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The rise of mobile gaming

Posted by Jay Cox on 15th February 2022

Last month, Microsoft brought the spotlight back to the gaming industry with its agreement to pay $75bn for video game company Activision Blizzard – the world’s largest ever tech deal. But even with ludicrous deals like this, there are still so many people who see gaming as a mystery.

For many, playing video games is seen as something you do at home – and that’s not particularly surprising. While devices like the Gameboy, PSP and Nintendo Switch bucked this trend, for years the gaming market has been dominated by PCs and consoles that would be useless on your daily commute.

But as with all technology, the last decade has brought some radical changes to the gaming landscape – and it all started with the boom in smartphones.

Where it all began

You might be thinking that mobile gaming isn’t new – and you’re right. The likes of Snake and Space Invaders have been around for decades.

However, when Apple and Android swooped in and changed the face of consumer electronics, they also changed the future of gaming.

Now, over 6 billion people own a smartphone. And with their ever-growing screen size and processing power, the opportunity for mobile gaming has only grown too. In fact, last year mobile gaming revenues exceeded those of consoles and PC combined.

According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, mobile generated revenues of $93.2 billion in 2021 – accounting for more than half of the global games market

What’s more, smartphone ownership is expected to maintain its growth and is on track to exceed 7 billion by 2024. Combine this with the spread of high-speed networks across the globe, and it’s a very positive outlook for the mobile games market.

Are mobile gamers really gamers?

Many people who play mobile games wouldn’t call themselves gamers – my Mum for example. She loves a bit of Candy Crush, but ‘gamer’ would be a very long way down the list of words I’d use to describe her.

However, casual ‘pick up and play’ games like Candy Crush make up 78% of all mobile game downloads and generate 23% of total revenue. So, whether they like it or not, they’re still propping up the industry.

Up next for mobile

While they’re raking in money across the globe, it’s not the pick up and play games that are seeing the real innovation. Mobile games have been heading towards PC/console-level quality in recent years, and that’s peaking the interests of self-proclaimed gamers.

Call of Duty Mobile, for example, has many of the same features as the console version, and it gets incredibly competitive when you combine flagship smartphones with mobile controller accessories.

As such, game developers that may once have scoffed at mobile games are now making the most of this lucrative opportunity. In November, the makers of the hugely popular game, Rocket League, launched its mobile counterpart – Rocket League Sideswipe. Activision Blizzard have also just announced bringing Warcraft to mobile in 2022.

So, it’s an exciting time for mobile gaming. Especially with the world opening up again – I’m sure many will be taking out their smartphones to get their fix while out and about. And with the ever-more immersive experience mobiles can offer, we may even see some gamers switching completely.

While this does provide a massive business opportunity, it’s a highly competitive market. So, if you’re wondering how to target gamers, check out this blog.

Jay Cox