Among gamers for almost as long as gaming has existed, the major topic of contention has been console vs pc. In recent years however, a dark horse contender has arisen. Though traditionally looked down upon by gamers, mobile marketing seems poised to dominate the gaming industry. In this article, we will look at the factors that drove the mobile gaming market’s success.
Mobile games are highly accessible for all demographics. Mobile games are easy to pick up and learn, slowly scaling up the difficulty as you go along. The games are designed to feel intuitive, you rarely have to deal with multiple buttons and menus. You can even make it easier on yourself and use a stylus pen for touch screen. In contrast, traditional gaming companies focused on total time played as a marker for success. This usually meant that console and PC games were not easily picked up by new consumers, as games had higher difficulty settings to pad play time. You may feel that this approach dumbs down the market, but the opposite is true. Accessibility increases the size of the market, bringing in players that may not have started gaming otherwise.
Portability is a huge contributing factor to the success of mobile gaming. You take your phone or tablet with you everywhere you go, so you’ll always be able to play a mobile game. The mobile gaming market has taken advantage of this portable nature to be everpresent. Unlike console and PC gaming where games are sold in stores, mobile games can be downloaded almost anywhere at any time. You can kill time anywhere, whether you’re on your lunch break or waiting for a meeting. Mobile gaming companies put massively popular franchises on mobile platforms so that you can take them everywhere with you.
The mobile gaming market is booming due to mobile games being ridiculously profitable. As of 2018, the mobile gaming market is worth about $70.3 billion. The money flows in through microtransactions, advertisements, and quick development times. Unlike mobile games, triple a games are expensive to create and have long development cycles. It can take months and millions of sales for triple a games to become profitable. In contrast, mobile games can be profitable almost immediately. The free to play model is highly effective, being addictive and easy to implement. If you play an F2P game, you will be tempted through ads to buy a few upgrades. With the sheer number of players globally, those small transactions add up quickly.
The popularity of mobile gaming is intrinsically tied with social media. There is no better advertising than an endorsement from someone you know. The mobile gaming market has taken advantage of this by making games easy to share. You can easily post pictures and high scores from your game on social media websites by pressing a single button. In fact, most games encourage such behavior after every play session. Games begin to trend online through sharing on social media sites, gaining widespread notice online. More attention means more downloads.
Mobile gaming has broken the market barrier and gone mainstream. Gaming has traditionally been considered geeky, a niche hobby at best. If you were a gamer growing up in the 90s or early 2000s, chances are that you were ostracized for your interests. But now, everyone and their grandmothers play games. Games aren’t limited to consoles and computers anymore, they’re multimedia franchises that sell movies, shows, and toys. In a mere decade, the mobile gaming market has reached a level of unprecedented popularity. Gamer isn’t really a dirty term anymore. Playing mobile games is the new normal.
Whether you love it or hate it, the mobile gaming market is here to stay. This comes with it’s ups and downs. At the core, gamers are a passionate lot. We want to play and talk about the games we love with like-minded folks. Having a market that caters to gamers is a step in the right direction.