The mobile game market is booming, and new games are being released on a daily basis. It can be hard to keep up with the latest trends in this competitive space, and whether you’re a dev team, marketer, or in any other way connected to the mobile game industry, it’s vital that you keep up to date with what’s going on, giving yourself and your company the best chances to succeed at your newer products.
And that’s what we’re talking about today. In this blog post, we’ll explore all of the trends you need to know about if you want your app or game to succeed in the mobile gaming world!
The Impact of 5G on Mobile Gaming
One of the most important mobile gaming trends to watch out for in 2019 is the impact of fifth-generation wireless networks, or “fifth-gen” for short. The rollout of these new networks is expected to massively increase download and upload speeds, as well as reduce latency, all of which will be a huge boon for mobile gamers. In fact, according to one study, the average latency on fifth-gen networks will be just 20 milliseconds—compared to 150 milliseconds on current fourth-generation LTE networks!
“This means that we’re likely to see more complex and demanding games being developed specifically for fifth-gen devices and that older games may struggle to run smoothly on current hardware. It’s therefore important you bear this trend in mind when designing new games and think about how you can leverage this technology to create the best possible gaming experience for your players,”
The Rise of eSports
One way that mobile game developers are already leveraging fifth-generation networks is by incorporating elements from popular real-time multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games into their own titles. This trend has been growing steadily over the past few years, with more MOBA features being added all the time—and it’s showing no signs of slowing down! It seems clear, therefore, that MOBAs will be a major influence on future smartphone releases throughout 2019 and beyond.
Another important development in terms of the increasing popularity of esports is Apple’s recent release of iOS 12, which allows users to record up to 30 seconds of gameplay to share with friends. This is really good news for mobile gamers who are working hard on their skills, as it will allow them to show off their best moves without having to invest in additional hardware or software—and this increased focus on esports will also mean that more people take part in smartphone gaming tournaments, further boosting the industry’s growth!
Improving AAA Mobile Experiences
If you’ve been closely following the mobile game industry over the past few years, you’ll know that one of its biggest challenges has always been convincing gamers to take it seriously. This is because many people still think of mobile games as low-quality time wasters—and this problem isn’t helped by issues like gacha mechanics and pay-to-win business models, which are designed primarily for a short-term engagement.
However, times are changing! Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a major increase in “AAA” experiences on smartphones, with several blockbuster titles already released or scheduled to launch soon. These include popular franchises such as Fallout Shelter, Fortnite, Diablo Immortal, Minecraft Earth, Pokemon Go Quidditch World Cup 2021, and more!
What does this mean for the mobile game industry? In short, it means that gamers are starting to see smartphones as a viable platform for high-quality gaming experiences and that developers who create these types of games have a good chance of success. So if you’re thinking about releasing a new title in 2022 or beyond, make sure it falls into this category—you may just be onto something big!
AR and Mobile Gaming
Another mobile gaming trend that we’re likely to see more of in 2019 is the use of augmented reality (AR). This was first popularised by games such as Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and it’s a technology that is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace. In fact, AR is set to play a major role in this year’s International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), with several new titles being released that make use of the technology.
One such film is The Last Goodbye, which tells the story of holocaust survivors who have decided to reunite for one final time. Using AR, viewers are able to see the past and present collide as they watch these elderly people interact with their younger selves. It’s an incredibly powerful experience and one that is sure to leave a lasting impression on those who see it.
So what can we learn from this? Simply put, AR is a hugely versatile technology that can be used for all sorts of different purposes—including storytelling. If you’re looking to create a truly unique mobile gaming experience, then AR is definitely something you should consider!
Hyper-Casual Mobile Games
Another mobile gaming trend that is expected to continue in 2019 is the rise of hyper-casual games. These are quick, simple titles that usually involve minimal controls and don’t require a lot of time investment—so they’re perfect for gamers who only have short periods available to play.
One example of this type of game can be seen with Angry Birds Blast, an updated version of one of the world’s most popular franchises! In it, you simply need to swap between different colored birds as quickly as possible so that their projectiles hit matching structures and objects, destroying them before your opponent does first (or vice versa). The simplicity means there’s no learning curve and little room for error; all you need is good reaction times and planning ahead!
While these games may not be as in-depth or challenging as some of the other titles on this list, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. In fact, many hyper-casual games can be incredibly addictive and provide a great sense of satisfaction when you manage to complete them.
“Look at any mobile games chart, and you’ll see that these hyper-casual idle games rule, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re looking to break out as a dev team or have a simple concept you want to bring to life, it may be worth following this trend and creating something in this space,” shares Natasha Codling, a business writer at academicbrits and Nextcoursework.
Improved Social Experiences Through Mobile Games
Another mobile gaming trend that is expected to continue in 2019 and beyond is the increased importance of social experiences. This can be seen with titles such as Fortnite, which has taken the world by storm thanks to its fun, competitive gameplay—and it’s no coincidence that Epic Games pushed this title out for both Android and iOS devices at practically the same time.
By doing this, they gave players the chance to play together no matter what device they used—and it worked! While PC and console gamers are still in the majority when compared to mobile users, you can see that social gaming is becoming increasingly important for devs looking to create titles with mass-market appeal.
For example, the mobile version of Fortnite has already been downloaded more than 50 million times, and that number is likely to continue rising. This kind of success could be replicated by other games if devs are willing to create cross-platform experiences—and there’s no denying it would help their reach immensely.
The gaming industry as a whole continues to grow at an alarming rate, and it’s clear that mobile gaming is a major part of that. With improving technologies, better social interactions can be promoted that will allow more people to get involved with the industry.
Another great example of this is Among Us. Among Us was huge back in the COVID-19 lockdown period of our generation, especially in the digital media world. This was backed by the fact that PC, Console, and mobile gamers could all play with each other cross-platform, meaning there were no boundaries as to when and where you could play.
If your friends were playing and you were on the train home, you could just open the app and join in with the fun. If mobile devs are able to create more experiences like this, especially if they can do so in new and creative ways, then you could quite easily be onto a winner, especially if the product goes viral.
Mobile Game Streaming is Growing
One of the most interesting mobile gaming trends that are starting to take off is game streaming. This can be seen with the likes of Twitch and YouTube Gaming, both of which have millions of users who tune in to watch other people play games for hours on end.
As you would expect, there are a tonne of mobile games being streamed all the time, which is great news for gamers who want to do something a little different from the norm. For devs looking to share their work with the world, getting involved in this area could be hugely beneficial if they get it right—and there’s no denying that mobile game streaming has huge potential.
Unfortunately, success isn’t guaranteed, and you need to put in a lot of hard work to make sure you’re able to build an audience that is interested in what you’re doing. It’s also important to note that the competition is fierce, so it may be difficult for new streamers to break through and get noticed.
All things considered, game streaming is an exciting area that is only going to get bigger in the coming years. While you will need to do a lot of work if you want your game or stream to become popular, it could be well worth doing—and mobile devs are starting to realise this themselves by getting involved with Twitch and YouTube Gaming more often these days.
A great example of this is Raid Shadows Legends which has blown up because of how well it’s managed to advertise itself within Twitch and YouTube communities. While effectively just a good-looking tap game with collectibles and loot crates, the game is relatively self-aware, and its honest and meme-like marketing means that it’s sat well with potential players.
Today, it currently sits at 380 million users and has a PC version, thus allowing for more cross-platform fun, as we spoke about before, which has contributed massively to its success.
Core Titles Still Dominate Sales
One thing that hasn’t changed with the mobile market is its emphasis on core titles. In 2021, many of the top earners were games such as Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, which require a lot of time investment to master and feature advanced graphics engines capable of rendering complex environments in real-time. This isn’t going to change any time soon, and developers who are looking to make money on the platform will need to create similar experiences if they want their game to be a hit.
However, this doesn’t mean that casual titles can’t still generate decent revenues; all it takes is one successful release for devs of more simplistic games to find themselves becoming overnight millionaires! There’s still a lot of money to be made in the mobile market, you just need to find your niche and go from there.
If you can, try and find a license for a popular franchise that you could use the title of, like Lord of the Rings did with their mobile game earlier in 2021, and use the fame and fan base of this series while incorporating the rest of the trends of popular mobile games, to then create a final product that has a very high chance to succeed.
Of course, this could backfire. If you create a pretty rubbish game that the fanbase isn’t a fan of, or who don’t feel like you’ve done the franchise justice, then this can lead to a very negative reputation and end up harming your reputation, so this is something you’ll need to be aware of.
Subscription-Based Mobile Games Do Best
One of the most important mobile gaming trends to be aware of is that subscription-based games are doing better than ever. This isn’t really surprising when you consider how popular Netflix and other streaming platforms have become in recent years, but it’s still something that needs to be taken into account if you’re looking to create a successful game.
By offering a monthly or yearly subscription, you can make sure that the revenue stream never dies out and players are always able to keep playing. There’s no need for in-game purchases, which could be seen as unfair by some gamers, and this means there’s far less chance of negative feedback from these customers! In addition to that, it’s also generally easier to get people to subscribe for a few dollars each month rather than paying up-front, which means you can make more money in the long term.
You could even potentially create an ad revenue system where players are shown video ads every couple of minutes or once they die, and this would help increase earnings if it’s done right.
Mobile Puzzle Games are Evolving
The mobile puzzle game genre is also expected to experience continued growth throughout 2022 and beyond. This will be done through both new releases and updates of existing titles, with many devs choosing to make their games more complex as time goes on—which can help keep them relevant for longer periods!
One example of this type of evolution is 2048, a popular tile-matching puzzle that has players swipe tiles together, so they merge into larger numbers. Once you reach the number 1024 (the square root of two), you win the game; however, if your screen fills up then it’s game over! As you progress through each stage, the speed increases dramatically until eventually reaching multiple thousands per second.
So what does all this mean for the future of mobile puzzle games? Simply put, they’re becoming more and more complex as time goes on. If you’re looking to create a title in this genre, then you need to be prepared for a lot of competition—but it’s also an incredibly rewarding field to work in, so don’t let that scare you off!
Since more and more people are getting involved with mobile gaming, this means more players are becoming accustomed to the controls, dynamics, and mechanics of mobile games, which means developers can get away with making more complex versions of their games.
What’s more, since mobile hardware and technology are becoming increasingly advanced, this means that devices are capable of handling more processors, and therefore can be more complicated, can run more extensive graphics outputs, and overall provide a better experience to gamers.
Mobile Gamers are All Ages
Another trend that you need to be aware of when it comes to the mobile gaming market is that gamers come from all different walks of life and age groups. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s still something that needs to be taken into account when designing your game.
For example, if you’re targeting a younger audience, then you need to make sure your characters are relatable and the gameplay is simple enough that they won’t get frustrated. On the other hand, if you’re looking at an older audience, then it’s important to provide a more serious tone in order to meet their expectations.
When working out how best to target a particular group of people, don’t forget to consider the cultural backgrounds of your players, too. Different parts of the world will have different gaming trends and preferences, so it’s important that you do some research in order to understand them!
So there you have it! These are just some of the mobile gaming trends that we can expect to see in 2022 and beyond. Keep them in mind as you’re developing your next game, and be sure to stay ahead of the curve if you want to make a splash in this rapidly-growing market!
Michael Dehoyos is a mobile app developer and writer/editor at Thesis Writing Service and Dissertation Writing Services. He assists companies in their marketing strategy concepts when releasing new products and contributes to numerous sites and publications. Also, he is a writer at Research Paper Help.