The mobile game sector is growing rapidly. Smartphone prices have dropped, and mobile gaming is now the most popular gaming genre, surpassing PC and console gaming. As a result, the market for mobile gaming is expected to reach a projected size of $139.5 billion by 2026, rising at a CAGR of 12.3%, up from the previous projection of $94.8 billion in 2022 (all the way to the top from $52.7 billion in 2018). Compared to other markets like PCs or even consoles, mobile games have made up the largest percentage of sales in the last few years.
This article below will look at the mobile gaming market in greater detail and analyze its past and current situation.
History of Mobile Gaming
Was this growth always the same? The short response is no. It all began in 1997 with Nokia’s wildly popular game, Snake, a built-in phone feature. As a result, users didn’t need to download or do any searches. Nowadays, putting your hands on a smartphone game involves:
- Searching for it online.
- Browsing through categories.
- Occasionally paying for it before installing it to your device.
Mobile Gaming Commercialised-1999
Via NTT DoCoMo’s I-mode platform, Japan became the first country to commercialize mobile gaming in 1999. After that, when cell phones became more widely available, this extended to Asia, Europe, North America, and finally, the rest of the world.
Rise of Mobile Gaming-Early 2000s
Games improved as smartphones did. One of the early showcase of this progression was made by Namco, a game developer, who, in 2003, used the camera on mobile devices for a fighting game. Users may use the camera to build a character, give it speed and power, and then email the image to others’ phones to start a combat. The same year, Panasonic also launched a game that made use of the camera and featured a virtual animal that could be fed by pictures of food.
Games also advanced along with technology. A technical standard called Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) was created to make it possible for mobile devices to link to the web. As a result, simple multiplayer board games, including tic-tac-toe and Connect 4, were viable and enjoyable even though players didn’t benefit from them when they browsed the internet or played complicated games.
One of the video games that became popular in the 2000s was Alien Fish Trade. It was simple to join since you could breed alien fish. But, you could trade & sell fish using WAP technology to other players or, in the worst-case scenario, the in-game restaurants.
But in 2001, mobile gaming had a watershed moment when the hugely well-liked arcade game Space Invaders was made available for handheld devices. Despite being in monochrome, the enjoyment persisted. Within two years, color mobile phones began to emerge. As technology advanced, major publishers like EA began investing in mobile games. Gameloft’s Asphalt GT was one of the most popular releases of 2004. In that year, more motorsport games were developed, making them one of the most popular game genres for mobile devices.
The launch of iPhone-2007
When Apple introduced its touchscreen iPhone in 2007, the mobile gaming industry saw its next major upheaval. With the introduction of its AppStore in 2008, developers now have a place to offer their games to clients without paying cell operators or publishers a commission. Beyond just games, the iPhone and App Store forced most other smartphone makers to give up on their initiatives to create a more complex smartphone ecosystem, including BlackBerry and Symbian. Although BlackBerry tried to launch its app store, it was not as successful as Apple’s.
The Android-based handsets (built using the Java language), utilizing the operating system that Google originally developed, and Windows Phone by Microsoft, were the only two significant rivals left following the release of the iPhone. Both adopted Apple’s strategy and launched app shops on Google Play and the Windows Phone Store, respectively. Microsoft eventually stopped actively developing Windows Phone, leaving Android and iOS as the top competitors for mobile operating systems and app stores.
Mobile Gaming in the 2010s
Games like Farmville became more popular with the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook; by February 2010, there were more than 80 million active users. Next, King made Candy Crush Saga available in October 2012, which saw immense popularity.
Clash of Clans was the next game that saw significant growth in popularity. In-app purchases comparable to those in Candy Crush Saga were still available, but it also greatly emphasized social interaction like MMOs. By September 2014, the app was making $5.15 million every day. In addition, several players claimed to have played the game for thousands of hours since it first came out, which they attributed to its multiplayer features. At this time, casual video games like Flappy Bird & Crossy Road were also very popular.
Yet, in 2016, a fresh innovation called augmented reality (AR) altered gaming even more. Games, including Temple Run & Subway Surfers, incorporated technology basics to give their games an extra dimension. Then Niantic released Ingress, a science fiction game that uses the GPS on a mobile device to find and interact with “portals” that are close to the player’s actual location.
Nevertheless, as Niantic built on what Ingress had taught them, Pokémon Go was where augmented reality and its geo-location notion hit gold. It’s difficult to express the explosive popularity that Pokémon Go attained. Suddenly, you could see everyone around you frantically swiping on their phone to capture a Lapras or Dratini that was only available on their screen.
Mobile Gaming Now
Since 2020, there has been an increase in the general acceptability of gaming. As a result, nine out of ten gamers devote their time to mobile gaming, which accounts for a staggering 70% of app store revenue, making 2022 a year of explosive increase for the sector. By the end of the year, there will be 3.07 billion mobile gamers worldwide, according to the present state of gameplay and user experience, which indicates how quickly technology is developing.
Cross-platform play has emerged as a key buzzword for mobile games in recent years. When Fortnite first debuted, it was only available on consoles and the Computer. However, it quickly expanded to other platforms, including mobile ones. This led to the discovery that many of their players were young children using smartphones. In addition, several people loved Genshin Impact and other similar games. Last but not least, as the pandemic spread, multiplayer mobile games like Among Us saw a sharp rise in player numbers as a populace that had been shut up turned to games as a method to communicate with friends and socialize.
What lies in the future of Mobile Gaming?
2023 and beyond appear to have a promising future for mobile gaming. We can anticipate more cutting-edge and immersive video games on mobile devices with adoption of web3 protocols, and wide use of 5G technology. There is something for everyone in the thrilling mobile gaming world, whether you enjoy deck-building battle videogames like No Surrender Heroes or more conventional mobile games.
The previous nearly two decades have seen a tremendous expansion in the mobile gaming sector. However, with games like Snake, we’ve come a long way, and it looks like the mobile gaming market will continue to grow.