Our Latest Post
by Liz on December 5, 2013
As an industry, we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with that phone in your hand. This is our 4-part manifesto on why we make games for mobile.
It’s hard to believe the App Store’s only 5 years old. Mobile games are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 19 percent for smartphones and 48 for tablets – half of mobile users will play games on their devices before 2014, propelling US mobile gaming revenues to a projected $1.78 billion this year [eMarketer].
Mobile gamers are spending more than ever, and social games dominate the market – the total user base for free-to-play MMOs grew to just under 46 million in 2013.
Distributing games in a mobile marketplace comes with a few challenges of its own – discoverability, revenue cuts, a fragmented family of devices – and the gamer culture surrounding mobile gaming is still in its infancy. But not for long.
From where we stand, there’s a lot more to that iPhone in your hand than you could ever believe, and we’re ready to bet that it will be your window into a world of play for years to come.
PART ONE: The Almost Infinite Audience
New Platforms, New Players
You’ve heard it before – mobile is a whole new mode of entertainment, opening the doors to a massive new market of gamers and non-gamers alike. That gets us really excited. As our CTO, Ralph put it, “folks who wouldn’t normally buy an XBOX One or a PS4 now have an iPad in their lap and are playing games that range from casual to hardcore on that device.” It’s one of the biggest opportunities for game developers in our lifetimes – people who wouldn’t normally associate as gamers are playing on mobile – and the numbers agree.
Mobile offers a studio of any size the opportunity to get into more hands than on any other platform. The install base for consoles in 2012 was 240 million. The install base for iPhone alone was 450 million – that doesn’t include iPad, iPod Touch, and the entire range of Android devices [WIRED].
According to Distimo, one third of app downloads on iPhone are Games, more than any other category (the next largest, Entertainment, comes in at 8.3%). That number is even higher on iPad – almost half of app downloads on iPad are in the Games category.
Engaged & Ready to Play
People love playing games. That means that anything from designing for viral growth to appealing to advertisers is intrinsically easier to accomplish in a game environment.
In our CEO Dave’s words, “It is the opportunity in gaming right now. Mobile and tablet games, specifically, are where we’re seeing the fastest growth in terms of market size. We’re seeing tremendous success stories on both OS’s even today.”
Mobile gamers are a massive and highly engaged audience. According to MediaBrix, "social and mobile gaming value exchange ads garner the highest performance brand metrics in the industry." And what's more, a mobile gamer could be almost anyone. With an even gender split and a young majority (average age is around 28), mobile gamers will be around for a long time.
The Unrivaled Share of Wallet
Even wilder is the revenue share that Gaming has on mobile. Over 80% of all revenue generated by mobile in 2012 was from games, and of those of us who downloaded apps and paid for them, 93% of those purchases were mobile games. 76 of the top 100 grossing iOS apps are games.
The implications of those numbers are huge – that means that mobile is not just shaking up the console-dominated gaming industry. Games are now the lifeblood of the mobile industry. As Kevin Chou at Kabam puts it, the three most important behavior metrics in an industry are reach, engagement and monetization. On mobile, gaming is dominating all three. [WIRED]
What it boils down to is that people love games – and with mobile devices, games can more easily love people back. We love the fact that mobile users are hungry for more games to play. Next week we’ll cover the potential of the medium and why we love these powerful devices. Stay hungry!