Playing a game on your smartphone is so easy that you probably don’t even give much thought to just how big the market for them is or how phenomenal the technology is that makes them possible.
In just a few years, mobile gaming has completely destroyed the portable console format, with no major dedicated handheld machines on the market anymore. The closest we have to one is the Nintendo Switch, but this is a hybrid console that also connects to your TV.
Everything about the mobile gaming market is mind-blowing, from the amount of revenue it generates to the variety of options.
How Mobile Games Are Possible
Some of the earliest smartphone games were pretty simple. Think of Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, and Candy Crush, they had graphics that were not comparable to AAA games available on consoles and they had much simpler mechanics.
Fast forward to today and games like Fortnite can be played on the tiny computer in your pocket and the powerful console under your TV.
This has been made possible by the rapid development of ARM architecture. This revolutionary type of processor manages to cram in much more processing grunt while minimizing the energy consumption required to do so. While not directly comparable to Intel and AMD CPUs, they are smaller and can perform at similar levels.
This is why your smartphone can play games for hours while only containing a relatively small battery. It’s also why it doesn’t get scaldingly hot as you do it.
The Sony PlayStation 2 remains the best-selling video games console of all time, yet less than 4,000 official titles have been released for it. Even then, not all games are available in every market since some games are region-restricted or were just never released in multiple languages.
There have been even fewer titles produced for the PS3, PS4, and (obviously) the PS5. If you combine all models of PlayStation, there are fewer than 10,000 different games available.
Yet, both Android and iOS users can access libraries with around one million different mobile games. Of course, the size and quality of these mobile games varies much more than it does on Sony’s consoles, but the sheer quantity helps to create such a broad variety
There are actually even more games than that available too. Browser-based games increase the options even further, as do streaming services like Google Stadia.
Online casinos are also available for mobile gamers in many regions, with popular video slots and classic table games available to play on the go. Some of the best online casinos for US players have mobile apps, though some others can be accessed through mobile browsers as well/instead.
Although there is a lot of choices, 57.9% of mobile games played are puzzles.
25% of all iOS apps and 21% of all Android app downloads are games, and they account for 43% of all smartphone users. The vast majority of these games are free to download and play, but offer in-game purchases to their users.
From these microtransactions and other revenue sources, mobile game revenue now exceeds $75 billion a year, almost the size of the entire games industry in 2017.
Overall, the mobile gaming market has grown to almost unimaginable numbers. When you compare the size of the industry and the number of titles available to the rest of the industry, it is possible to see just how successful the format has become.