PC gaming has dominated the video games market for some time, with an ESA study last year reporting that 62% of gamers prefer to play on their PCs, while 56% opt for playing on consoles. But where do mobile gaming apps fit into this quest for gaming industry domination?
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Using apps has become a daily habit for many people. In fact, a recently released report from App Annie found that the average smartphone user engages with nine apps per day. This rises to a total of 30 apps over the course of a month.
While iPhone users lead the way in terms of the number of apps they use, the App Annie study from that Android users are more likely to play app-based games on their phones. In total, Android users were found to play 30% more games than iPhone users.
Statista reports that there were 2.8 million Android apps available as at March 2017, compared with 2.2 million iPhone apps. With 27% more apps available to them, there’s some logic to the fact that Android owners play more games – quite simply, they have more gaming app options at their disposal than iPhone users have.
While app gaming has boomed in recent years, it hasn’t surpassed console and online gaming yet. According to Newzoo’s quarterly Global Games Market Report, the global games market will reach a value of $108.9 billion in 2017, of which mobile will take 42%. As such, app gaming still has some way to go until it reaches the heady heights of being the world’s most popular gaming option.
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Furthermore, online and console games producers certainly aren’t standing still when it comes to holding onto their share of the market. Micro-transactions relating to extra content, expansion packs and subscriptions are being worked into an increasing number of games, supplementing the cost of the original purchase of a game with a series of add-on options.
In light of the constant evolutions across multiple gaming platforms, games makers with one eye on the future and another on their profits are opting to make their games available across multiple platforms. The Tomb Raider franchise is one such example. As well as console and online play, the game is all about slots and apps – gamers are catered to in pretty much every format that they could wish for. The Tomb Raider slot is one example, another being the very popular Lara Croft Go app, a turn-based puzzle game that’s designed for mobiles by Square Enix Montreal.
The global games audience is estimated to be between 2.2 billion and 2.6 billion people strong. For franchises like Tomb Raider, which capitalize on the multi-platform nature of the industry, this creates an outstanding opportunity to engage with vast numbers of gamers in multiple ways.
The future for such forward-thinking games producers certainly looks bright. PwC projects that the global gaming industry will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% between 2015 and 2020. As the world enjoys ever higher levels of connectivity in terms of both internet access and access to mobile devices, the range and quality of games available across all platforms will continue to increase. Both virtual reality and artificial intelligence are set to be game changes across the industry – it just remains to be seen whether consoles, online gaming or app gaming becomes the first to successfully conquer them.