In 2016, a landmark moment occurred in which mobile gaming overtook the popularity of PC gaming for the first time. What were once thought of as casual gamers now control the industry, with more developers catering to their devices every day.
The games industry is now increasingly volatile, as even the smallest shifts in the industry can have long lasting effect. The smartphone market is increasingly lucrative, as it’s one place that the user base is growing exponentially. It’s also more open to children too, as they are more likely to own a smartphone or tablet.
So how is the landscape made up? Apple and Android devices are both vying for the top spot, with each month varying which is in the lead. Windows phones, Blackberrys and Kindle OS devices are lagging well behind, with a miniscule portion of the market attributed to them. Together, they create less than 10% of the market overall, which is tiny compared to the amount of the two tech giants.
The growth of this market is projected to continue, with mobile games expected to take up approximately 60% of the market by 2019. It will come as no surprise that China is the fastest growing market out there. Smaller companies like Huawei are rapidly gaining exposures in this market and making gaming smartphones much more affordable.
The games that players are experimenting with are pretty diverse too. They can really cover any form of gameplay or theme, with puzzle games becoming exceptionally popular. Games like Candy Crush and Roulette are always a mainstay of the mobile player.
The success of this market largely comes from the freemium gaming model. This allows players to enjoy the experience of playing the game without spending any money. They can earn in game currency in other ways, like sharing on social media or inviting their friends to play. When you consider the costs of other forms of gaming, like PC or console gaming, this can explain some of the popularity of these games.
The next step seems to be Virtual Reality peripherals, like Google Cardboard or Samsung VR headsets. These enhance the phone gaming experience, while still using the basic tech that most people already own. Though there are more sophisticated VR options like the Vive or Oculus Rift, these are expensive investments for a very new market. This seems to be another way that the mobile market is a step ahead of the PC gaming market.
Augmenting games with mobile technology may also become more prevalent in the future too. Nintendo and Sony are working on streaming their games onto the small screen, with Sony putting this into practice in Beyond Two Souls. They allowed users to play the multiplayer game with one user interacting with a controller and the other with their smartphone.
The last prediction for this market, which is absolutely mind boggling, is that by 2020, the total number of apps downloaded will hit 284 billion. From there, the growth is just going to speed up until another new technology hits the market. The smartphone revolutionised the industry and pioneers are always looking for the next big thing to do it all over again.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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