Is the future of gaming mobile?

These days, smartphones are practically game consoles in the palms of people’s hands. Whether in the back seat of an Uber, on the BART, or sitting on a plane going to that next tech conference (yeah, we’re looking at you RISE), everywhere one looks…somebody is on a phone playing a game.

App Annie even reports that games account for almost 33 percent of global downloads and 74 percent of mobile spending in 2018. Those numbers alone testify to the ubiquitous nature of mobile gaming these days.

It’s not hard to see how games run the mobile app economy. Here are four reasons that the future of gaming is mobile.

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Mobile Ports

Year after year, E3 has proven itself to be the biggest PC and console gaming event in the industry. However, mobile games have slowly begun to take a more prominent role in the conference, thus leaving an indelible footprint on future trends in gaming.

Early last month, we were introduced to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles—the long-awaited remaster to one of GameCube’s classics with the same title. The new version will be available for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, and yes…Android and iOS.

This is not the first time Square Enix is porting a console game over to mobile. Over the years we have seen titles like “The World Ends With You,” “Chrono Trigger,” and “Final Fantasy IV” all released for a console at some point and then ported to mobile devices.

A mobile device is one of the easiest ways to reach a vast market of gamers, so it is only natural that gaming companies are making more games accessible for this platform.

eSports

eSports gaming is going mobile

What started out as a casual past time has become a new way of making a living. Many game enthusiasts are now playing in competitive competitions that reward gamers with purses in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Though mostly a PC-dominated industry, over the past few years mobile eSports has grown to be almost as big as traditional eSports. Games like “Call of Duty,” “Arena of Valor,” and “Summoners War” are only some of the most popular mobile games in the eSports industry.

Dot Esports details how there are also competitions like the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile Club Open 2019, which has a $2.5 million prize pool allocated for the entire year. This not only shows how serious mobile eSports gaming has become recently, but also why more and more developers will program with mobile platforms in mind.

What better way to keep a new eSport game front and center on a players mind than to keep it in their hands at all times?

Free-To-Start

Casual gamers make up the majority of worldwide gamers, and it’s these people that gaming companies are targeting when it comes to mobile games. However, many casual gamers are reluctant to spend money on games they believe they won’t be playing in the future.

Some of the top-grossing mobile games like “League of Legends” and “Fate/Grand Order” are all free-to-play with plenty of in-app purchases. This tactic, called “free-to-start,” gives gamers the option of investing money if they want, garnering a lot of loyalty from free-to-play players.

By incentivizing in-app purchases, creating roll-out specials, and seasonal buys, mobile companies continue to draw people deeper into the lucrative world that is shaping the future of gaming.

5G

Pretty soon, gamers will no longer need an expensive gaming PC or console to run high-quality fps games. Instead, they will only need access to a fast internet connection and a visual conduit like a tablet, PC, or mobile device.

Early this month, Apple expressed an interest in making its chipsets in-house through Intel’s modem business in order to support 5G networks. There are plenty of other mobile companies who recognize the lower latency capabilities of 5G to make their apps run smoother and faster than ever before. This will have a big effect on the quality and size of games available for mobile devices.

The United States remains the second largest market for mobile games. In 2018, Game Revolution reported how the global gaming market has grown to $134.9 billion—nearly half of that value coming from mobile devices. While it feels rapid, the shift to mobile technology has been gradually happening over the last couple of years.

More and more people are using their phones for everyday use, with Maryville University noting that in 2016 there was a 63 percent yearly increase in global mobile traffic. According to official statistics, this number is now as high as 72 percent. This shows the dominance of the mobile market, thus leading to a strong drive to produce higher quality mobile games.

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