale, mobile gaming is experiencing phenomenal success in developing markets like Southeast Asia and Latin America precisely because of its low barriers to entry for consumers. Gaming apps built using the freemium model can still be downloaded and played at zero cost to the gamer, making it more accessible than any other gaming platform.
Furthermore, the proliferation of cheap handsets and affordable data connections in developing countries makes gaming consoles unnecessary and expensive. Rather than needing to rely on stable bandwidth to play games on the PC, mobile gamers can instead use freely accessible WiFi or their own mobile data to play wherever, whenever they choose.
Securing the Future of Mobile Gaming
Given that the gaming industry is often subject to fads – does anyone remember FMVs and Quick Time Events? Thought not! – naysayers have long lumped mobile gaming into that category. However, five years of dominating the industry and over a decade’s worth of being a legitimately profitable and expansive entertainment market have ensured the mobile will never be relegated to ‘gaming trends that time forgot’.
Mobile gaming is very much here to stay, and the new innovations that are transforming gaming are securing its very future.
Take the concept of multiplatform play, or Cross-Play, for example. One of the main goals of cloud gaming services is to enable gamers to access their content on whatever device they choose and play against others who are utilising different platforms. This effectively makes it possible for a player on mobile to directly interact and play with a gamer using their PC to log on to the same game.
Then, there are the gaming industry giants that are continuing to pour resources into the development of new mobile gaming experiences.
Electronic Arts has spent almost $4 billion in its acquisition of mobile gaming development studios. Meanwhile, Take-Two also footed a $13 billion bill to purchase the development studio behind the monster mobile gaming hit, Farmville.
Even console gaming incumbent Sony has committed considerable resources to expand its portfolio with mobile gaming solutions. The corporation acquired Savage Game Studios this autumn as part of its long-term plan to launch the brand-new PlayStation Studios Mobile Division.