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Mobile Game developers pivoting to PC and Console despite having the lion’s share in the global games industry

What are your thoughts?

It is a known fact that mobile gaming faced challenges in recent years, with declines in 2023 due to rising user acquisition costs and advertising difficulties. To adapt, mobile developers are shifting towards PC and console games to diversify revenue streams and bring more audiences in, and to back up this claim, there is strong data. So in this article, I will give an overview of the situation.

The mobile market is facing hurdles despite generating healthy revenue

Of course, to back up what I say, I have some data to share. As reported by Newzoo’s Games Market Reports and Forecasts, the mobile games market, which experienced strong growth in previous years, has encountered a slowdown post-pandemic. This is not surprising to me, as the long-gone pandemic is continuing to affect the jobs market even though we saw a surge of gamers.

Mobile market state 2024
Image via Newzoo

Now, let us move on to some numbers. Despite generating $90 billion in 2023 with a year-on-year growth of 0.8% and projected to reach $98 billion in 2026, the market’s growth rate has significantly decreased from a +20.9% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) (2015-2021) to +1.6% CAGR (2022-2026). Do note, that this is mobile gaming despite holding a share of 49% of the global gaming market as of July 2023. Something to be worried about? I say yes.

In contrast, console gaming demonstrates promising growth potential, with a projected +6.7% CAGR from 2023 to 2026, expected to generate $53.2 billion in 2023. Additionally, downloaded/boxed PC games experienced the fastest growth in 2023 (+5.2% year on year), generating $38.4 billion. Console and PC might not have a market like mobile, yet still, they can perform better given the difference in quality. Hence, the attraction of banking on a platform on the rise isn’t surprising.

Focusing on multiple markets is beneficial for the developers although there are downsides

As mentioned, developers are turning to PC and console development to boost revenue sources and reach broader audiences as these platforms present attractive opportunities to stop relying solely on the mobile market. For this, there are two main strategies for mobile studios entering PC and console development namely porting existing mobile games or creating entirely new titles that find fit for PC and Console.

Let me simplify why. Porting games can boost engagement and retention among multi-platform players while developing new games for PC and console opens up new markets. We have seen plenty of PC/Console titles coming to mobile, and if vice versa happens, it is a big boost to the creators themselves. The consumer spending on mobile isn’t a concern to be fair, still, there is a possibility of a bigger share with the other two platforms.

PC Console Growth
Image via Newzoo

Yet, both strategies come with their own set of challenges and considerations, such as adapting monetization models and adjusting to different player preferences and platform requirements. Not all can play across multiple platforms, and even if they do, it might be not beneficial for anyone involved given how short the screen time will be.

Well, I believe that despite the challenges, several mobile developers have successfully transitioned into PC and console gaming. Although mobile game mortality is something that is a concern for newer creators, I see a better opportunity with capitalizing on PC and console, as mobile developers can navigate the transition effectively and tap into the potential of these platforms.

What are your thoughts on Mobile Developers shifting to PC and Console Gaming by porting games and creating new titles? Let us know in the comments below!

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