Mobile Gaming's Expectations In 2015

Smartphone with video game

The mobile gaming market is not one that should be taken lightly. In the past, some may have written it off as being unable to compete with the big boys—aka Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo—simply because mobile devices weren't powerful enough. Well, the times have obviously changed and that phone in your pocket is capable of doing more than anyone could have imagined a decade ago. That upgraded technology brought about serious improvements to mobile gaming, and it's all been paying off year after year.

Where things will change for this sect of the gaming industry, however, is in 2015. It's not that anyone can predict which games will be released, the most popular, or exceptionally profitable, because who knew FlappyBird would be such a hit? What can be accurately predicted is how much money the market will make, and it's this year that's expected to be record-breaking for mobile. According to VentureBeat, mobile gaming revenue will increase from $25 billion in 2014 to $30.3 billion in '15. That's enough to overtake the revenue made from consoles and then some, as consoles are expected to see a minor decrease and hover around $25 billion.

In spite of all this revenue growth, it's being reported that the year-to-year increase in mobile gaming usage is expected to slow down. To put that more clearly, it's simply that it's not going to grow at the same type of overwhelming pace in past years. According to PocketGamer, there was still an increase in usage from 2013 to 2014 of 30 percent. However, the previous year's growth was 66 percent (more than double last year). While some may see this as a decline in mobile gaming's popularity, it could just be the fact that the market is over-saturated and that people aren't downloading new games like they are other apps on their phones. For reference, lifestyle app usage is up 174 percent.

The thing is, it's not just that the gaming market is heavily populated. It's also the fact that many of the more popular games have already been around for years. This is, when compared to other portions of the mobile industry, a well-established corner. And in some cases, it's been that way for longer than one may assume.

Take, for example, the online poker niche, which took off in the early 2000s thanks to the rise in popularity of Texas Hold'em. In addition to celebrity tournaments, players were becoming celebrities themselves due to the game's surging popularity. With that came the advent of new platforms, many of which failed based on a number of reasons, one of which was not adapting to the web. Betfair's poker platform, which you can learn more about here, took advantage of mobile phone technology by releasing their own app that isn't just another means of playing the game. It's actually a fun twist on poker that adds more chance-heavy elements, leaving players with a satisfying spin on poker and a reason to return to the actual platform.

This companion-ish approach is one that's been taking by other gaming companies over the past few years especially. As noted in this article, there are a number of ways you can complement your gaming experience with an app (or two) made specifically with a console title in mind. Popular games such as Call of Duty and FIFA have taken advantage of this with free apps that allow you to track your player stats and keep up with your competition.

This is all to say that this purported "decline" in usage growth isn't anything for mobile gaming developers to worry about. For many of the bigger names, they're probably too busy figuring out how to upgrade and expand their current titles to think about an entirely new game. And in doing so, they're likely playing a part in that project $30 billion-plus in revenue.

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