A report by Facebook Gaming and Facebook IQ looking into gaming habits during 2020 came to some intriguing conclusions. The study investigated gaming activity and attitudes towards mobile gaming, not just limited to the Facebook platform. But what did the report discover – and what does it mean for mobile-based entertainment?
The report announced that those who played mobile games in the UK increased by 50% since early 2020 – which amounted to around 8.6 million new gamers. In the US, gamers increased by 28 million, or 28%. South Korea saw an increase of 9.4 new gamers (34%) and Germany 6.5 million new gamers (25% increase). The universal increase of new gamers (those who didn’t play before 2020 but have since played around one hour per week) shows that mobile gaming has grown in popularity tremendously.
The study identified an increase in mobile gaming in general. One of the main reasons for the increase in new gamers on mobile devices is that they already own the ‘console’ – their smartphone. The major barrier for gaming is that people who have never done it don’t want to invest in equipment to then not like it. But mobile gaming requires a simple app download, which can be instantly deleted if gaming isn’t for them.
The rise of a broader set of games – not just simple platform games or first-person shooters – such as puzzle games like Candy Crush Saga means that audiences not typically associated with gaming may also get involved. Older women, for example, make up a large portion of Facebook’s audience nowadays, so it makes sense that they may also begin to take up other aspects of the smartphone that they typically wouldn’t have done before.
Mobile entertainment across the board is finding innovative ways to appeal to customers. For example, as the list of best bingo sites shows, many sites flex their mobile credentials. They also focus on the benefits players could receive by choosing them – such as free spins and no deposit bonuses. This shows that there is a ripe audience who are yet to sign up to the site and an increase of those looking to play mobile forms of other entertainment.
Popular game Among Us, for example, saw its player count also soar in 2020 – with the majority of its 60 million daily active players in September alone playing via apps on iOS or Android. Unlike Minecraft and Fortnite, which were popular among certain demographics, Among Us is broad enough to appeal to a diverse set of gamers. This may be one of the ways in which new gamers are engaging and shows that by offering casual games that are easy to get into with varied gameplay, more people could be convinced to play on mobile.
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Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox cloud gaming platform in September 2020 also proves just how significant mobile engagement is. The software uses their huge data centres to help players engage with Xbox gameplay on other devices, such as PC and mobile. By offering console experiences on mobile devices, developers can compete for a slice of the growing mobile gaming pie. Mobile gaming represents more than half of all gaming revenue, so is influential. If players are using their phones to engage with Xbox gameplay rather than an app, Xbox may see this as a win.
Anecdotally, it is no surprise that there is such a rise in mobile gamers. But seeing statistics helps show just how prevalent the method of engaging with technology is. It’s perhaps less about the gaming aspect and more about how more people are seeking to find entertainment on the smartphone they have and pay for anyway.