Why 2020 is a blockbuster year for mobile gaming
Having gone from strength to strength since its emergence into the mainstream last decade, the mobile gaming sector is on track to achieve a blockbuster year in 2020 that will see it beat PC and console gaming as the key driver of growth in the digital gaming sphere.
The sector has already been blowing up in popularity in many markets across the globe, but the first six months of 2020 have indicated that mobile is beginning to take a clear lead when it comes to shaping the gaming industry as a whole. By the end of the year, industry analysts have predicted the global mobile gaming market will increase its lead over console gaming by 3.1 times, and 2.8 times over the PC gaming sector.
Mobile gaming dominated in Q1
Since February 2020, mobile gaming has been the dominant sector, rising by 17% in the US alone during the last days of winter. Weekly app downloads hit all-time highs, reaching a massive 1.2 billion globally during the week ending 11th April. A total of 35% more games were downloaded all over the world in March 2020 than in January, with 70% of global consumer spend in the iOS and Android stores during Q1 going on mobile games (40% of which were downloads of games themselves).
This growth also saw a shift that suddenly put Apple’s App Store in a more dominant position. Typically, the Android market commands a greater share of consumer spending than iOS, but during Q1 consumers spent approximately 50% more on App Store games than on Google Play. Action and adventure games, hypercasual, puzzles and trivia apps, and simulation games were the most popular genres during Q1, with games that offer player vs. player and live multiplayer modes being the highest grossing, propelling PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Call of Duty to the top of the charts.
It was also good news for the business end of the sector, with the increased consumption of mobile gaming generating massive gains in ad revenue and click-through rates. Ad revenue generated by mobile apps displayed a 59% year-on-year increase in April when compared to 2019, with in-app purchasing revenue jumping to a record high in both March and April (an increase of 24%). Click Through Rates (CTR) for mobile gaming ads were also at an all-time high during the same period. Usually varying between 1 and 2% per month, April’s CTR spiked to 34%.
Why is mobile gaming so popular?
There are numerous factors driving the growth of mobile gaming right across the globe. Firstly, gaming variety is a key driver in the sector’s mass appeal. Unlike the console and PC markets, there’s a huge variety of free to download and free to play games available on mobile platforms, making it the ideal medium for mass game consumption. Major titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty are free to download and play in their mobile incarnations, and even the mobile version of an entertainment complex can be downloaded onto Android devices for free, leaving mobile gamers with a wide range of gaming options.
On the console and PC side of things, major titles still RRP at approximately US $60, and streaming sites like Steam, although providing better value for money, can still be out of some gamers’ budgets.
The affordability of mobile gaming as a sector also stretches to mobile hardware itself. Smartphone penetration is now at an all-time high, especially in the more developing markets like India and Africa, and this is a direct result of the mass production and availability of cost-effective smartphones and mobile devices that can still provide a high-quality gaming experience.
The development of 4G technology was also a massive game changer for mobile gaming, providing gamers with a reliable way to enjoy gaming on the go without being tied into expensive, long-term contracts or packages.
With more and more people spending increased amounts of time streaming and playing games on their mobile devices than traditional consoles, PCs and TVs, mobile really is leading the way when it comes to leisure and entertainment.
The editorial unit