Gaming is an industry that has skyrocketed in popularity in the past decade, as improvements in technology continually lead to newer and better games. But with mobile devices also enhanced by technology, as well as a highly competitive industry, games designed for mobile customers have become more trendy and widespread as well.
According to a study by SuperData Research and Unity Technology, mobile games hit new all-time revenue high in 2016 by exceeding $40.6 billion worldwide. That 18% increase from the previous year also puts mobile games at half of the entire digital games market.
The games designed for mobile devices range from social games like Pokémon to more competitive games like online poker and e-sports like Hearthstone. If players can access the games from a smartphone or tablet that also gives them the freedom to move around and keep up with their busy lives, they’re likely to use that mobile device more often than a desktop computer or other gaming console.
Of that revenue, Asia comprises the largest portion with $24.8 billion in revenue, and North America is second and followed by Europe. As for the UK alone, it claimed £955 million of the mobile revenue, up 16.9% from the previous year. And to prove that the growth of mobile gaming affects other industries as well, the revenue from UK gaming events soared 20.6% in 2016, mostly due to e-sports shows.
Mobile gaming growth is powered by technology in general but also by the popularity of some games. Some like Minecraft and Warcraft are played more frequently on mobile devices so friends can play together and play on the go. But games like Pokémon were ideal for mobile users because of the goal of finding characters in real-life locations being central to the game. It not only made gaming on mobile devices and in public acceptable, but it was practically mandatory.
Social games like Pokémon were not the only significant booster for mobile gaming in the past year, as online casino games and poker have also become more playable on smartphones and tablets, both for PC and Mac users. Internet casinos now take special care to promote mobile casino games that are faster, clearer, and smoother than ever before. Operators have had to catch up to e-sports in order to keep customers and stay competitive in the last several years.
Mobile gamers do tend to focus most of their time on social games, as 58% of those studied for the report preferred puzzle-type games, most of which can be paused at any time without harming the flow or score of a game. Significantly, action games took up 40% of the group, with 26% choosing simulation games. Both of these numbers are expected to grow in the years to come.
The average time spent on mobile gaming in 2016 was nearly 30 minutes each day, but that number grows as the number of available games increases. And the more people who have upgraded mobile devices that accommodate the playing of those games, the greater that time frame will become.
Most industry experts anticipate a continued high rate of growth for all sectors of mobile gaming in the coming years, as even older generations are participating in greater numbers. And the gaming generation is getting older and more able to purchase top-of-the-line mobile devices that can handle more gaming activities. Mobile gaming is an industry that has yet to see the its full potential.