One still remembers their first mobile gaming experience – playing Snake on a Nokia handheld phone more than a decade ago. Today’s mobile games have come a long way from dot-matrix displays and monotone sounds. With tech giants such as Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Nintendo (which has made a recent comeback with Pokemon Go) dominating the industry, mobile gaming is on a roll.
Pokemon Go Changed The Game
Two months ago, the worldwide launch of Pokemon Go created much hype due to its unique features that made hunting for Charizards, Pikachus and Dragonites an active and unique experience. Fans were delighted with the concept of physically walking around to catch Pokemon, collecting items and battling it out with other players. Although reports suggest that the initial frenzy surrounding the game has quietened down, Pokemon Go opened up new possibilities for the mobile gaming industry.
The success of Pokemon Go did not only put Nintendo back in the game but also inspired other companies to develop their gaming technology. Sony is one of the latest companies to push into mobile gaming. Sony’s CEO, Kaz Hirai has dubbed Pokemon Go a game-changer, whose success his company would like to replicate. Electronic Arts has also upped its game by introducing a FIFA Mobile gaming app last month. Even start-ups like Gurgaon-based Nova Gaming Ventures are looking to expand into the industry. In complementary industries, support service providers such as GOG, UPlay and Origin are enjoying the benefits of the mobile gaming boom.
Mobiles Vs PCs
Regarding market share, revenues from mobile gaming are expected to overtake those of consoles and PC games this year. Based on a report by Newzoo, mobile gaming will see around $36.9bn in revenues, representing 37% of the gaming market. On the other hand, consoles and PC games are expected to raise $29bn and $31.9bn respectively. Deloitte, in its TMT Predictions, has also estimated that by the end of 2016, approximately 1.75 billion mobile devices will be used to play mobile games.
A major contributor towards the recent rise of mobile gaming is the technology of augmented reality (AR), which integrates the digital world with the real environment.
AR applications in mobile phones typically utilise GPS and gesture recognition technologies. The growth rate of the mobile gaming industry is expected to increase as virtual reality (VR) gaming develops. Through VR, gamers can immerse themselves completely in a simulated world, and thus enjoy an experience like no other. According to Research and Markets, the global market for VR & AR will reach $105.2bn by 2020, with its gaming sub-market growing to $32bn. If the customer reception of VR is as expected, mobile gaming companies can take advantage of this technology to grow their revenues and market presence.
Facebook’s recent collaboration with Unity Technologies to develop a gaming platform is further bolstering the mobile gaming industry. App developers can offer their Android & iOS games through this platform, and games that require higher computing power can also be supported. By publishing games on Facebook, mobile game developers will have the opportunity of widening their market reach, to include those without smartphones. According to Unity, this will attract more mobile game developers into the industry.
There are many opinions as to whether mobile gaming will continue rolling or mellow down in the long run. But, with the industry players actively seeking innovation and expansion, mobile gaming will definitely something to watch in the next few years.