How Smartphone Gaming Became a $79 Billion Industry and What the Future Holds
Smartphones are commonplace in this day and age. People use them to connect with others, plan their days, and, of course, to game. There are billions of mobile players worldwide with a report by Statista revealing that smartphone games will earn around $79 billion this year. That’s a big leap from console gaming revenue, forecasted at around $49 billion. That said, the mobile gaming industry wasn’t always this huge. It started way back in the 1990s, when games like Space Invaders and Snake came pre-installed in old phones. At this time, phone users had no way of downloading new games. And they didn’t need to since portable gaming consoles, such as the Game Boy, were available.
However, this changed in 2008. Apple and Google released their first touchscreen smartphones, along with their respective application stores. Game developers took advantage of this new gaming platform, creating popular titles like Angry Birds and Candy Crush. And as the smartphone grew more technologically advanced, so did its games. Thus began the age of mobile gaming.
Why Is It So Popular?
There are a couple of reasons why smartphone gaming is as big as it is now. For one, it’s accessible. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone, so it’s easy to find a game from an application store. The same can’t be said for PlayStation or Xbox consoles.
Additionally, the smartphone is constantly evolving, allowing for more robust features and, subsequently, bigger games. For instance, you can now play massive multiplayer games on mobile. A few years ago, you’d probably only find games of that caliber on larger consoles. Finally, there’s the social aspect of mobile gaming. Because smartphones are so accessible, it’s easier for users to play together.
Take Genshin Impact as an example. The mobile RPG allows players to team up with friends and explore a massive open world, fighting monsters and leveling up along the way. The game was well-received by mobile gamers. In fact, it was so popular that it accrued $60 million in its first week. Now, six months after its launch, the game has earned more than $1 billion solely from mobile player spending.
However, RPG games aren’t the only reason why the industry is thriving. Online casino apps have played a huge part in making smartphone gaming popular, due to the increased accessibility. You can easily play online poker with your friends on apps like PokerStars Home Games. It allows players to start a private poker club where they can compete against their friends. The game even lets poker club managers arrange private cash games, where competitors play tournament-style for a monetary prize. PokerStars Home Games was also well-received in the mobile gaming community, and it’s clear in the app’s revenue. Regional statistics show that Pennsylvania PokerStars players contributed more than $35.8 million in 2020. Meanwhile, PokerStars Michigan is expecting to earn about $2.3 million a month this year. Those are huge earnings from a niche gaming category.
These only scratch the surface of mobile gaming, which goes to show how far the industry has come.
The Future of Mobile Gaming
Considering its current progress, one can expect the mobile gaming industry to grow exponentially over the following years. A recent study on Statista also forecasted that the revenue for mobile games will surpass $1 billion come 2030. This is due to factors such as advancements in smartphone technology and growing smartphone usage.
Of course, the smartphone’s continued development does not only benefit the gaming industry. It also contributes to streaming applications, like Netflix and Disney+, allowing for a more comfortable viewing experience. This also applies to reading applications that allow users to view comics and novels. And as mobile applications continue to innovate and improve, more people will be drawn to them.