Mobile gaming is now the number one form of playing in terms of global revenue, and it looks set to continue its impressive rise in the future. In 2017, the total worldwide gaming revenue from smartphones and tablets was over $40 billion, while PC and console games only generated roughly $13 billion. The PC and console gaming market is still set to grow, but it doesn’t look like it could mobile, as the handheld devices continue to undergo new advancements and explore new payment models.
Here, we take a look at some of the key reasons why mobile gaming has enjoyed such a serious boom in recent years and taken the lead ahead of PC and console gaming.
Freedom to Play Anywhere
One of the biggest reasons why mobile gaming has taken off is the fact that it can be done anywhere. The small, portable devices can be used on one’s commute to work, while on the toilet, or when queueing in line at the shop. The ability to game anywhere has led to the rise of pick-up-and-play style games which can be started and stopped at a moment’s notice. The gameplay usually involves playing in rounds or stages, each of which is rather short. Few PC or console games give players this kind of luxury, while, frequently, games require saving before they can be switched off.
Prime examples of these types of games include Candy Crush and Pokémon Go. In the mix and match puzzle game from King that launched in 2012 but has seen sequels since, players can easily play for a couple of minutes at a time between other tasks. Candy Crush Saga, released in 2013, was downloaded over 500 million times within the same year. Meanwhile, the monster collecting game from Niantic makes use of the fact that mobile gaming can be taken anywhere, and actively has its players out and about on the hunt for wild Pokémon. Casino games have also proved to be ideal for playing on the move, and this has drawn the flourishing gambling sector to mobile. Poker players could dip in and out of hands in a cash game, while roulette and blackjack players can easily bet a few times in a matter of minutes and then put the game down again.
This ability to play on the move is something that console developers are trying to incorporate now. 2017’s Nintendo Switch, for instance, is a new hybrid console which can be played at home or on the move, thanks to its ability to display the action both on a television screen and a tablet-like device which forms part of the controller. The Japanese company had a hugely fruitful debut year with its new offering and sold over 10 million units. The success of this new platform could lead to other console creators doing the same thing.
Greater Range of Devices Available
Another aspect that is working in mobile’s favor is the wealth of options available to users of the portable devices. Console users only have the Switch, Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 to choose from out of this console generation. Mobile players, on the other hand, can choose either smartphone or tablet and then select one of the numerous brands and generations from an extensive list. PC players do have a number of different systems to choose from, but to get a super advanced set-up, a player would have to part with a lot of cash. All mobiles have slight differences in terms of hardware which would appeal to different players. The stiff competition in the mobile market forces developers in the industry to constantly improve and innovate when creating new software and devices. This means that each of the major brands including Apple and Samsung are releasing updated and more advanced versions of their smartphones and tablets each year. Consoles will never be able to do this, as the game developers create content for the major players and the current generation of each. If a new console was coming out each year, it would probably hinder sales rather than help them.
The advent of HTML5 has helped these devices to flourish even further. In the past, entering websites from a mobile screen was often inferior to using a desktop screen. But the new internet code has also allowed sites to seamlessly transition between different devices. This means that separate apps for certain games are no longer required. Game developers and gaming websites have taken advantage of this new technology, and players are now finding it just as easy to play their favorite games from the smaller mobile screen.
Wide Spectrum of Games Available
The wide spectrum of games available is working in mobile’s favor. While PC and console have numerous different genres, mobile arguably boasts the same and more. As mentioned above, it was initially the quick play puzzle apps that put mobile gaming on the radar. Candy Crush was a big boost to mobile gaming revenue, and Rovio’s Angry Birds was also a notable contribution to its growth. There is also the booming MMO genre, and games like Clash of Clans have sparked a whole new method of social gaming. The variety of mobile games today is impressive, from word and crossword games and tabletop classics such as chess in many variants and versions to pure action to high-action battle royale titles such as Knives Out and even recent hit Fortnite offering PvP action.
But it is perhaps the online casino industry that gives mobile the edge. The thriving sector was worth $47.11 billion in 2017, and that figure is rising steadily each year. Because online casino players can enjoy all the same games from their mobile, this, in turn, is helping to push up the revenue generated from mobile gaming. Visuals-heavy slot titles such as the Starburst Slot at 888casino offer the same, if not improved, graphics on mobiles and desktops. This is due to the advanced processors and screens of the latest smartphones like the iPhone X and the Samsung S9, and slot developers often design their titles with mobile in mind, rather than desktop. In addition to games like these, the extra memory on mobile devices is now making it possible to play bigger games, such as those that were once solely for the console. For instance, FIFA 18 can now be played on iOS and Android. This is a huge step forward.
AR and Live Streaming Technology
The fact that mobile gaming is adopting augmented reality is also a major step in the right direction. When Pokémon Go was released in 2016 it took the gaming world by storm and has been downloaded more than 750 million times to date. AR allows players to see look through their mobile screen and see digital images superimposed on the player’s normal surroundings. The success of the Niantic game has led developers to scramble to create more content using the technology, and there look set to be numerous similar games in the near future. One of these is Jurassic World Alive, which has been billed as “basically Pokémon Go, but with dinosaurs.”
Live streaming on mobile is also a big thing now, with Facebook Live, Periscope and more options changing the way people use social media. Some games have also incorporated this. For instance, many online casinos now offer live links to real tables so that players can feel as though they are playing in an actual casino. From mobile, players can instantly be linked with a roulette or blackjack game, and have a real croupier spin the wheel or deal the cards. A combination of live streaming and AR or VR looks set to come in the future for casinos, with Microgaming’s VR Roulette already has received rave reviews from those who have tested it.
With Apple and Samsung continuing to release advanced versions of their mobiles each year, and game developers using the new technology advancements wisely, it looks like mobile gaming is set to rule the roost for a while. Is there anything that could come along and usurp it?