If you’ve ever indulged in an afternoon of people watching, you’ve probably been struck by the number of heads buried in mobiles – on buses, in parks, cafes and anywhere else on the go. Smartphones have revolutionized how we live our lives and our gaming habits are no exception: the past five years have seen a profound shift to mobile.
The explosion of mobile gaming is nothing short of staggering. Any number of bare statistics illustrate the point, but here are some for starters: a growth in revenue from $25 billion to $46.2 billion between 2014 and 2017 and a rise in mobile gamers in the US alone from 148 million in 2014 to 203 million in 2018. Perhaps most tellingly, 152,180 new titles were launched on mobile app stores in 2017, compared to 3400 on PC and 520 on consoles.
Mobile is now the top platform with tablet a distant second and PC/consoles way behind in third. Two key factors have driven its ascendancy: sheer accessibility combined with an increase in the quality and range of mobile products out there. These days most of us are continually connected online through wifi and data packages, and many mobile games are free, so the opportunity is almost always at hand. Mobile gamers play for an average of 2.7 hours a week and 56% of them play 10 or more times a week.
Titles like Angry Birds, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush have become global phenomena, but a multitude of games have arrived in their slipstream, bringing a superabundance of choice to appeal to any and every taste. This has opened up gaming’s appeal beyond its traditional base and reshaped the demographics of committed gamers with female players now outnumbering males on mobile (a split of around 63%-37%) and a growing proportion of over 50s using mobile games on a regular basis.
Mobile’s user-friendly touchscreen interface is ideal for casino-based apps and this area of gaming has mushroomed in recent years. From virtual roulette wheels to multi-player poker and in-play betting, the range of products on offer serves every gambling preference. There are plenty of free options, including online slots which allow you gamble responsibly with risk-free spins.
Poker is one of the games at the forefront of mobile’s next big leap: the development of virtual and augmented reality. Online platforms are launching live virtual poker using headsets for a totally immersive experience. Other gaming providers are likely to follow suit as app technology becomes ever more advanced. The ongoing rise in multi-player mobile gaming is also providing a new platform for social connectivity as an alternative to traditional titans like Facebook and Twitter.
As more and more people embrace mobile as their primary (and often only) gaming platform, its dominance will strengthen for the foreseeable future. Over 2.1 billion people currently play mobile games worldwide and the figure expected to surge to 2.7 billion by 2020. People watching may be a pastime in decline, but mobile gaming is only going to get bigger and better.