According to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting, software spend across all gaming platforms (mobile, PC and console) and regions reached $116 Billion in 2017, with mobile accounting for $46 billion. This is expected to exceed $60 billion by 2022, with China anticipated to drive growth and account for almost a fifth of global mobile gaming revenue. Emerging markets are continuing to demonstrate the highest growth over the forecast period, albeit from a lower base, due to increasing penetration of high-end smartphones, rising affluence and the increasing instances of payments being linked to mobile accounts. Many are also receptive to Western content, allowing for low risk game launches.
"China and India are markets with untapped potential. India's mobile gaming market is expected to grow rapidly with the population coming online thanks in part to the rapid development of the mobile broadband infrastructure" commented Tristan Veale, Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Although increasing, the relative lack of a payment systems linked to a mobile account is hindering the mobile gaming in emerging countries from taking off."
India, Latin America and South East Asia (SEA) are all predicted to help drive the next surge of mobile gaming growth. However, comparative to developed countries, the average revenue per user (ARPU) is low.
"The Japanese market demonstrates the highest ARPU worldwide, with over $50 spent per year on games on their smartphones and this is expected to continue to rise. Comparatively, the Indian market is currently averaging slightly over $2 spend per year, although with excellent potential for this to grow," adds Veale.
In emerging markets such as India and South East Asia, Futuresource highlights the opportunity of a 'mobile first market' - an important stage to consider in the consumer gaming adoption process. With mobile typically the first step for emerging market consumers to take into the experiential world of gaming, they are likely to become aware that there are higher quality gaming experiences available and more investment will be made to achieve this. This could occur firstly through becoming High Value Users (HVUs) on mobile, followed by progression on to console or PC gaming, as the consumer matures and desires a higher-end gaming experience. Excellent news for major games publishers.
The barriers to create and publish mobile games has been reduced in recent years. However, user acquisition is becoming more difficult in developed nations and subsequently, well-developed and well-funded games from major publishers tend to dominate the top selling charts for years. Despite the growing dominance of conglomerates, there also remains a thriving independent rights holding developer and publishing community; with the availability of universal game engines, this creates opportunities to create games that are notable enough for independent developers to be acquired by a major publisher.
In terms of gaming and entertainment, the lines are also starting to blur slightly. Entertainment companies are taking the opportunity to gamify their Intellectual Property (IP). There are examples of key movie franchises offering titles that allow you to enter the fantasy world. This isn't limited to IP derived from family films and cartoons, although they do feature heavily, but a wide spectrum of content as varied as reality TV shows. With mobile gaming a thriving market and entertainment companies looking for ways to further monetise the interest and excitement generated by its content, expect to see this feature heavily over the coming years.
There has also been acknowledgement of the growing significance of mobile gaming, with Mobile World Congress announcing the debut of the 'Mobile Gaming Award', a first for 2018.
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