The Science Behind The Growth In Mobile Gaming Industry
Updated on August 21, 2023
Mobile gaming is fun. Who doesn't love these low-cost or sometimes free browser games? They are simple, enjoyable, free (at least initially), and excellent for fostering social interaction and bonding with family members.
Finding a granny and grandson team who were both glued to the same mobile game until a few years ago was quite unusual. This is not the situation anymore, as the gaming sector has seen a significant shift lately.
The mobile gaming industry has exploded, regardless of age or skill level, especially during the global pandemic. The days of console-only gaming or basic black-and-white visuals are long gone. Our smartphones now allow us to play free online games with rich and captivating graphics.
Gaming businesses are experts at hooking you in. They are aware of how to reward you appropriately, how to alter the game for particular players, and how to maximize player revenue.
Today's video games are purpose-built to be compulsive. In terms of social interaction, getaway, personal growth, and challenge, they fulfill so many of our elemental human needs. Nothing else in the world is as effective as gaming in achieving this.
Let's first study the background of mobile gaming's emergence before discussing the aspects that contributed to its enormous success.
History Behind the Emergence of Mobile Gaming
Without question, the gaming industry has grown enormously. How did it all start, though? Let's go back and probe the development of the vertical in more detail.
Games that Pioneered Mobile Gaming
1994 saw the debut of the very first mobile game. Tetris game online, a well-known arcade game, came preinstalled on the mobile smartphone Hagenuk MT-2000. Here, players clear lines by rearranging the differently shaped tetromino pieces that fall into the playing field. When a line gets completed, it vanishes, awarding the player points. The player then fills in the empty spots. Users got charmed by the simple, straightforward arcade game.
Experience Fusion Blocks, a contemporary twist on the timeless classic Tetris game, available exclusively on EpicPlay.Play Tetris Now
Snake, which debuted in 1997 for the Nokia 6110 device, was the second game to gain popularity. It is frequently confused for the first-ever mobile game. Snake's straightforward yet engaging nature has kept it favored for many years.
Interestingly, both Tetris and Snake are considered the first examples of a now widely popular genre known as "hyper-casual games".
The App Store Revolution
The app store was introduced following the 2007 release of the first iPhone, although, in 2008, it only had 500 apps.
When Angry Birds got introduced in 2009, it became the benchmark for mobile games for the next ten years.
The 2009 Swine Flu pandemic inspired the invention of the Angry Birds video game. Pigs were specified as the furious birds' "enemies" by the game's designers. More than 100 million people have downloaded Angry Birds since its first release, and the Angry Birds franchise has seen the release of two movies and some software versions.
It's fair to say that Angry Birds helped pave the way for a new era in mobile games in the 2010s. Thus, it presented the rise in popularity of simple-to-play online fun games.
Next, 2012 saw the debut of Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, two of the year's most well-liked games that captured the attention of millions.
Casual and hyper-casual games make up a sizable portion of current mobile gaming. However, the evolution of smartphone technology has led to the emergence of a wide range of mobile game genres, including free browser games and mobile video games.
The Explosive Growth of the Mobile Game Market
Today, more than 265 thousand games are exclusively available on the Apple App Store. Start-ups and indie developers were able to readily access this booming industry due to free distribution and the low cost of mobile app development.
Moreover, mobile phones are now more affordable and effective thanks to recent advancements in mobile technology. As a result, mobile devices' memory, processing capacity, and graphics quality all grew, enabling them to accommodate more challenging and fun games.
Although the success of a game largely depends on its flawless graphical design, fascinating plot, appealing animations, and engaging characters, there are multiple instances of simple, amateurish games that have gained the highest levels of popularity and revenue.
More factors contribute to the popularity of casual gaming. They are basic and straightforward to learn, so a variety of players may play them with greater ease. Moreover, they are excellent for quick breaks or downtime because they often take less time to play than more complicated games.
Budget-conscious gamers looking for mobile gaming will find casual games interesting because many are free to play or have modest prices. Social interaction is another feature of casual games that lets players compete or work together with friends and family.
Mobile Gaming: Monetization is the Key to Success
Monetization is one of the most influential factors in the roaring success of the gaming sector.
The majority of games in the app stores are free to play. Ads and in-app purchases are two typical practices that these apps use to earn revenue.
Most mobile developers and game creators support the common revenue strategy of in-game advertising. Growing in-app inventory gives marketers access to an extra digital channel, which allows them to diversify their advertising budgets.
Despite some game creators' possible reluctance to intervene with the user experience, in-game advertisements are growing in popularity among mobile gamers due to their enormous potential for revenue creation.
Users can spend real money on features and other products through in-app purchases. Often, this includes purchasing in-game currency, extra lives, or leveling up to another exciting level.
Going forward, mobile game developers must correctly monetize their apps to survive the increasing competition among video games in the App Stores.
In India, monetization has always been a concern for content businesses. And the story is not different for the gaming sector as well.
Despite the industry's tremendous consumer growth after the lockdown, IAPs, and game subscriptions, which are well-established revenue models in developed markets, have not taken off in India because the country has never had an effective console gaming culture.
A Huge Gaming Audience in India
Indian gamers weren't a common species even ten years ago, but that has changed. The nation jumped straight to mobile gaming, skipping a generation of games played on PCs and consoles that are common in developed economies.
According to analytics company Sensor Tower, India now has the largest market for mobile games worldwide in terms of app downloads.
Online casual gaming has become massively popular in India, where there were 450 million players at the end of FY22, and it is no longer just a lockdown phenomenon.
Since inexpensive mobile data has become more prevalent and is better affordable to more people, gaming has benefited enormously. The expansion of affordable mobile data has cut entry barriers for gamers and has had a huge positive impact on several industries, including gaming. Anyone who has even a basic smartphone can download a game app from the Google Play Store and join the rapidly growing mobile gaming community.
Further, the rise in ARPUs (Average Revenue Per User) has been among the pandemic's biggest advantages for the industry. At the moment, Indians are consuming video games at a record-breaking rate, and India has the highest rate of ARPU growth. But even with this expansion, still, Indian developers and publishers will need to come up with new effective monetization strategies.
Social Features Enhancing Gaming Experience
Mobile gaming is evolving more because of the in-game social features that provide more social experiences to gamers. Gamers get to know each other through in-game chat rooms and social media connections, which draw them more toward these games.
During the pandemic, people wanted social interaction, which brought in-game social features to the fore. Players have a place to engage with one another in-game "hangout rooms", where they might display new game-related advancements like weapons, equipment, or coins.
Due to their enormous popularity, the top 10 free online games of the year include at least one social element.
The Compulsive Nature of Mobile Games
Finally, the gameplay in these casual mobile games is extremely compulsive. These games may hold a gamer's attention for a very long time because of their fast-paced action and straightforward mechanics. They are perfect for players seeking a short gaming feed and those seeking an extended gaming session.
When we start playing our favorite engaging online arcade games, our brain releases a small amount of dopamine, which motivates us to keep playing. Games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and Pokémon GO have us hooked because of their compelling stories and compulsive gameplay.
Key Takeaways: The Future of Mobile Gaming
- Mobile games are becoming popular for many reasons, including the increased prevalence of smartphones and the demand for gaming content.
- India will keep expanding as one of the world's top markets for mobile gaming. As cellular network penetration improves and data rates fall, more people will use mobile internet.
- Since more than 1 million game apps are available in the app stores, developers must be savvy and take calculated risks to survive the intense competition.
- Meeting expectations in today's privacy era, developing new features based on current trends, and possibly even consolidating to improve resources are all part of these growing necessities.
- To stay competitive, mobile game developers must prioritize monetization, which often comes in the form of in-app ads and purchases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mobile games are popular due to their low cost or free availability, simplicity, enjoyment, and ability to foster social interaction and bonding with family members.
The first mobile game released was Tetris, which debuted in 1994, and later Snake debuted in 1997.
Angry Birds the simple casual mobile game was introduced in 2009.
Monetization through in-app ads and purchases has been a key factor in the roaring success of the mobile gaming sector.
India has the largest market for mobile gaming worldwide in terms of app downloads, and the expansion of affordable mobile data has significantly contributed to its growth.