In 2016, the global gaming market reached previously unprecedented heights and generated a revenue of $99.6 billion according to newzoo.com. Mobile took a larger share than PC for the first time, with smartphones and tablets accounting for 37% of the market to PCs’ 27%. By 2019, it is predicted that mobile will contribute $52.5 billion to the total global revenue of $118.6 billion. Looking at the current common trends, what do these figures mean for the future of gaming? Will PCs continue to decline as mobile gaming dominates?
Image Credit: Johan Larsson
Consoles Still of Great Importance
Console gaming is still contributing a hefty amount to the annual games market, with a 28% share in 2017. Although mobile is steadily increasing, consoles appear to be going nowhere as games progressively get bigger and better. In fact, according to a survey by Polygon, 48% of homes in the USA have a dedicated games console, and 53% of respondents played consoles more frequently than smartphones. Developers like Ubisoft are now creating enormous universes for gamers to enjoy, such as the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Origins set for release on October 27, 2017. Playing epic open-world adventures like this and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt which was released on May 19, 2015, and went on to be named Game of the Year at the Gamers Choice Awards 2016, provides users with an unrivaled experience that is best enjoyed on next generation consoles. With popular titles being made for PlayStation VR such as Arkham VR and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, consoles have a lot going for them, and this sector of the gaming industry looks set to remain strong for many years to come. Gamers who don’t own a console would play most of the same titles on PC, and when combining PC and console contribution to the annual games market, the more powerful machines actually hold a bigger share than all mobile devices combined with 54% to mobile’s 40% in 2017.
Mobile on the Rise
There is no denying, however, that mobile gaming is on the rise at an alarming rate. In 2007, there were a mere 400 million mobile users worldwide, but in 2015 that figure was pushing two billion. The reason for this rapid growth is because mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more advanced each year, and serving numerous purposes – including the addition of editing and writing software – that often negate the need for users to buy another device such as a laptop. Game developers gear games to this booming platform because more than two-thirds of users play games on their phones. Users like games that are easy to play for short periods of time, such as when commuting to work and during breaks. For this reason, the booming online casino market, which is worth $47.11 billion in 2017, is also well represented on mobile. Slot games at Betway Casino like Mega Moolah, Immortal Romance, and Jungle Jim are well-suited to the mobile format because they can be played in short bursts, as can table classics such as blackjack and roulette. Casual games also have a large representation, too, as a lot of the most popular games are mobile apps like Angry Birds, the original of which was released by Rovio Entertainment in 2009 and has an estimated daily revenue of $1519.
What Does This Mean for the Future?
The fact that superior smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and tablets like the iPad Pro 10.5 are coming out each year means that the mobile market will continue to grow in size in the years to come. In fact, smartphone shipments worldwide are projected to add up to 1.71 billion in 2020. Consoles will carry on contributing a large chunk of revenue, as well, with newer versions of current models such as the PlayStation 5 expected in the not so distant future. At the moment, the main speculation is surrounding VR and what kind of impact it will have on the gaming market. With headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive requiring desktops to work in tandem with them and PlayStation VR needing the console, if VR does become a global phenomenon it is likely to help boost sales of the devices that it has to be paired with.
Consoles and mobiles are clearly set to rule the roost for a long time to come, but what about handhelds? At the moment, devices such as the Sony PSP, released in 2004, hold a measly share of the games market at 1%. Could the Nintendo Switch, which is a console/handheld hybrid, be about to change the game in that area? If other consoles decide to follow suit then there is a chance that it could. As it stands, VR is the one to watch, with many expecting great things from the futuristic devices.