Mobile gaming is no doubt one of the fastest growing industries of the 21st century. According to a report by SuperData Research, in 2016, mobile games generated $41 billion in revenue while retail games generated $26 Billion, and free-to- play online games came in at $19 billion. So what does this mean for console games? Mobile could represent a new extension to existing popular titles. Leading games like Madden, Mario World and NBA 2K have already begun to use the mobile platform as a means to reach a more extended target without re-inventing the wheel.
In previous years, console games represented the majority of game sales and was only recently overtaken by mobile in 2015. Why are we seeing this apparent shift from console to mobile? What is the appeal of mobile gaming as opposed to traditional console gaming?
Benefits of Mobile Gaming:
1. Low Cost Upfront
Consoles and handheld games require an upfront investment to buy the console system. One the other hand, mobile gaming does not require the purchase of a new device for gameplay. In 2017, 2.53 billion people globally are expected to be smartphone users. In most cases, as long as the device has power and is Internet enabled, consumers can play most mobile games offered on the market.
2. Readily Available
Console games are not typically portable devices. Smartphone users have the advantage of having a multi-purpose device, capable of more than just game play at the palm of their hands. The convenience of having the device that is always with you available for gameplay wherever you are means there are more chances for connecting and engaging throughout the day vs. requiring users to be in a dedicated location where the TV, console, and games are.
3. Lower Costs Long-term
The barrier for entry and building a library of titles is much lower for mobile than console. The average cost for a new console game title is usually about $60.00 USD. In contrast, mobile games are usually free (free-mium) or have a very low cost. In-app purchases are usually the only costs associated with mobile titles and most titles do not require purchases to be able to play and advance.
Though mobile games have surpassed console games in revenue, there is no indication that mobile will completely replace console. However, mobile opens the possibility of expansion, allowing popular console brands to reach established users in a different platform to revitalize legacy properties as well as to create unique experiences for new audiences.
“Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2014-2020 (in billions)”- Statista, 4 Mar. 2017, https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/
“Mobile vs console game revenue”-The Atlas, 4 Mar. 2017, https://www.theatlas.com/charts/NkL2y93Tx
“Worldwide game industry hits $91 billion in revenues in 2016, with mobile the clear leader”- Venturebeat, 4 Mar. 2017, http://venturebeat.com/2016/12/21/worldwide-game-industry-hits-91-billion-in-revenues-in-2016-with-mobile-the-clear-leader/
“Market Brief- Year in Review” SuperData, 4 Mar. 2017, https://www.superdataresearch.com/market-data/market-brief-year-in-review/
“Leveling Up Your Mobile Game: Using Audience Measurement Data to Boost User Acquisition and Engagement”- Verto, 4 Mar. 2017, http://www.vertoanalytics.com/report-leveling-mobile-game-using-audience-measurement-data-boost-user-acquisition-engagement/