There’s long been talk of mobile gaming overtaking console gaming but, according to a report by market research firm Newzoo, that day could finally arrive in 2015. The report estimates that mobile games revenue will reach $30.3 billion next year, an increase of over $5 billion from the $25 billion revenue in 2014. And by 2017, it’s anticipated that mobile gaming revenue will surpass $40 billion.
The figures aren’t that surprising when you stop to look around you in almost any public place. People are almost always on their phones, and they’re not all chatting, using their phone for its original purpose. According to a report by the Entertainment Software Association report earlier this year, 44% of gamers now play on their smartphone rather than any other device. The types of mobile games that are played vary. In the same ESA report, the games played most often on a mobile were listed as follows: casual and social games (46%), puzzle, board games, game show, trivia and card games (31%), action, sports, strategy and role play games (11%) and persistent multi-player universe games (4%).
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The ESA report suggests that the number of female gamers aged over 50 has increased by 32% from 2012 to 2013, and, without generalising too much, it’s unlikely that this particular group will be playing action or shooter games on a console. They’re far more likely to be playing casual social games or games of bingo on their mobiles. One of the biggest attractions of playing games on a mobile is that you can just jump in and get playing without having to read any rules of ‘how to play’. Click here to play at 32red and you’ll see that bingo is a great example of a game that people can play instantly, without having to learn how to play.
Newzoo’s revised forecast for this year is 42% higher than mobile game revenues achieved in 2013. The Amsterdam-based company predicts that the market in Western Europe will grow by 47%, while the North American market will grow 51 % year on year. The biggest increase in mobile games revenue will be in the South East Asia and China market, where it is predicted to rise by 86%.
It’s also anticipated that Apple will produce double the games revenue to Nintendo this year. Nintendo revenues were $2.4 billion in 2013, but the revenue this year is anticipated to be smaller. Meanwhile Apple is forecast to have games revenues of $4 billion from the games in its iTunes App Store this year, while Google’s annual revenue is likely to be £3 billion for 2014.
When the report was issued, the CEO of Newzoo indicated that in the western markets, where mobile gaming is already mature, the battle for dominance between iOS and Android is no longer over the smartphone, it’s more about tablets. While iOS stays ahead of Android overall in mobile gaming spending because of the iPad, the Android market is more fragmented across different devices and operating systems.
Newzoo acknowleged that its report may seem contrary to recent sentiment that the mobile gaming market is becoming saturated in mature western markets such as the USA. However, according to the Newzoo analysis it seems that the increase in mobile revenue growth is dependent on both organic growth but also cannibalistic growth – where mobile increases at the cost of other markets, such as consoles, handheld consoles and online gaming. Instead of spending on online pc games or console games, people are choosing to spend more on their mobile gaming.