Inside Look: The Mobile Gaming Boom
In the US alone, there are over 155 million mobile gamers, according to a study by Zippia.
11:13 27 October 2023
In the US alone, there are over 155 million mobile gamers, according to a study by Zippia. Worldwide, other countries like China, Canada, and South Korea have similar proportions of mobile gamers. Not only are these gamers starting to sway the industry as more competitive games and gaming-first smartphones enter the market, but mobile eSports are also taking off.
Some competitions, like those related to PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, dish out millions in prize money each year. But five years ago, mobile gaming was only just starting to take off globally—so what’s behind this major growth spurt? Do we have eSports to thank for the added interest in mobile gaming or is it something more? Let’s explore.
Game Variation & the Rise of Casual Games
Back when the Apple App Store launched in 2007, mobile developers were focused on lifestyle and productivity apps, from weather to email. However, games are now one of the largest app categories for both Android and Apple users—which has helped foster growth in mobile gaming. Along with competitive titles like those mentioned above, casual titles are also hugely popular.
These casual titles cover a massive range of games, from simulations to match-three puzzles. Even games like slots, the world’s most popular casino title, can be accessed from a mobile device. Mobile casinos offer hundreds of global favorites on their platforms, such as Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst. There are even guides available, including those that break down RTP meaning and how to find the right slot for you.
With so much available straight from a smartphone, from casino titles to match-three puzzles, more people are gaming today.
Price-Accessibility within Mobile Titles & Smartphones
From the era of arcade gaming to the modern expanded world of gaming, there’s been one huge obstacle for players to consider: pricing. This applies to both the hardware (meaning how a person plays the game) to the software (the game itself and the platforms it runs on). However, smartphones that are equipped for gaming and the games themselves are more accessible than ever before.
Even the average smartphone is able to run a wide range of games—and these games are designed to be more accessible financially. In fact, mobile gaming has become synonymous with the free-to-play movement. These games are free to download and enjoy. However, they do tend to come with necessary or important microtransactions, leading to the term pay-to-play.
The 5G Wave
The range of games offered on mobile devices and the financial accessibility of mobile gaming are two huge contributing factors to the rise of this industry. But behind it all is the necessary advances that have been made to global networks. In particular, the roll-out of 5G connectivity has helped improve the mobile gaming experience for millions of people.
Keep in mind that not all regions that are interested in mobile gaming have access to 5G connections. As this type of technology continues to proliferate, many believe it will steer the future of mobile gaming. With stronger connections comes better gameplay and improved refresh rates, reducing lag and other issues. This will pave the way for mobile-first eSports—many of which are already gaining popularity and mainstream coverage.
Piggybacking on eSports
Speaking of eSports, the rise in mobile gaming has come at a time when eSports is also taking off. As we discussed above, one huge reason that mobile gaming has expanded so quickly is its range of casual titles. This has led many non-traditional gamers to join the bandwagon and put mobile gaming on the map.
However, mobile gaming has also been able to ride on the coattails of eSports. As millions of new fans started tuning in to major leagues like the ESL and The International, advertising campaigns helped steer them toward mobile titles that touch on similar interests. In cases like PUBG Mobile, which was ported from the original PUBG: Battlegrounds release, the crossover from PC or console gaming to mobile gaming was incredibly seamless and easy.