The mobile gaming market trends of the past two years have marked a more evolved ecosystem with big growth in new game genres. Publishers are using more precise analytical strategies for advertising as well as monetization, which have retained the giant market with new promising possibilities for 2023! While it is difficult to establish exactly how the upcoming trends will influence the performance of games, analyzing the trends and choosing appropriate development strategies give you control over materializing your vision, leading to desirable performance outcomes for your games.
Mobile Gaming trends that will lead in the upcoming years
Trends influence the concurrent gaming scape but they evolve from their predecessors and the transition from one state to another indicates the need for update in the genre strategies and monetization practices. Many of the shifts in the past two years indicate the following incumbent changes for the coming years.
1. Mobile a top growing segment in gaming
In the entire gaming scape mobile gaming is the fastest growing segment. Players downloaded 82.98 billion mobile games in 2021 globally and by 2023, there will be 3.7 billion mobile players worldwide. Mobile game consumer spend reached $116 billion in 2021 – a growth by 16 billion compared to 2020. Gen Z and Millennials spend more time gaming than on any other form of entertainment. The player spend is estimated to reach $138 billion by 2025. Mobile gaming can be seen as a permanently growing segment in the digital gaming space.
2. Players prefer games with social connection
One of the significant mobile gaming trends is that players seek games which have social elements, that is, social connections. Apparently, the games that offer online real-time connection, like interactive multiplayer games, have more engagement and retention.
Gamers prefer social experiences since it gives them the pleasure of connecting with their acquaintances and spending interactive time. Therefore, having the aspect of social connection in games promises growth and retention in the upcoming years.
3. Cross platform development is driving growth
Cross platform development is indispensable regardless of which demographic genre or geographical region you are targeting. By 2023, there will be 3.7 billion mobile players worldwide and therefore, to make your game reach maximum users across different demographics, you need to permeate into the pool of smartphones with varying performance capabilities. Nearly 2 billion games will have been downloaded by 2025 and the ones with greater optimization for the majority of devices will be able to capture a bigger pie in the ever growing market.
4. Hyper-casual genre tops
Out of many different genres with their ardent followers, casual genre and its sub-genres have been leading with most downloads and greater ROI. According to AppAnnie’s State of Mobile 2022, Hyper-casual genre was the leading genre in 2021 with Action, Puzzle and Simulation among the top downloaded games. The top three game genres by the number of ad creatives were casual games (18.14%), puzzle games (13.67%), and role-playing games (12.14%). On average, hyper-casual mobile gamers download ten times more games than other players. Casual games, also being relatively easy to build, show more revenue potential in the upcoming years.
What makes casual games so enticing?
- easy to play
- a quick entertainment
- great stress relievers
- a great pastime
- connect us with real people
- real time interactive fun
5. Playables and Audio among growing ad formats
The use of playable ad and audio ad formats are on the rise for a variety of genres. Playable ads are interactive ads that allow players to try out a game or app before downloading it. They are effective because they give players a taste of the gameplay experience and can help to increase conversions and lifetime value (LTV). The retention rate is also higher with playable ads which goes up to 30 to 40 percent. Playable ads are usually displayed in a banner or interstitial format and are often used to promote other mobile games or apps.
Audio ads are another ad format making its way among prominent ad formats. These ads use audio to promote a product or service and can be played during gameplay or between levels. Audio ads are effective as they are less disruptive to the gameplay experience than visual ads and can be easily incorporated into games without taking up valuable screen real estate.
6. Seamless gaming with Cloud Technology
Cloud gaming is the next big revolution in online gaming. It allows users to play games on remote servers rather than downloading and running them on their own devices. This is made possible through the use of cloud technology, which allows users to stream games over the internet. One of the main benefits of cloud gaming is that it allows users to play games on a wide range of devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, without the need for high-end hardware.
Cloud gaming reduces the burden on local hardware by offloading much of the processing and rendering work to the cloud, which improves performance and reduces lag. The global cloud gaming market was valued at USD 1500 million in 2021 and is expected to hit around USD 13,000 million by 2028.
7. Platform Independent HTML5 gaming
The rising popularity of HTML5 (H5) games on mobile is attributed to their ease of development and easy accessibility. More publishers are opting for these click-to-play casual games since they are platform independent and more cost-efficient compared to app-based games. The H5 gaming technology makes cross-platform integration possible, enabling developers to create rich, 3D web-based games with as immersive an experience as that of app based games. HTML5 games can be developed using many game engines and frameworks with which implementing animations and physics is easier.
The H5 gaming market is forecast to reach $2.69 billion by 2027 and its rising numbers indicate that they are going to be great for revenue generation without high investments in development. They are preferably monetized with AdSense banner ads, but in-app purchases and rewarded video ads are also being deployed in the continuously evolving monetization methods.
8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered mobile gaming
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly prevalent and is changing mobile gaming for both developers and players. On the developer side, AI can be used to create more realistic and dynamic gameplay experiences, as well as to optimize game performance and improve the overall user experience. For players, AI can enhance the challenge and immersion of a game, as well as provide new ways to interact with and control the game.
Some examples of how AI is used in mobile gaming include the use of machine learning algorithms to create more realistic non-player characters (NPCs) and to generate procedurally-generated content, such as levels or in-game events. AI can also be used to optimize resource management and to analyze player behavior in order to provide personalized recommendations and in-game incentives. Overall, the integration of AI in mobile gaming has the potential to significantly enhance the gaming experience for both developers and players.
9. Augmented Reality (AR) mobile gaming
Augmented reality (AR) mobile games are a type of video game that uses a device’s camera and GPS capabilities to overlay digital content on the real world. These games have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are a variety of different trends driving their growth. One trend is the development of more sophisticated AR technology, which allows for more immersive and realistic gaming experiences. Another trend is the increased use of AR in mobile gaming, as more people are turning to their smartphones and tablets as their primary gaming devices. The global AR gaming market has reached $8.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to cross $40 billion by 2028.
Additionally, the rise of social media and live streaming platforms has made it easier for players to share their gaming experiences with friends and other players, which has also helped to drive the popularity of AR mobile games. As well, the trend of gamification is also seen in various fields like education, health and marketing. AR games are also being used to enhance the experience and make it more interactive. Overall, Augmented reality mobile games continue to evolve and offer a unique and captivating gaming experience.
The continuously evolving trends in development, genre popularity, and monetization have more to offer to publishers today than ever before. Since there is a steep surge in mobile game publishing, creators have more options to develop unique and engaging gameplays. The advent of cloud technology, AR, and AI in gaming have equipped publishers with assets that can be utilized to produce competitive products. The continually growing global mobile gaming market is set to bring greater opportunities in publishing and monetization in 2023 and beyond.