Twenty years ago, you would have been lucky to find a games tab on your pocket mobile phone at all, let alone such a coveted title as Snake or Pac-man. If you wanted entertainment while on the go back then you would have had to resort to other means, like a portable DVD player, a Nintendo Gameboy, or, God forbid, a magnetic chess set.
Things are, obviously, quite different today, a generation or two later. Today, smartphones can do all of the above and more. Infinitely more, in fact. The mobile games industry is in a state of perpetual growth: here are the numbers, here’s how, and here’s why.
Mobile Revenues Account for More than 50% of Global Games Market
According to 2018 figures, the mobile games industry is at an all-time high, with projected figures of over $137 billion global revenue. That’s just over 50% of the entire global games market, with PC, console and browser games picking up the slack. This profit follows over a decade of double-digit percentage growth since the dawn of the Apple iPhone.
Some forecasts predict this growth will continue, with mobile gaming set to be a standalone $100 billion dollar industry by 2021. Whilst one might think the rest of the gaming market will suffer as a result, it currently seems unlikely. PC and console sales haven’t decreased in line with mobile gaming’s success so far – in fact, the two platforms seem to happily coexist.
Diversity, Accessibility, Affordability
So what is it exactly that makes the mobile games market such a roaring success?
Perhaps it’s the market’s diversity – with hundreds of gaming apps across every kind of imaginable genre, players are free to pick and choose their preferred method of entertainment (usually at little to no cost). There’s a competitive drive within the industry, and that drive spurs innovation, fun and niche titles. The end result is that there’s something for everybody.
One minute you can be scouting out the best online casinos, comparing one’s pokie bonus against another’s jackpot or welcome offer, and the next you can be solving puzzles, shooting zombies, or platforming your way to level completion.
Certainly one major factor in the industry’s success is its accessibility. One needn’t buy a dedicated piece of hardware to take part: you already own it, there, in your pocket. As smartphone tech grows, so do does the population of the mobile gaming industry, and as such, its profit.
The Future of Mobile Gaming
Whether or not its financial forecasts bare fruit, its clear that mobile gaming is here to stay. Whether through premium paid apps or loot box orientated, microtransaction titles, folks around the world are getting stuck in as they go about their daily lives; during their commute, on their lunch break, in a queue at the train station.
Only time will tell how much further the industry can take things, and how truly innovative it can become. There’s the prospect of VR on the horizon, after all. Pokémon Go’s augmented reality might only be the first step in a very, very long tech journey.