The gaming industry had been steadily growing for several years, but 2020 brought a massive boost. With more time on their hands, gamers spent more time (and money) on games across platforms. Games evolve, but where are the audiences after a record-breaking year? We asked GlobalWebIndex about the current gaming landscape.
The GWI Gaming Playbook contains data from 15 countries, giving a global view of gamers’ online and offline lives. Mobile gaming now offers more options for both players and spectators, especially esports. This recap will focus on GWI’s mobile game research and how the pandemic has pushed the platform to new heights.
During the “Gaming Boom,”
It’s easy to believe the gaming boom began during the pandemic. Animal Crossing and Among Us had become household names, and gamers of all ages were hooked. In reality, the gaming audience was already huge and growing steadily rather than exponentially. The real change was in how it demanded time and how people played.
Eighty-one percent of gamers use mobile devices, while 65 percent use PC/laptop. Smartphone gamers, in particular, may not be the most enthusiastic, but 37% play daily. Smartphone gamers mostly play for fun. They play for fun and to escape reality. Storylines and narratives are less critical, with only 18% citing them. The survey also asked about gamers’ frustrations. The biggest gripe for smartphone gamers (32%) was lag. 31% said it might be too costly to proceed. Most mobile games are free but require microtransactions to progress. We found that most gamers would rather watch rewarded video ads than pay for in-app rewards.
Mobile Gaming’s Evolution
Gaming apps have been viewed as “casual” titles compared to console and PC/laptop games. New hardware and big-name franchises like Fortnite and League of Legends have recently widened the smartphone experience landscape. In-depth and expansive mobile games have replaced the classic puzzle and word games.
Despite this growth, players’ motivations for mobile games are still lacking. Storylines and the chance to compete online are still luring players to gaming apps. Video games have been doing that for decades. However, mobile games are not far behind. As franchises invest in mobile games and technology advances, mobile games can provide richer experiences for audiences that go beyond simple entertainment.
Mobile Brings in New Esports Fans
Brands are turning to esports for their ability to reach a specific demographic. There is much to learn about esports and its fans before fully utilizing this platform for advertising. GWI discovered that mobile is the top esports viewing device at 69%, followed by laptops/PCs at 66%. Mobile, like gaming, will fuel the growth of esports. Since mobile is so low-cost, many new followers have found it.
While China has long had a thriving mobile esports scene, the report notes that India has enormous potential for an emerging esports market. The country’s gaming industry is worth $930 million and ranks 5th globally in mobile gaming. According to GWI, 84 percent of Indian gamers are interested in esports.