With 2021 coming to an end, it’s a good time to gaze into our crystal ball and look at what might be coming in 2022. For mobile gaming, the year promises to be a significant one.
The growth in mobile gaming has accelerated rapidly over the last two years. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than 2.6 billion mobile gamers around the world at present. Mobile games are dominating app store revenue. This is a trend that is likely to continue into 2022 as mobile gaming rises to the level of PC and console gaming.
While people have used mobile phones from the beginning to play games, it has only been in the last few years that technology has advanced enough to allow mobile gaming to match other formats.
This gaming trend is part of an overall shift to mobile that has been taking place across the world for many years. For the majority of people in developing nations, their first encounter with the internet is through a mobile device. Now gaming has become essential to that development.
The trend has been noticeable across all forms of gaming. For example, the world of casino gaming has also shifted increasingly to mobile and Skycity is just one of many online casinos that have developed mobile-friendly gaming apps and mobile-adapted sites.
AAA gaming via mobile
In 2022, we can expect significant increases in the number of AAA games produced for mobile, thanks to the aftereffects of the success of Genshin Impact. This game, which came out in 2020, earned an astonishing $150m in its first month.
What was most notable about the game was the standout graphics and the open-world gameplay. The gaming experience was easily comparable to that which can be achieved on a PC or console, featuring the highest level of single player mechanics. Other AAA mobile games will surely follow and 2022 could see a range of exciting releases.
Hyper-casual gaming dominance
Hyper-casual games are likely to expand their reach further in 2022. During 2020, hyper-casual gaming increased massively as people sought games that were simple and relaxing during what were undoubtedly difficult times around the world.
Puzzle games evolving
Puzzle games are one of the most popular types of mobile game. With the market now full of Candy Crush-like matching symbol games, developers are making their puzzle games more sophisticated, a trend that is likely to evolve in fascinating ways in 2022.
We have already seen games such as Homescapes, Clockmaker, Gardenscapes and Project Makeover add additional meta-layers to the core gameplay of their puzzle games, with storytelling layers bringing more depth of the gaming experience. This is also a good way for developers to attract a more diverse audience who may be drawn to any of the many layers; so we can expect more of this in 2022.
Growth of social mobile gaming
Gaming communities have long been the backbone of the gaming world. But traditionally, mobile games have always been behind PC and console platforms when it comes to giving players a way to connect and interact with one another.
This has been an obvious area for improvement in mobile gaming. Over the last year or so, we have seen the beginnings of an increasing emphasis on the social elements of mobile gaming, spurred on by the experience of lock downs and other restrictions.
Popular social features include the use of in-game chat, co-op modes, PvP modes, social media connections and guilds. This is also driven by evidence from a Facebook survey which showed that nearly 40% of new gamers in the US market have said they prefer chatting while gaming, compared to a figure of less than 30% for existing gamers.
Games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Roblox already have strong social elements and that trend is sure to develop throughout 2022.
The future is mobile
The trends outlined above reflect the wider way in which technology tends to develop towards ever smaller physical forms of the same tech. Early mobile gaming may have been primitive compared to what was available on PCs and consoles at that time, but it has rapidly caught up. In 2022, we can expect mobile gaming to be at the forefront of new titles, gaming experiences and exciting gaming technology.