Strong and Steady Growth: Why Mobile Games are Here to Stay

When it comes to media attention, the triple-A games industry gets all the buzz.

In the last few weeks, for example, you’ve probably seen countless headlines about FromSoftware’s latest release, Elden Ring. At the same time, smaller indie or mobile games rarely get a mention in the mainstream press.

On the one hand, this is just a reflection of how, in only a couple of decades, the landscape of gaming has entirely changed. Games have grown from being a relatively niche interest to potentially being the most valuable corner of the entertainment market. From that perspective, it’s easy to make the argument that mainstream news outlets are just failing to keep up with the popularity of gaming as a whole.

That being said, the business model of mobile gaming is distinctly different from the triple-A market, relying far less on media hype and a lot more on regular, sustained output. Mobile games have a lower budget and a much smaller production time. As a result, they only need to reach a small percentage of the target audience to be considered successful.

Mobile casinos are changing the market

The mobile market is as broad and varied as any other in today’s games industry. You have RPGs, sports games, simulators and a new take on an old pastime – casinos.

The world of internet gambling has been around for years now, but it’s really found its home in the mobile space. You only need to take a look at online casino sites in West Virginia to see that the market is distinctly shifting from traditional brick-and-mortar casinos to online venues.

There are, of course, a number of reasons for this move, but the most significant mirror a wider cultural shift towards portability and convenience. In short, mobile apps allow people access to services at any time and from wherever they are. This is perfect for casinos because it allows customers to use their services from the comfort of their own homes.

How Covid-19 changed mobile gaming

During the pandemic, as people were spending more time at home, the entire games industry saw considerable growth. Now, it’s worth noting that not all branches of gaming managed to retain their growth, but mobile games certainly did.

While there are various theories as to why and how Covid-19 changed the way in which we interact with technology, when it comes to gaming, the answer is relatively straightforward. The pandemic gave a lot of people long periods of free time, that free time led to people trying out and taking up new hobbies, and many have kept those hobbies as we’ve moved into a post-pandemic world.

But what does this mean for the future of mobile gaming?

What’s next for mobile games?

In an industry as sprawling and diverse as this, it can be hard to make any solid predictions about the future, but if there’s one trend we can likely predict, then it’s variety. As gaming has grown, and access to game development tools has increased, more and more new generations of developers have been able to bring their unique, creative visions to life. Over time, this has vastly expanded what we think of when we consider games, and there’s no reason to expect this phenomenon to end any time soon.

Alternatively, many have argued that although mobile games generate a profit, they are rampant with cheap, ad-driven content that is pushed out quickly with little thought to quality.

While some of these products certainly do exist, this kind of argument fails to account for the natural curiosity of consumers. Put simply, people will only play the same kinds of games for so long. Consumers will gravitate towards a product they enjoy, and there are distinct advantages to the mobile medium – such as portability and the ability to easily connect to a variety of other devices – that developers won’t find in PC or console gaming.

It’s also worth saying that the perceived “casual” nature of mobile games has an important effect on how most consumers view them. Right now, mobile games are often seen as a quick pastime rather than something to get really stuck into.

Although there’s nothing wrong with casual pastimes, applying this perspective to all mobile games leads to a seriously underestimation of  the potential of what can be done in this sector.

As long as we continue to expect that mobile games will never surprise us, we will continue to be caught off-guard by the imagination and effort that developers are putting into their mobile games.

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