Mobile gaming accounts for more than half of all kinds of gaming. This figure is not surprising, especially when you consider its wide scope. There are games in almost all kinds of genres, for all target audiences, and for all demographics. But what are the most popular mobile gaming trends and how can future mobile games help continue – and even increase – this entertainment sector’s dominance?
Casual style gaming is the most popular subgenre of mobile – 71% enjoy playing titles of the genre. It is clear that most people want to engage with mobile due to time constraints and the ease of gameplay style. Games such as Fun Run, which allow you to play with friends, or Hole.io, which allows you to play for as little or as long as you want, are great examples of this subgenre and what it offers players. In fact, the earliest games for mobile phones – such as Snake – are examples of the enduring appeal of casual gaming.
Hyper casual gaming is likely to be the genre of gaming that we see growth in the next few years. This comes as industries such as online casino are increasingly providing mobile offerings which fit into this subgenre. Many of the online slots offered by SkyCity, for example, have been optimized for players to engage with on mobile browsers. These include Immortal Romance, Starburst, and Book of Dead, which remains some of the most popular online slots. Players being able to engage with these games in a casual way also helps explain why casual gaming is so popular – several short bursts of gameplay are possible, which means people can play for as long or as little as they like.
Another popular subgenre of mobile gaming is co-op or collaborative games – in addition to player vs player functionality. The Bunch app helps facilitate social gaming and allows people to find what their friends are playing. Games such as Pokémon Go wouldn’t have been as popular without the social element of knowing others are playing the same game and seeing the results of their efforts on the in-game world. Moreover, puzzle games such as Scrabble and Monopoly offer popular mobile gaming options due to the competitive nature of playing with others.
Social gaming takes the benefits of social media one step further by allowing us to actually be doing an activity as we socialize. Facebook, for instance, kicked off the trend nearly a decade ago with games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville, which encouraged us to play by ourselves while also interacting with our friends, who were also playing. Social gaming for mobile takes this further, and apps such as Houseparty allow additional functionality such as video calls to join the gaming elements.
Mobile gaming will no doubt go through many changes in the next years. Look at the surge in popularity for battle royale style gaming this time last year, which has now died down somewhat. Still, trends indicate that casual gaming and social gaming will prevail. The main reason for this is that they utilize the innate features of the smartphone, whereas other platforms aren’t able to easily offer this kind of gameplay. Casual gaming would probably make no sense on an expensive piece of equipment, while social gaming is easier with in-built contacts and easy links to social media platforms.