Online gaming didn’t really take off until 2012. PC’s and consoles remained the big boys up until this point. Then things started to change. Mobile devices started to come to market with powerful processors, better memory and great versatility thanks to the cloud. It was at this point when mobile gaming truly began to compete with its counterparts, where gamers could even dock their devices to the big screen using devices like Nintendo Switch. Then, when the iPhone and App store became available, revenues went through the roof. New mobile titles like Fortnite and Overwatch now compete with classics like FIFA, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. The sales of mobile hardware, like Nintendo Switch, are equally impressive. By 2021, the market share of mobile gaming is forecast at 59%, generating around $180 billion in global earnings, a far cry from 22% for consoles and 19% for PCs.
Smartphones continue to be the most popular gaming device in the UK, as used by 42% of gamers. This is followed by 32% who prefer consoles, and finally, 26% who favour PC games.
The truth is that both console and mobile gaming will continue to grow. However, mobile gaming is expected to grow at a greater rate. There are lots of different reasons why this will probably happen. Firstly, the number of smartphone users worldwide now exceeds five billion. Impressive, considering the actual world population is around 7.6 billion. Mobile devices are also incredibly accessible, sitting in your pocket virtually everywhere you go. Considering the amount of time most of us spend checking our social platforms and messages, we’re also likely to spend some time playing classic games like Candy Crush Saga or Words with Friends as well.
What we will say, however, is that mobile gaming hasn’t overtaken the likes of PC or console gaming. Instead, it has boosted the gaming market overall. Many games and their variations are now available across all formats. For instance, online poker games are available across a range of formats, this is also true of popular titles such as FIFA and Call of Duty. So, although mobile gaming is hugely popular, there’s no sign of consoles or PC gaming becoming obsolete any time soon. There’s still definitely a firm place for both. Something further clarified by the impending release of the PS5 later this year.
One particular strength of the games console or PC is that it supports 4K displays, which many gamers love for their sharp graphics and clarity. Mobiles often do not have the graphics cards nor processing power to support this, except for a couple of devices such as the Sony Xperia Z5. But even this phone experiences issues with high resolution, like quick draining of the battery. So, if you’re thinking of buying a game like FIFA, Battlefield, Need for Speed or Witcher any time soon, you’re going to need to invest in the right hardware to get the most from it.
Before the invention of smartphones or mobile gaming, the only options for gamers were PC gaming or consoles. Once more and more people started to buy smartphones, and improvements were made to them, this was when mobile gaming started to take off. Lots of different titles started to become available through the app store, and mobile gaming began to compete with well-known classics. Today, mobile gaming is more popular than PC or console gaming. Nevertheless, there is still a place for the latter. Particularly for hardcore gamers who demand high def graphics which cannot be replicated on mobile.
So what could gaming look like in the future? We think that publishers will continue to create ‘cross-platform’ games, enabling people to play their favourite titles regardless of the hardware they are using. We also believe that the conversion of popular PC games into mobile formats will also continue, just like what happened with GTA Vice City and Borderlands. As smartphones continue to become more and more powerful, we may also witness the transfer of classic PC or console games into the mobile format.
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