Have you noticed the upswing in mobile games lately? We’re not talking about the Candy Crushes and Angry Birds of the world, although they are still going strong in terms of who is making the most money. No, we’re talking about all the console games that were famously slaved over for years, somehow finding a place on a much smaller screen. What gives?
We’re about to break down what gives. Find out here why big gaming companies that pride themselves on offering quality games are offering their IPs to a platform that is considered the bottom of the gaming totem pole.
There have been a lot of noticeable moves to make more mobile games. And that makes sense. There is a lot of money in mobile gaming. But what is surprising users all over is that they are not the Candy Crush knockoffs we’re used to. They’re not a simple, addictive, premise with colorful graphics and adverts interrupting every 30 seconds, but well-developed and well-loved console games that have been converted to accommodate a mobile app.
This is both a blessing and a curse. The mobile phone market has been begging for some quality games to reach it for some time now, with only the occasional outlier making waves, like Monument Valley. On the other hand, who wants to play Call of Duty on a 3×5 inch screen?
It seems a lot, since Call of Duty is now going strong on its 10th season, with over 14 million downloads on the Google Play store alone.
But it’s not just Call of Duty. Rockstar have released almost their entire catalogue, including every GTA game, Max Payne and even the forgotten and beloved Bully available to play on your phone or tablet.
Minecraft is also a popular buy, with 4 million downloads in the Google Play store. Considering more children are handling an iPad rather than a console, it’s surprising – and perhaps telling – that COD has over 10 million more downloads.
Why are they moving?
So, what’s going on? Well, the answer might not surprise you. Money.
There is a lot of money in online gaming. When anyone says “gaming”, mobile gaming is far down on the list of things that immediately come to mind. Surely that idea of the gamer with the headset and the energy-drink addiction isn’t supplemented with a mobile in front of them?
Apparently so. Soon you’ll have gamers looking up how to cheat a slot machine with a cell phone, instead of creating mods for console games.
Statistics platform Statista, said that throughout 2020 in North America alone, the mobile gaming industry market value was worth a staggering 25.2 billion. That’s billion with a B. And it is expected to go up.
For comparison, the global console gaming market was estimated to be worth $45.2 billion in the same year. Sure, that’s more. But mobile gaming is more than halfway at their figure without the need to charge $60 a game, or for consoles, or extra gadgets like VR headsets, and with lesser subscription charges and, until lately, often much less development and tech.
Even Netflix has seen the potential. When they announced their “gaming” releases, a lot of us scratched our heads, wondering what they were going to release that would be so earth shattering. It turns out it was good (arguably) mobile games. The originals from Netflix are often tied into their owned IPs, like Stranger Things, and offer a gaming experience akin to early home gaming like side-scrollers and turn-based combat.
Is it popular?
To demonstrate just how popular mobile games are getting, think back to the lockdown of 2020. We were creating conspiracy theories about Carole Baskin’s husband, we were learning our DIY tips from TikTok, and we were playing Among Us.
Among Us got so popular it became part of the cultural zeitgeist. You will now see Among Us plushies and memorabilia in stores. You watched Twitch creators play it and chances are you even gave it a go yourself.
Then imagine the shock when it was announced in December 2021 that Among Us was getting a console release.
PC players had enjoyed the game, sure, but developers held off on releasing a console game, because why would they? Mobile users were going through the roof.
With the current movement towards mobile gaming, it’s likely you will soon find more of the classic games you remember playing on your PS1 or even PS4 released in mobile format. Developers have discovered it’s the best way to supplement their income, and if it means hiring more devs to make better console games on release date, it’ll go down well enough.
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