Editorial

7 Things we learnt about Mobile Games Industry in 2021

Things have become bigger than ever!

Mobile gaming in the last few years has been taking huge steps in the gaming world to make it into the mainstream gaming community, along with PC and consoles. 2021 has been a huge year for mobile gaming, with several notable events throughout the year, which have highlighted the industry as a whole. This increase in popularity of mobile games is owed largely to the fact that mobile phones are much more accessible and affordable than good gaming PCs, which require a lot of investment to run. They are easier to operate and thus are much more appealing to gamers who are looking to kill time without burning their pocket for it. Here, we’ll take a look at the top 7 things that we learned and noticed about the mobile games industry in 2021.

Lessons from the Mobile Games Industry in 2021

1. Dedicated playerbase for the games with the will to step in

For the first anniversary of their hugely successful and fan-favorite game Genshin Impact, miHoYo had given away what were supposed to be “special presents” to the players. These players were part of the game’s amazing journey, through a year, making it a success. But the fans were utterly disappointed when the game offered them paltry rewards, instead of the promised great rewards.

The fans left their thoughts and reviews, hoping to catch the attention of the Chinese developers. They were hoping to get some compensation which went deaf ears. The fans, outraged, bombarded the game’s Play Store reviews with negative remarks, which ultimately led the game to drop down as far as a 1-star rating.

Genshin impact rating down, Genshin Impact 1st anniversary, genshin impact wallpaper
Image via miHoYo

The fans being vocal about being “exploited” finally drew the attention of the developers who responded with compensations and extended anniversary content for the players. This shows us that the community is not to be taken lightly. They are very much capable of making their demands be taken into account.

2. AAA PC and Console game developers realising the potential of mobile

This year, a lot of AAA PC and Console game developers have released and announced mobile versions of their popular games. Apex Legends Mobile and Rocket League: Sideswipe were among the games which players got to try out.

Other than them, some games like Valorant Mobile, Tom Clancy’s The Division Mobile are among the others which have been announced with their release coming soon in the future. Even Sony has expressed its interest in entering the mobile gaming industry with some mobile ports of their major AAA titles.

3. The stellar rise of mobile esports worldwide

If someone had even stated 2 years ago that mobile Esports will soon be competing with PC Esports, both in terms of popularity and money involved, it would’ve been highly unbelievable. But as of recent times, mobile esports has not only caught up to the PC games, but they’ve also surpassed many as they keep growing.

Wild Rift esports ecosystem foundation, Wild Rift SEA Championship 2021, Mobile Gaming Industry 2021
Wild Rift as an Independent Esports ecosystem foundation (Image by Riot Games)

Spearheading this revolution is none other than PUBG Mobile. It comes with a combined prize pool of some $20 million. This is even excluding the Chinese ecosystem, which adds roughly to another $10 million, followed by Arena of Valor. In terms of views, MLBB and Free Fire are the ones who are leading the pack. It must be mentioned that mobile esports has been included in the 2022 Asian Games held in China. This is a major milestone for the entirety of esports.

4. Unknown developers making it big with the correct vision

Chinese developers miHoYo are a prime example of such a group of developers. They released Genshin Impact as their first-ever open-world game which was only their second major release. Since then, it has only been an upward path for them, except for a little disagreement with the fans over the game anniversary.

Genshin Impact has consistently been in the top most ranks in every list involving mobile games this year, including popularity, revenue, and downloads. It is certainly great to see a company founded by three students as a hobby now in an even playing field with the corporate giants. Another example can be drawn from Innersloth, known for developing the lockdown sensation Among Us.

5. Mobile gaming: One of the most profitable investment sectors in media and entertainment

The value of mobile gaming has been increasing exponentially over the last few years. Even with this year, we see more than a few mobile games cross the golden one billion dollar market, based on revenue alone. PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings have been tied for the first place with a whopping $2.8 billion in revenue.

Top mobile game in terms of worldwide revenue in 2021 (Image via SensorTower), Mobile Gaming Industry 2021
Top mobile game in terms of worldwide revenue in 2021 (Image via SensorTower)

This is without collaborations and Esports endorsements. It clearly shows how much the industry has grown with ample reason for the bigger companies to come in. This is already happening as major giants like Riot Games, Sony, Activision, etc. are making their moves to grab the sales in the ongoing market.

6. Mobile gaming is more popular than ever

Statistically, mobile gaming has accounted for 51% of the revenue of the global game, compared to 25% on PC and 24% on consoles. The number of mobile gamers worldwide varies from about 1.8 to 2.8 billion across various statistics. This means that about 3 out of every 10 people play mobile games. Mobile games also account for gaining the most money in mobile app-based sectors. This has also paved the way for the games to be used as social awareness apps, such as educational puzzle-based or questionnaire-based games.

fear of missing out, mobile gaming, best mobile coop games

According to SensorTower, games have accounted for a majority of 66% of revenue in the App Store. Following the current graph, there are supposed to be some 3 billion mobile gamers worldwide by 2023. This is nearly half of the world’s total population, which clearly shows us the popularity of the industry as a whole.

7. Emergence of mobile gaming industry as a viable profession

The mobile gaming industry has emerged as a stable source of income for various types of work ranging from a software developer, a game designer. This can range up to being a professional esports athlete or a content creator. The popularity of the platform has made it possible for a very large number of people to do what they love and to earn from it.

Tencent, for example, employs nearly 90,000 people worldwide. This is a source of hope, given how many independent developers are there. There is money involved if the open/regional betas of each game which work out. It is definitely a good source of income. With the flourishment of the esports scene and the general industry, there has been birth to mobile gaming journalism and content creation. This also offers another alternative way of income.

Final Thoughts

As we look back into the year 2021, it was indeed a big year for the mobile games industry. Apart from super hit titles, players have also got announcements for mobile ports of popular PC titles such as Valorant, Battlefield, and Apex Legends. The Esports scene has become more mainstream with the top games competing on par with PC Esports. Overall, the year has been successful. It can only be hoped that the following year is just as full of excitement for the fans of the mobile gaming community.

What are the other things we missed out on in the mobile games industry, which happened in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.

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