A recent survey by mobile game developers, Tappable, has discovered 42% of gamers now consider smartphones to be their first choice for gaming, compared to console (32%) and PC (26%). The survey, conducted in October this year, polled male and female gamers on their gaming habits. Based on the data, it seems that mobile is fast becoming the most popular platform.
Sam Furr, founder of Tappable, said: “Mobile gaming is the biggest category in the App Store, with approximately 75% of consumer spend coming in this category (iOS), and some sites suggesting the spend could reach $100bn by 2020. We were not surprised people are reaching for their phones, over other ways to play games. Breaking though with a game is tough, which is why we found specialist game designers, and retention experts early on”.
Convenience is key
Considering 40% of respondents said they now mostly play mobile games to pass idle time, and a further 38% said it’s because they’re on their mobiles most of the time, it seems convenience plays a key part in the popularity of mobile gaming as unlike consoles, phones can be taken anywhere.
A big selling point for mobile games is their ability to offer easy-to-play AR games. Recent successes such as Nintendo’s Pokémon Go (2016), which has been downloaded over 800 million times and Ludia Games’ Jurassic World: Alive (2018) have certainly raised the bar for mobile gaming. These games, unlike those available on console and PC, can easily be picked up and put down, but still offer a unique experience.
Not without its flaws
When asked what they’d like to see from mobile gaming in the future, the majority (31%) of respondents said longer gameplay and more complex campaigns/storylines. One participant even listed ‘no play to win games’ as their main problem with the current mobile games on the market.
A further 30% said they want better controls. Currently, most mobile games involve simple touchscreen actions, but as more complex mobile versions of games are being released, the controls are naturally becoming more complicated, which isn’t translating well on smartphones.
At E3 2018, it was announced that several big game developers are determined to tap into the mobile market. With upcoming releases such as Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls: Blades, EA’s Command & Conquer: Rivals and Microsoft’s Gears Pop!, mobile gamers could finally get the story-driven initiatives they desire.
Although, it seems these issues surrounding mobile gaming aren’t enough to put some off, with 22% of survey participants believing ‘nothing’ needs changing as there are ‘plenty of great options already’.