Mobile Gaming Makes Up Over 50% of the Global Games Market

Monday, November 26, 2018

Gaming has quietly infiltrated every area of pop culture and as a result, has become a part of our everyday lives also. Those games of Candy Crush you play on the train and the games of Words with Friends before you go to bed now make up for a majority of games being played.

It’s no secret that the gaming industry is huge, but not everyone knows just how big it truly is, so for scale let’s compare the gaming industry to another large industry, Film. Avengers: Endgame was awarded the biggest international box-office opening weekend of all time, pulling in $357,115,007 in ticket sales. Grand Theft Auto V was released on a Tuesday and made over $1 billion in mid-week sales upon its release. 

All this being said, those games you play that aren’t on traditional platform devices are still very much games. In fact, mobile gaming is the biggest contributor to the ever-expanding game market. With both Smartphones and Tablets combined, they make up just over half of the entire game market for 2018, pulling in over $70.3Bn.

That’s right, the mobile gaming market will contribute $70.3 Billion towards the overall global game market of 2018, which is forecast to bring in $137.9 Billion by the end of the year.Consider how the older millennial generation all grew up on gaming. Having a console in the house wasn’t just accepted but expected. As time and progress has occurred, the millennial generation and all who follow after them have grown up in a lifestyle in which games are a social outlet, an interactive alternative to television, and even a way in which they can make money.

As for the older generations, they have never been intuitive when it comes to adopting new technology, but they have always been open to simplified game formats. The mother that you recall playing solitaire on the family PC back in ’97 is the same mother who plays Words with Friends on her smartphone.

Getting back on track, the current gaming market is estimated to include over 2.3 Billion gamers across the globe and growing. As the generations get older, it can be expected that the millennial generation will be the first case of tech intuitive seniors that have a deeper love and understanding of gaming. This forecasts a market that is already worth hundreds of billions of dollars to continue to expand into unfathomable numbers over time.

According to Newzoo, the gaming market is projected to grow to $180.1 billion by 2021, that’s a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of +10.3% between 2017 and 2021. Considering that the global games market revenue was $70.6 billion in 2012, this puts the 10-year CAGR for the market (2012-2021) at +11.0%. 

These are truly remarkable numbers, considering how much of an accomplishment it would be for an individual company to maintain double-digit growth over a 10 year period, let alone an industry that has been around for multiple decades.In the span of a decade, mobile gaming will have grown from the smallest segment of the gaming market in 2012 to a 100-billion-dollar industry by 2021. In the next few years, mobile game revenue growth will continue to outpace the overall games market, growing to $106.4 billion in 2021. By then, smartphone and tablet games combined will generate 59% of revenues in the entire market.

The wildest part about mobile gaming’s ascent to the top of the gaming market is that its rise has not significantly cannibalised revenues from PC or console gaming markets. This can be chalked up to 2 things;

  1. Different product offerings

  2. Game streaming

Different Product Offerings

Smartphones and Tablets have the advantage of being more accessible, there aren’t too many of us carrying our PS4 and TV around for a quick game while commuting home from work, but they sure are limited in the capacity of games they can produce. That may have come off as negative but let me assure you it is not, as personally some of my favourite games are on mobile. Simply put, there is a roof to what mobile games are capable of offering.

Game Streaming

With the uprising of YouTube walkthrough videos and Twitch live streams, it is no wonder that PC and device games have managed to hold their own against the uptick in mobile gaming spend. Gaming content on YouTube spans a wide range: game news and reviews, instructional videos, people goofing off while playing games, and, of course, competitive gaming championships, also referred to as eSports.

What was once considered a niche market has now been found to be rather lucrative. I must confess that I never saw the appeal in watching a “Let’s Play” or an eSports tournament but then I thought about how others and myself draw satisfaction from watching cooking channels and Sports events and it all started to make sense to me. 

While the mobile version of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) may be the most popular mobile game right now, it's mobile streaming numbers simply can’t compete with twitch streams of PC, Xbox and PS4 versions of the game. This is chalked up to the game’s visuals being depreciated from the conversion of mobile screens to full-sized monitors and the mobile versions restrictive gameplay.


If you’re an opportunist, you would see that there is a large financial opportunity within mobile game development. With fresh game content in high-demand and software development programs like Unity, Gamify, Gamemaker Studio and so on, making game creation easier than ever before, you would be silly to sit idly by as this huge opportunity presents itself.

Equally so, if you’re a Digital Marketer that is looking for a way to reach your audience in an engaging and trackable matter, then branded mini-games are a timely solution. Company’s such as Gamify specialise in HTML5 push games for mobile and tablet devices. A quick and digestible game that can be used to convey a message, collect data or inspire a competition. Not to mention the opportunity for media placement within popular streaming channels and brand presence at eSports tournaments.

The popularity of gaming, specifically mobile gaming has seen an unprecedented level of growth and engagement in the past 10 years. Brands would be wise to take advantage of this new force in pop culture. It's rare that content with such a broad reach also commands such deep engagement.

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