How the rise of mobile is impacting the gaming industry

The surge in popularity of mobile gaming thanks to new technologies such as smartphones and tablets is changing the gaming industry. Here’s how the rise of mobile is impacting relationships between game producers and players.

As the internet has become more widely available and a vital part of our everyday existence, mobile apps and gaming have become increasingly popular, to the point where us Brits are now spending almost £1 billion in a year on mobile gaming (based on 2018 figures). As a result, our insatiable demand for online gaming and the speed of the digital world has caused console game developers to focus on distributing their games digitally online. Mobile game platforms then came into being, and a whole new sector of the gaming industry was realised.  

Consoles have become like smartphones

The impact of mobile phones on the gaming industry has been dynamic, with many console manufacturers designing their new innovations around or based on smartphones. The way console manufacturers work has also changed, with many turning out new consoles within 24 months rather than every few years. This cycle of working is in line with the smartphone industry, which turns out a new gadget almost every year, so console makers are forever needing to evolve and adapt to trends in the mobile market. 

Consoles have also become more like smartphones because players want convenience. They want to be able to pass the time and play a game anywhere in the world, whenever they want to, with a ‘play-as-you-go’ mentality. 

This has created a rise in popularity of tablets, phablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus seen in O2’s New phone, who dis? campaign, and other high-spec smartphones. The lightweight convenience of gaming on a smartphone is becoming evermore popular with the rise of 5G and the need for quicker download speeds.   

Players can create their own games

Amateur gaming enthusiasts and smaller developers are able to publish their own games thanks to the digital market and mobile gaming. This has caused game studio developers to pick up the pace as they now have more competition, and need to continuously keep up with changing trends and the fast movement of the industry. Games that are developed using code-free platforms such as Unity have also made the market more competitive and accessible for those with an interest in mobile game production, but who are not professional game developers. Games developed in this way without coding can also be produced very quickly (in a matter of weeks), putting more pressure on game producers to offer more games made by independent game developers using their own online stores within similar time frames. 

Games are purchased online rather than in-store

As the rise of mobile gaming continues, the way we purchase games has changed. E-commerce online gaming platforms such as Steam have revolutionised the way we shop for games, with endless choice, access to the latest mods and upgrades, and community boards for keen gamers to build their networks. The physical process of going into a game store to purchase a game over the counter is no longer needed, relevant, or seen as convenient. Likewise, many gaming studios themselves are no longer in physical form, with many remote workers and freelancers collaborating virtually together across the world to create games.   

In-game micro-transactions

In game-transactions are a major draw for players and a huge money-maker for developers. With the mobile gaming revolution, game manufacturers, advertisers and brands alike are seeing the financial potential of paid-for downloadable content and other purchases made during gameplay, to the point where new business models are being created around such purchasing. Advertisers and brands also work with developers to create in-game targeted advertising, in which players must watch an ad to proceed with their game.  

Publishers want a closer connection with gamers

Game publishers want more access to players of their games, rather than having access through console manufacturers. More publishers are developing ways of advertising and monetising games for their own company benefit, such as incorporating ad-videos into their content that players need to watch to proceed in their game, or access to more game content made through the developer. These ads have become an essential way for a mobile gamer to achieve what they want in their game, and are generally seen as a necessity rather than an annoyance.

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