A few years ago the term ‘Mobile Gaming’ wasn’t taken very seriously. With titles like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, the platform was mostly considered a casual one that helped kill time during mid-day breaks or boring bus rides. Fast forward to 2018 and things have changed drastically. Mobile Gaming has skyrocketed, accounting for over 50% of the Global Gaming market which reached a whopping $137 Billion in 2018 (Source: Newzoo), crowning itself as the largest entertainment industry.
This growth was an upshot of a series of developments that took place over the course of several years. Here are some of the most prominent ones.
Mobile SOCs have improved exponentially over time. Not only in terms of performance but power efficiency as well, allowing for endured gaming sessions. The improvement is so immense that modern smartphones can effortlessly emulate Sony Playstation 2 games at 60fps. For comparisons sake the Snapdragon 845’s GPU, Adreno 630, is comparable to Nvidia’s GeForce GT 210 desktop GPU from 2009. OEMs have even started manufacturing phones dedicated to gaming, with high refresh rate displays, boosted clock speeds, robust cooling and flashy exteriors.
With better hardware comes better visuals. Mobile 3D games have went from just a couple thousand polygons to over 10 Million of them. With the advent of games like Shadowgun legends, Darkness rises, PUBG Mobile and numerous other titles, Mobile gaming has started eclipsing the visual fidelity of consoles. Not only are the graphics on par, but the games are just as immersive and in-depth.
With the release of Vainglory in 2014, Mobile E-Sports got redefined. The game went on to become the 5th most popular MOBA E-sports on any platform, with millions of dollars in prize pools, even beating Heroes of Newerth. Following its footsteps, Mobile Legends has taken over the world by storm sitting at over 150 Million downloads world wide. Other games like Modern Combat and Arena of Valor have also acclaimed great E-Sports relevancy.
Support from Game Giants
As Mobile Gaming was on the rise, a lot of big video game publishers like EA, Square Enix and Blizzard jumped onto the platform to capitalize on the market and its consumers, with flagship titles like The Sims, Hearthstone, and Enix’s GO series, giving it a major boost. Now we’ve started to see Mobile iterations of huge PC/Console titles like PUBG, Fortnite and Paladins.
Story driven games
Contrary to popular belief, the mobile platform has some of the best story driven games out there. From award winning games like OPUS and AI based games like Bury me my Love, to the Telltale series of games that offer the same experience as their PC and console counterparts, mobile games have targeted pretty much every audience.
VR and AR
While PC and console gamers enjoyed their HTC Vives, Oculus Rifts and Playstation VRs, Mobile gamers weren’t left out thanks to the Gear VR powered by Oculus. The release of Daydream view was another major addition and pushed the platform further into the world of virtual reality.
Pokemon GO was not only a sensational game, but also a great demonstration of the power of AR combined with the mobile platform. It gave a clear vision of the potential of AR and pushed it into the mainstream.
Mobile Games are getting increasingly sophisticated and while most of them are free to play, they deploy intelligent pricing regimes. This is reflected in the revenue which is dominated by in-game purchases, making Mobile Gaming a $70 Billion Industry with no signs of slowing down.
This explosive growth is essentially because of the convenience and ease of access of the platform. Everyone owns a smartphones these days and the same cannot be said for any other platform which is why we can expect more and more entertainment giants to invest heavy resources in the foreseeable future. However PC and console players shouldn’t worry about their platform fading away in the upcoming years. Newzoo predicts that both segments will continue to grow in terms of absolute revenue.