Guest Blog: Mobile Gaming’s Growth Shows No Signs Of Stopping
It started with Angry Birds. It reached new heights with Candy Crush. Flappy Bird was so addictive that it’s creator stopped selling it for the common good. The growth of mobile gaming has been quick, incredible, and all-encompassing.
While mobile has become so pervasive that sites like Gambling.com have entire sections devoted to reviewing mobile casinos where players can win real money, and every film and console release needs a spin-off mobile game in the app store on release day, it wasn’t always seen as such an obvious idea. Previous failures in handheld gaming like the Neo Geo had studios wary of devoting resources to games for phones, pessimistic about how effective games could be on cell phones.
Thankfully, some developers saw the opportunity to get their products into the pockets of almost everyone on the planet, just a brief period of downtime and a few screen taps away from billions of eyeballs. All they had to do was figure out the right formula.
The first real hit game, and still one of the biggest in the industry, is the Angry Birds franchise. Released for the first time in late 2009, the franchise currently includes 12 games between the main series and spin-offs. Games have featured pop culture touchstones such as Star Wars and Transformers to bring fresh takes to the games as well as appeal to new audiences, which it has certainly done. A little over four years after launching, Angry Birds games have been downloaded over 2 billion times and boasts 200 million active users every month, an audience on par with Twitter. Countless toys and pieces of apparel have been sold with the titular birds adorning them, and there are multiple theme parks currently in operation based around the games. It’s a massive success, and helped prove that there was a massive and profitable market for mobile gaming.
Others have taken notice, and taken advantage. Game like Candy Crush and Flappy Bird have taken the zeitgeist by storm in the years since Angry Birds showed everyone else how to do it. Now, anyone looking to make a video game has to take mobile platforms into account, and sometimes that includes those outside of the gaming industry.
A prominent example is Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows, who wanted to make a traditional console game before learning of the cost and time commitment it would require. Instead, he turned his attention to mobile platforms and the resulting game, Hail to the King: Deathbat, is slated for release this week as an action RPG heavily influenced by Shadows’ love of classic games. Shadows even went so far as to call games “the next music video” and espouse the ability to tell a story through the medium.
He certainly isn’t going to be the last to see things that way, not with the way the industry is growing. The global revenue from mobile gaming currently sits at over $10 billion annually, and is expected to eclipse $14 billion by 2017. With that kind of money up for grabs, and the patterns created by past successes so clearly available to anyone that wants to study them, the mobile games industry looks poised for continued growth for a long time to come.