One can hardly believe it is true unless it is published in a Newzoo report. It says global gaming industry earnings will hit a stunning $137.9 billion by the end of 2018, and mobile games will make up to 51% of the whole pie chart.
With long-tail PC games like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty boasting billions in revenue, you may doubt this trend is here to stay. But Newzoo claims it is. The mobile gaming share is to reach 59% by 2021 outpacing console and PC. The financial success of Pokemon Go ($1,8 billion), Candy Crush Saga ($1,9 billion), and the like prove it is happening.
This growth is a real sensation. Mobile gaming has long been around, but now its yield is increasing. What causes this sudden change? How will a typical gamer profile look like and what game development challenges may spring up?
We have featured the answers in the next few passages. Please explore them.
Why the Mobile Gaming Industry is Booming
The rise of the mobile gaming industry is taking place due to the boom in Asia, particularly China. Here, mobile games have become popular thanks to freemiums and the people’s strong habit of playing on mobile devices rather than on consoles or PCs (in contrast to the western countries).
Bit by bit, the Asian trends in game design and monetization have crept into other markets showing movement toward new directions. According to Newzoo, China alone is supposed to get $37.8 billion of the total global game revenue, which is equal to 28%.
There is a logical explanation for that. The biggest mobile gaming company resides in China. It is Tencent. The entertainment giant boasted a record-breaking fiscal 2017 report with $15.6 billion earned from games. In 2016, the company acquired a Finnish mobile games developer, Supercell, holding 62% of shares in Space Ape Games, London’s leading game development company. Obviously, the bigger Tencent and other Asian giants become, the more trends they can influence.
Another reason behind the rise of mobile gaming can be traditionally explained by an ever-increasing number of mobile phone users (expected to beat the 5 billion mark as Statista predicts) and casual gamers who like playing for fun without being tied to hardware. That said, an average gamer profile is undergoing big changes, which every game development company like Innovecs should consider.
What Changes in a Typical Gamer Profile
The forecasted supremacy of mobile gaming is a clear sign gamers are seeking more freedom playing on the go. Mediakix claims US adults spend about 23 minutes gaming out of almost 3.5 hours spent on their mobile devices every day. Thinking in terms of an average lifetime, each person spends about 1.3 years playing mobile games.
The question is who are these people? You might think of geeky teens, but the target audience proves to be way more varied. As Limelight Networks asserts, the age group of mobile game fans includes those aged 45 and younger while gaming consoles are usually played by gamers aged 26-35, and computers remain the favorites for the people aged 46 and older.
Surprisingly, women make up the bigger audience grabbing every chance to play on smartphones. The TapJoy mobile gamers research says that 63% of all players are females, and 60% of them choose to play daily. These women come from any profession and social tier, from housewives to business women having short game sessions between staff meetings.
Female players are more valuable due to their inclination to pay for mobile games or make in-game purchases, whereas male players give preference to PC and console games. Here comes a major challenge for gaming software companies to solve: They have to balance between the male preference to play unique games and the female preference to pick casual games with low time commitments like Angry Birds or Words With Friends.
Another curious fact revealed by Limelight Networks is 85% of gamers select free downloads, but only 55% of them make regular purchases. Mobile gamers are getting more concerned about their online security. They would never download a game from unsafe or vulnerable websites.
Let’s see how these gamer characteristics impact game development overall and point out the things of the top concern for developers.
Game Development Challenges to Be Aware Of
The mobile gaming market is abundant. Casual gamers jump from game to game tempted by dozens of similar apps to play. Obviously, the biggest challenge gaming software companies keep dealing with is to create quality content and make it stand out.
Feature creep is another issue. Navigating and playing a game should be a breeze; adding extra features must not decrease overall game performance and the downloading process. Believe it or not, downloading a game turns out to be the most frustrating part for both younger and older players. As Limelight research says, over 75% of gamers are disappointed by the length of it, restarting process or download failure. It impacts retention rate and, therefore, needs careful testing.
Secure game operation impacts retention too. As players get more concerned about app security, mobile game development outsourcing companies have to establish secure coding practices. They may comprise a vast range of precautions including safe cloud servers with encrypted connection and databases, removing code vulnerabilities, empowering authentication methods, and much more.
At Innovecs, we regularly face these challenges when developing mobile game apps. Our portfolio accounts for over 100 games delivered on time and on budget. If there is something that needs immediate troubleshooting, feel free to get in touch with us.