Mobile Gaming Market – Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2020 – 2025)



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The mobile gaming market is expected to register a CAGR of 14% during the forecast period, 2020-2025. The growing smartphone penetration and technology advancement with the increasing adoption of trending technologies for developing games are major factors in developing the mobile gaming industry.​

  • The gaming industry worldwide is expanding, and the smartphone is playing a significant role in this expansion. The development of mobile games has resulted in scalability for the gaming industry. Platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have also started to develop innovative mobile games, to ensure high product differentiation and benefit from engaging games to enhance their advertisement strategies.​
  • The total hours spent on games continues to grow nearly 8-10% year-over-year. According to App Annie data, by 2020, mobile ad spending will cross USD 240 billion globally. The users are expected to spend 674 billion hours in the entertainment and video player and editor categories worldwide on Android phones, by 2020.​
  • Despite geopolitical tensions, the growing smartphone penetration and increasing gaming options are also growing mobile gaming penetration in many parts of the world. For instance, in Iran, a population of 82 million and a smartphone penetration rate of about 35% in 2018, there are more than 30 million active mobile gaming players in the country, according to White Designers Game Studios.​
  • Trends, such as location-based games, cloud gaming, blockchain-based game, AR/VR enabled mobile games, are also fueling the demand for mobile games. However, AR-based games are more preferred on mobile as compared to VR-based.
  • The declining cost of the internet data packs, especially in the emerging economies, is also fueling the demand for online mobile games. Asia-Pacific is emerging as the major contributor to the growth of the global mobile gaming industry, as most of the companies in the region are producing innovative formats. For instance, in 2018, mobile gaming represented 55-60% of video game revenue in China compared to 35-40% in the United States.​
  • Moreover, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, online play has also increased, with respondents spending more time playing games with others via internet connection. According to Hollywood Reporter, Twenty-nine percent of U.S. gamers said that they have been playing more with friends online since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In comparison, 17% of those in the U.K. and 12 percent in France responded that they have been playing more online than offline.

Key Market Trends

Free-to-play Pricing Model Offers Potential Growth

Free-to-play is the pricing model that is preferred by most of the mobile game developers because of its unlimited potential and can be downloaded without any charge. This allows players to sample a game before deciding whether they want to commit time or money, and tend to accrue higher revenues.

  • Games such as Pokémon GO are following a free to play game model, and according to Bank of America, in the United States in 2016, 27 million users were playing this. It is estimated to cross 67 million by 2020. And in the Asia Pacific region, the number of players is set to expand from 84 million to 311 million in the same timeframe. Therefore the increasing number of users is expected to have a positive outlook on the market.
  • Further, Hyper Casual games mostly monetize through advertising and captured more than half of all gaming app downloads by 2017. Seeing the future in such games, Zynga acquired Gram Games for USD 250 million in 2018, and in the same year, Goldman Sachs also invested USD 200 million in Voodoo.
  • Moreover, this model is expected to evolve with the development of technologies such as augmented reality and 5G. With the deployment of 5G, coupled with faster download speeds, it is expected by the advertising videos to increase in quality and engagement.
  • For instance, in April 2019, Hatch, together with Samsung, launched 5G cloud gaming to the United States with the launch of the Hatch for Samsung app. With Samsung’s first flagship 5G phone, the Galaxy S10 5G, customers were able to play popular games like Hitman GO, Monument Valley, and Arkanoid Rising instantly over streaming.
  • Therefore, due to the factors mentioned above, the free-to-play pricing model is expected to drive mobile gaming in the future.

Asia-Pacific to Witness Highest Growth

The increasing smartphone penetration, rapidly changing consumer preferences, increasing competition, and untapped demographics are major factors driving the gaming companies to invest in the Indian mobile gaming market.​

  • India is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets globally, with the number of smartphones expected to double by 2022 nearly. Much of this active user base comes from rural India, where mobile gaming is still gaining popularity.​
  • Online gaming is also fueling smartphone games’ penetration, with more than 90% of millennials preferring smartphones over gaming PCs and other devices in India. This is motivating many vendors to launch new technologies that enable mobile games to gain a competitive advantage in the country. In July 2019, the Indian Air Force launched a new mobile 3D video game, themed on various aerial combats and missions, including airstrikes.​
  • Additionally, China is a home for many mobile game publishers, such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. Tencent Holdings is one of the world’s largest gaming company and is mostly present in the mobile gaming domain. In March 2019, the company invited developers to create games on its messaging and social media app WeChat.
  • With the increasing number of 5G connections in China, the market is expected to witness further growth. For instance, in June 2019, Qualcomm Technologies announced a joint demonstration with ZTE of the 5G-powered cloud gaming on a live 5G network. This utilizes the cloud gaming solutions from Tencent instant play on 5G smartphones and aims to demonstrate that console-quality mobile gaming experiences are achievable over live 5G networks.

Competitive Landscape

The mobile gaming market is competitive in nature because of the presence of major players like Tencent Holdings Limited, Activision Blizzard, Inc, and Zynga, Inc., amongst others. Major companies are developing advanced technologies and launching new products to stay competitive in the market. Seeing the growth opportunity in the market, companies are entering the market. For example, in India, the number of game-developing companies grew from 25 in 2010 to over 250 in 2018. Some of the recent developments in the market are:

In Aug 2019 – Tencent Cloud released a cloud gaming Solution at ChinaJoy. The solution is expected to providing a one-stop Cloud Gaming Solution for game developers and platforms, helping them to gradually decreasing the development times of cloud-based mobile games.

  • In April 2019 – Vodafone, in collaboration with Hatch, launch the first 5G-optimised cloud gaming service in Germany. That is, Hatch’s mobile games streaming service were made available for Vodafone 5G customers across Germany.