Mobile gaming has, and continues to prove it’s now one of the dominant forces in the industry. With virtually everyone in the western world walking around with a device that’s capable of running games and graphics better than your old Nintendo, developers are certainly making hay while the sun shines.
As if you needed any more proof that this is the case, let’s just take a look at some of the recent stats. According to research by SensorTower, mobile users spent an eye-watering $968 million (£787 million) on gaming apps in between this past Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That means in just a single week, mobile gamers spent almost as much on virtual content as board game lovers spent in the US and Canada in 2015 ($1.19 billion according to ICv2).
With the market booming and players seemingly ready to try their hand (or fingers) at anything that hits the market, industry insiders are starting to look towards the future. 2017 seems to be the industry’s most buoyant year as we head towards Digi-Capital’s forecast that mobile gaming revenue will top £37 billion by 2018. Naturally, as with all burgeoning markets, change is crucial and this year we’re likely to see the market evolve in a variety of ways.
Android to Dominate
Although research group Ovum is confident that Apple will continue to take the lion’s share of mobile gaming revenue until 2021, it seems as though the company’s supremacy is waning. In among its prediction that mobile gaming will be worth £58 billion by 2021, Ovum notes that the addition of Chinese indie developers could give the Android market a significant boost.
As noted by InsideGamesAsia.biz, China currently accounts for “about half of all downloads” and now generates the most mobile revenue. With Android the dominant force in China (moreover, Asia), Apple’s status is likely to be usurped and possibly sooner rather than later if independent developers are added to the mix.
Mobile Payments to Improve
The way we pay for mobile and in-game content has been improving over recent years and 2017 looks set to continue that trend. Bitcoin is likely to become an even more significant currency for gamers looking to bolster their arsenals in games such as of Call of Duty and Battlefield. However, perhaps one of the most interesting developments could be “pay by mobile” services.
Popular in the mobile casino world, this option basically allows you to pay for content without the need for a credit or debit card. With security always a concern, this system allows gamers to essentially “pay as they go” without any sort of contract or account. For example, mobile casino operator mFortune offers a mobile slots pay by phone bill option. Unlike other mobile gaming sites, players don’t have to input their card details to buy casino chips.
Instead, players can make a deposit of £3, £5 or £10 by charging it to their phone bill. Because the user doesn’t have to type in any personal information, this system is gradually becoming the preferred method for mobile bettors. Naturally, this system could easily carry over to the traditional gaming arena as players look for ways to keep their cash safe while they purchase in-game credits.
Continued Evolution Means Continued Growth
Of course, on top of the above suggestions there are plenty of other ways the industry will grow and evolve in 2017. Virtual and augmented reality will continue to enhance our view of mobile games (especially with Nintendo set to release some products), while we’ll also continue to see a greater convergence between PC and mobile developers.
2016 was the year when mobile gaming finally made its mark and overtook console gaming in terms of revenue, but 2017 looks set to be even bigger. Indeed, thanks to the above improvements and more, we may soon see mobile games become the go-to medium for casual gamers as they ditch their consoles in favor of a more portable solution.