‘ATWO AT121 Mobile Game Earphones’ – Aaron Yoo via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
There are numerous findings that confirm the suspicion that many industry experts had: Mobile gaming is the fastest growing sector of an already hugely popular market.
Mobile marketing specialists App Annie have found that mobile play was the most predominant sector of the gaming market in 2018, with 194 billion game downloads worldwide and a whopping $101 billion in consumer spending on mobile games and their related updates. The economics experts at MarketWatch confirm that the industry looks set to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, with demand for mobile gaming likely to increase for the next five years according to their research.
But what are the key trends and developments you can expect in 2019?
Mobile Gambling on the Rise
As you may be aware, 2018 was a big year for the gambling industry in the USA.
The Supreme Court overturned decades-old legislation that prevented sports betting in nearly all states, and made the choice available to each state-level attorney to legalize the activity if they wished.
Many immediately took the decision to lift the ban, and now sports betting is available in properties such as casinos and racetracks, and online, in a number of states.
Indeed, according to Statista, the online gambling industry in the US will be worth some $59 billion by 2020 – a growth of around $20 billion in just five years. So, we can expect more online casino platforms to emerge, and as a consequence, players should be able to expect a richer user experience as a result as competition grows fiercer. Also, tech updates will help to enhance the live casino product, where real-world dealers hand out the cards and spin the roulette wheel. At some point in 2019, 5G wireless will become prevalent, which will enhance streaming speeds and the delivery of HD visuals.
Where there is demand for mobile gaming, there has to be a mirroring supply, and the low barriers to entry for software developers in this space – as opposed to those developing titles for games consoles – offer significant advantages.
Mobile games are quicker to make and easier to get in front of a captive audience thanks to the proliferation of app stores – that helps firms to keep their games affordable. There are no costs to distributing physical products, and advertising costs tend to be lower as word-of-mouth promotion of multiplayer games, in particular, does the job for them.
Expect those incredible mobile gaming stats to be replicated this year and beyond.
A Battle Royale
One of the mobile gaming behemoths of 2018 was Fortnite. The multiplayer shoot-em-up earned a staggering $2.4 billion last year, and that helps to explain the proliferation of ‘community gaming’, where groups of friends can compete with one another from their devices.
There were precursors, such as PUBG, and even family-friendly content such as Pokemon Go introduced a ‘fight’ element to tap into the growing battle royale style of gaming.
Many experts believe that community gaming is the future, with groups of people able to interact with their mobile devices and enjoy an immersive experience with one another. Whether battling friends and family or playing cooperatively, battle-based gaming is very much here to stay.
It is likely that this trend for multiplayer gaming will continue in 2019, with some big name releases such as Elder Scrolls: Blades, Diablo Immortal and Harry Power Wizards Unite looking to take the Fortnite baton and run with it.
And that’s before we even mention the likely stampede to download Call of Duty: Mobile, which is slated for release in the summer. This first-person shooter happens to be one of the most revered multiplayer games around, with ‘deathmatch’ and ‘capture the flag’ style game modes ever popular.
AR Set to Find a Home
It’s early days for augmented reality, and software developers are still working on ways to implement AR to its very best in mobile gaming.
The possibilities are extremely exciting, both from a graphical perspective and in producing immersive content that narrows the gap to console gaming yet further.
One of the most significant examples of augmented reality gaming in action was Pokemon Go. Remember when gamers were spotted trawling the streets looking to ‘capture’ Pokemon with their smartphones?
‘Pokeball’ – Shannon via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
That was ground zero for AR gaming, and you can expect that adventure-based theme to be taken to the next level in 2019.
Also, AR can be used to digitally change your surroundings. In years to come, you can expect to be at the gym, pounding away on the treadmill, and be able to choose your virtual surroundings. From the peaceful countryside to a secluded beach, physical activity looks set to become digital.
And that theme could well be replicated in mobile gaming in the future. Imagine playing sports in the biggest stadiums in the world, or tackling your fellow Fortnite players in an immersive, AR-led environment.
We are on the cusp of an augmented reality revolution, and 2019 could well be the year where that bears fruit.