Mobile gaming experienced yet another colossal year in 2018. While early predictions fell short of the platform boasting the majority of the industry’s market revenue, mobile gaming still managed to account for the largest segment of the global games market at 47 per cent, with $63.2 billion in revenues and +12.8 year-on-year growth.
A comeback in late 2018 from the increasingly popular Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4 halted the mobile majority, accounting for 28 per cent of the market. Mobile gaming is on the rise across all sectors, with the mobile gambling market expected to have reached $50 billion in 2018 and rise to nearly $100 billion over the next five years. The announcement of a new world record of €18.9 million for an online gaming win being won via a mobile casino in September 2018 will help to reach these numbers.
We have cut our global games forecast for 2018 to $134.9 billion. The #mobile games market’s growth has decreased, but this is partially offset by the booming console market! Get the details: https://t.co/jSKNUt7p5T pic.twitter.com/ARa1TYV8Hi
— Newzoo (@NewzooHQ) November 2, 2018
A look at Newzoo’s findings on the global games market, indicating that a vast majority of the industry’s revenue comes via mobile, $50 billion of which is from smartphone games.
Many great mobile titles made their mark in 2018, with Clash Royale creating a mobile eSport which featured a $1 million prize pool in autumn last year. Pokémon Go remained a titan of mobile gaming with continued updates and was bolstered by the Switch release Pokémon Let’s Go. But the biggest story, as it was across all of gaming, was the rise of the battle royale genre. Fortnite: Battle Royale made waves with its innovative cross-play capabilities, allowing for gamers on PC, console, and mobile devices to play against each other.
So, let’s have a look at what the big players of mobile gaming have in store for us this year, including if the most highly anticipated mobile games will finally see the light of day in 2019.
Jumping on the mobile trend early bolstered online casinos
Despite the stigma that comes with mobile games that they’re not as good as other traditional forms of gaming, there’s no doubt that they appeal to the vast majority of potential players. The power of the platform and its immense reach has been recognised by big names in console gaming, with Nintendo earning in excess of $300 million in 2018.
Thanks to its evolving strategy, #Nintendo has proved it has learned its lesson about monetizing on #mobile. Find an analysis in this article, including 2018 revenue data about #SuperMarioRun, #FireEmblemHeroes, #AnimalCrossing & #DragaliaLost: https://t.co/LdoNFRdeyb pic.twitter.com/6vNKILR11Y
— Newzoo (@NewzooHQ) January 14, 2019
NewZoo’s findings of Nintendo’s mobile revenue in 2018, including the fact that nine per cent of their Q1, Q2, and Q3 earnings came from mobile gaming.
While consoles and console game developers are now realising the potential of the mobile platform, another massive side of gaming made a very early move to the smallest screen, and have reaped the benefits. Online casinos have been available through mobile browsers and mobile apps for a long time: in 2018, their popularity continues to grow.
The ease of access is one factor which has helped the platforms to become so popular, but what has also been a very important factor is the huge range of games available on each mobile casino, with each app having a selection of games which rivals the other app stores. In 2018, themed slot games were hugely popular again, with the official Vikings and Jumanji games drawing in huge crowds. Classic-themed games like Berry Burst, Twin Spin and the many forms of roulette and blackjack continued to be strong, but there was a stark rise in the demand for historical and mythological games, such as Aztec Realm, Rise of the Pharaohs, and Legions of Luxury.
In 2019, the gaming scene is set to become even more diverse. Golden Jungle Grand from IGT will take players into the depths of the Indian rainforests to collect ancient golden trinkets and unlock the power of the mythical tiger. The game will get clicks for its intriguing theme, and players will stick around for its unique item collection mechanic which leads to a huge wild feature. Along with the highly-anticipated Golden Jungle Grand, there are many more exciting slot games coming this year to deliver more variety to its huge player base, thus increasing its appeal even further.
Penn & Teller, the famous stage magicians, have a licensed slot on the way that is said to boast all of the excitement of their shows, with eight interactive bonuses and an innovative feature trigger. The Chinese theme continues to be a big attraction at mobile casinos, so it should come as no surprise that an even bigger and better slot is on the way in the theme. Shou Hu Shen Xtreme Jackpots boasts an ocean of guardian lions to bolster the good luck vibes given to the players spinning for the game’s four progressive jackpot levels.
Moving into the mobile realm early has helped the continued growth of online gambling, and now, almost every single game made is created to be playable on mobile devices as well as computers, making the same diverse field of gaming available to anyone at any time.
The big names expected to come to mobile in 2019
Following from our continuous and extensive market analysis, we put together a list of which trends to look out for this year—for #games, #esports, and #mobile. Here they are: https://t.co/2WY3nMibxn pic.twitter.com/AEJFeIkC7u
— Newzoo (@NewzooHQ) February 4, 2019
Newzoo’s anticipated trends in the 2019 gaming market, included an expectation for Epic, creators of Fortnite, to expand its game store to mobile and for more immersive games to be released to mobile – assumedly instead of another glut of traditional, shallow, freemium model mobile games.
While the mobile gaming space experienced a lot of growth and started to appeal to more traditional gamers, the year of 2018 was also rife with disappointment. Many big-name mobile games that were heavily hyped for release last year were delayed to 2019. However, this does mean that a lot of highly-anticipated games will be coming to the smallest screen this year.
One of the biggest disappointments in 2018 came during BlizzCon when Blizzard announced the upcoming massively multiplayer action role-playing game for mobile devices, Diablo Immortal, set for a 2019 release. What looked to be the huge closing announcement at an event which charged hundreds of dollars for tickets, fans of the Diablo series were anticipating the grand reveal of the fourth game in the series: the first since May 2012. As the show escalated and the famous Diablo schemes came up, fans were ready to cheer, but then the mobile game was revealed to the disappointment of many. It’s set to be a huge mobile game; however, it is clear that individual mobile games aren’t deemed to be deserving of such grand reveals yet.
More disappointment that spilt into this year comes from RuneScape 3’s very lengthy development process and the fact that it still hasn’t been fully released. People are playing the game, but it is still classed as ‘unreleased’ in the app stores as it RuneScape is still in development. Another is Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls: Blades, which was showcased at E3 2018. The mobile game that’s being used to fill the needs of Elder Scrolls fans still waiting on the next game after Skyrim – released in 2011 – were expecting Blades to come out in autumn of last year, but its release was pushed into early 2019 at the end of November.
There is good news on the horizon, however, as all three of these games are set to be released to mobiles this year as well as the Gears Pop! game, which combines the Gears of War video game franchise with the overwhelmingly popular vinyl figures of Funko Pop! This year is set to be a great year for mobile gaming, one which redeems itself for some of its stumbles in 2018.