With technological advances, mobile games have become increasingly sophisticated, taking advantage of improvements in display, processing, storage, interfaces, network bandwidth and operating system functionality.
The connected world of the Internet gives us the freedom and the ability to play games at a moment’s notice. Now we have smartphones which are coming with increased RAM and more memory.
According to App Annie, mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2016 and mobile game spending was over 25% higher than PC/Mac gaming.
Games represented over 80% of total worldwide consumer spend for combined iOS App Store and Google Play last year while accounting for roughly 35% of total worldwide downloads.
Games made up a larger share of Google Play’s consumer spending compared to iOS. However, in terms of amount spent on games, consumers spent more on iOS than Google Play.
There are numerous new solutions coming to market that offers developers and publishing houses a diverse selection of monetization models which combine in-app purchases with other methods.
Mobile data firm App Annie has released its annual list of the top 52 revenue generating apps publishers on the iOS and Google Play stores which include both games and other apps such as Spotify. Tencent was the highest earning mobile games publisher in the world during 2016 and it climbed up to top spot, having been ranked sixth in 2015.
Rise of Asia in mobile gaming
This year’s rankings were dominated by Asia-Pacific publishers with 30 companies out of the 52 on the list based in the region.
Rapid growth in a few key markets, most notably China and Japan has helped fuel mobile gaming’s ascent and over 60% of mobile game spending in 2016 occurred in Asia-Pacific.
Pokémon GO, primarily developed and published by Niantic and The Pokémon Company became the world’s first smash hit augmented reality (AR) game. It also had the highest monthly active user base of any mobile game in every month in the second half of 2016, peaking at over 300 million active Android and iOS users in August. The game was the third-highest grossing mobile game for all of 2016, with over $950 million in total consumer spending despite only being out for a second half of the year.
Recently, Super Mario Run developed by Nintendo in partnership with DeNA and released for iOS on December 15, generated about 80 million downloads in its first seven weeks of availability. The game’s conversion rate to paying customers was over 5% according to Nintendo, which is impressive given its large user base and premium price point (roughly $10).
Ruling the roost
Both Nintendo and Sony enjoyed a top five grossing title on iOS and/or Android platforms, a clear shift in focus for the traditional handheld game console leaders – and implying both companies will be a force to be reckoned with in mobile gaming in 2017 and beyond.The mobile games market has started to mature and now more closely resembles traditional games publishing, requiring ever higher production values and marketing
The mobile games market has started to mature and now more closely resembles traditional games publishing, requiring ever higher production values and marketing spend. Last year, mobile gaming was driven by blockbuster hits like Pokémon Go and Clash Royale and it’ll be interesting to see which games rule the market this year.