Earlier this year Newzoo published their market estimates on the gaming industry in which they predicted a whopping $159.3 billion would be spent on games in 2020 alone. That would represent a more than healthy 9.3% growth in like-for-like sales which if replicated in the coming years could see global gaming sales surpass $200 billion by 2023. According to the report by Newzoo, the chief protagonist behind the continued popularity and growth of the industry in the USA is mobile gaming. If estimates are to be believed, this year mobile gaming will represent 48% ($77.2 billion) of gaming’s total global sales. The majority of the world’s mobile gaming revenues come from right here in the USA, where more people regularly play mobile games than watch TV. But what exactly is driving the popularity and growth of mobile gaming in the USA? In this article, we look at three key factors that are contributing to the industry’s continued growth.
3. Growth of Gambling
In the past 10 to 15 years online gambling has become a financial behemoth, raking in billions of dollars in revenues across the world. The UK was the first country to really take to online gambling and is now seen by most industry insiders as the spiritual home of the activity.
The US has been relatively slow on the uptake with the legislation in many States prohibiting people from placing wagers online. New Jersey is one of the few states where it is totally legal to bet on sports and play poker, blackjack, or roulette online for real money. In April of this year, the total amount spent on online sports betting in New Jersey was $117,821,280, while online casinos in the State pulled in revenues of $85 million in the same month. To say that online gambling in New Jersey is popular would be a massive understatement.
New Jersey’s many online casinos are providing a massive stimulus to the mobile gaming industry. In the next 10 years, it is estimated that 4 in 5 gamblers will bet on their mobile device rather than in person at a land-based casino or bookmaker. Poker is traditionally viewed as the most popular form of online gambling, but in New Jersey, statistics show that players prefer to play other casino games. That is one of the many reasons that industry experts can be so confident in their predictions of mobile gaming’s continued financial growth.
2. Gender Balanced Games
Console and PC games have ruled the roost for so long that they have failed to move with the times and evolve to appeal to different demographics. For example, a recent study by Statista found that only 5% of console and PC games featured a female as the lead protagonist.
That is a shocking oversight from an industry that claims to be looking at more ways to engage female players. Too many video games appeal directly to classically male interests like sports and first-person shooter games. Obviously, there are a great many deals of women who love these gaming genres, but the problem is with how they are marketed and sold. The vast majority of console and PC games nowadays appear to be marketed directly to men with little to no disregard to the tastes of women.
Mobile games are different, the majority are inclusive and do not cater too much for the tastes of one gender. In addition to this, there is a greater variety of mobile gaming that appeals to the varied tastes of a diverse market. Almost half (49%) of the mobile gaming market in the USA is made up of female gamers with 65% of women aged 10-65 saying that they regularly play mobile games. After being ignored by video game developers for decades, female gamers have finally found their home with mobile gaming.
1. Freemium Games
Last month an in-game event on Warzone revealed a trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and offered players the chance to pre-order the title for $60, $70, or $90. The $60 edition will only be compatible with PS4 and Xbox One, making it almost obsolete when the next generation of consoles are released in the Fall, which is also when the game drops.
That makes playing Call of Duty an expensive habit to have, especially when you consider the many in-game purchases that players tend to make after buying the game itself. If you can envisage yourself playing 20 hours a week then $70 might seem like a sound investment. If, however, you’re one of the millions of casual gamers in the US you might find it hard to justify spending $70 on a game.
Mobile gaming has developed a niche in the market, catering for the needs of casual gamers who don’t want to spend a small fortune on games that they may or may not love. Freemium games, which first came to prominence in the early part of the last decade are still a major profit driver for the mobile gaming industry. Games like Candy Crush, that are free to download but offer a range of in-app purchases are still the most popular type of mobile games. Console and PC have jumped on board in recent years, Fortnite and Warzone being free to play, but it is still mobile where Freemium games dominate.
What is your opinion on the three factors about the rise in popularity and growth of mobile gaming in the USA? Let us know in the comments section below.