A $92.6 billion or 49% of the total video game revenue this year, is contributed by the mobile gaming industry, according to the Newzoo forecast, which is triple the data for PC games and almost double for console titles.
Mobile gaming is already a familiar topic in the gaming industry and is widely known by any age. It became well-known when Nokia launched their mobile devices with a pre-installed game – Snake. And since technological evolution has become widespread, encompassing every device, the gaming industry has had to adapt.
Games, especially those that contain larger data, were only available on PCs and gaming consoles back then. However, since the popularization and availability of smart devices, mobile gaming has emerged in the market. Data.ai and IDC reported that 56% of global consumer spending is estimated to come from mobile gaming this year. This is said to be the resurgence phase of the mobile gaming industry after it plummeted in 2022.
Despite the gradual drop in the market last year, popular mobile games still generated billions of dollars. Honor of Kings alone generated $1.8 billion and is considered the most successful game available on smart devices. This is followed by PUBG Mobile with $1.5 billion and Genshin Impact with $1.3 billion.
The Influences Behind Patronization of Mobile Games
Mobile games are undeniably addicting; they have been an avenue for gamers – pro or amateurs, to release stress and socialize. In a recent study, it was revealed that 38% of gamers in Malaysia play over 16 hours a week, and nations like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines recorded higher ratios. But what is in these mobile games that draws us to them?
For one, smartphones’ portability and accessibility have become the driving factors that positioned mobile gaming at the top of the industry. In 2020, mobile games were downloaded 80 billion times, 18% more than in recent years. This is coupled with the fact that 54% of mobile apps are free, according to Statista. These equate to limitless entertainment.
Diving deeper into the psychology of mobile games, escalating difficulty, instant gratification, and “appointment mechanics” are listed as primary influences for the popularity of mobile games. Picture this: in the early levels of most gaming apps, players are often faced with no challenges. These easy levels are designed to provide an opportunity to become familiar with the game mechanics. Most mobile games provide easy rewards for defeating such levels. For instance, popular games like Candy Crush Saga give away free boosters and unlimited lives for the first few levels. And as the gamers become more proficient in the game, they’ll face harder challenges.
Other popular games leverage this design strategy by not only offering rewards on easy levels but also scheduling events that players eagerly anticipate. Events and promo codes have become widely popular, encouraging players to complete missions for exclusive rewards. For instance, in Mobile Legends, players can earn free exclusive character skins; in Roblox, free accessories for characters are up for grabs, and online casinos like Centurion offer free spins and other bonuses, as highlighted in trustworthy online casino reviews that prioritize both fun and safety. These “appointment mechanics” effectively engage gamers, enticing them to return regularly in anticipation of new gaming experiences.
Various studies reveal that these rewards, instant gratification, and events are beneficial because they boost the ego and stimulate the dopamine receptors of the players, which can create a sense of pride and satisfaction for mastering each level, leaving gamers craving challenges.
Graphics and sounds undoubtedly attract gamers to try and continue to play games. Mobile gaming has continuously integrated the latest in hardware technology to improve the visual appearance of their games. Vibrant colors and melodious sounds stimulate dopamine production in the brain for a heightened gaming experience. Mobile game developers have taken this fact to their advantage.
We can see this in any MOBA game where skill sounds and effects, battlegrounds, and maps are intricately designed. Any online casino games are also flashed with neon lights, and even Candy Crush Saga hooked us with their satisfying “Delicious” and “Divine!” sound effects.
What Should We Anticipate in the Mobile Gaming Industry?
The continuous popularity of mobile games has transcended the boundaries of traditional game genres and influenced many old favorites to resurface with a more polished and better performance.
League of Legends: Wildrift is the best model for this development. It was reported that the game generated US$1 billion in global player expenditure since its 2020 launch on the mobile platform. China is cited as the game’s dominant market, closely followed by Vietnam and Brazil. Despite its PC counterpart, what forced the success of the game on the mobile platform was its smooth adaptation to mobile without compromise.
The mobile version maintained the core gameplay but modified it with touch-based controls. Matches are condensed, and graphics and animations are optimized. This also extends the game for novices through simple tutorials, while revamped progression keeps seasoned players hooked.
We can see this success as a perfect specimen for more known and favorite old games to continue to resurface and embrace new platforms without losing their core and essence.