Mobile gaming and entertainment have undergone plenty of transformations and growth over the past five years. The advancement of mobile tech has meant that software developers, gaming houses and app publishers have really been able to push the envelope with respect to gaming product innovation. However, there’s one sector of the industry that is really beginning to lead the field. Despite the emergence of “blockchain”, “cryptocurrency” and “augmented reality” as words du jour within the industry, it is iGaming that has the potential to shape the future of gaming in the mobile sector.
A valuable market
To put things into context a bit, total consumer expenditures on gaming as a whole (which covers everything from PC gaming to mobile devices) was £66 billion in 2017. The value of mobile gaming during the same period was a staggering £35.4 billion—a total of 43% of the global market—and money spent on iGaming contributed significantly to that figure. The UK’s remote iGaming market alone has tripled in value since 2014, when new legislation enabled leading brands like PokerStars to expand their range of products with developments like their Android app (which was also one of the first real-money apps Google allowed into the UK Play store last summer). At the end of 2017, just under £5 billion in revenue had been generated by the UK sector.
The power of mobile
Mobile use is becoming increasingly ubiquitous with each passing year. Kepios recently released their updated statistics for global digital and mobile use, which reveal that 68% of the surveyed population now own and use a mobile phone. Mobile devices are also beginning to overtake traditional laptops and desktop PCs as the preferred method of getting online, accounting for 52% of all global web traffic.
Developers are no stranger to the power of mobile in the gaming industry. Thanks to the sheer amount of time individuals spend on mobile devices each day, it is easier than ever to attract new gamers. And since more developers and software companies are focusing solely on mobile innovation, such as mobile-only releases, iGaming has naturally entered the mainstream. More recently, however, mobile casinos and real money apps have begun to outperform other categories, and this largely comes down to their universal appeal with adult gamers.
Appealing across the board
One huge factor in the growth of iGaming is that, in contrast to games and apps belonging to other categories, iGaming isn’t restricted by demographics. Activities like playing online casino games, taking part in live poker games on mobile devices, and even placing wagers on your favourite sports teams appeal to tech-savvy younger generations and more mature users alike. The idea of playing for real prizes without having to leave home is attractive to gamers across the board!
Interestingly, there has also been a noticeable increase in the number of female mobile users in the iGaming sector; the female population accounted for 49% of total UK users in 2015. Although it is typically viewed as more of a masculine pursuit, mobile gaming strongly resonates with female players because it enables them to play with confidence in an environment they feel comfortable in. Brands have also begun to tap into this continuously-emerging market by creating women-only releases and female-centric platforms.
Looking to the future
One of the key takeaways from iGaming that could dramatically shape the future of the mobile gaming sector involves the strong, emotional connection gamers make with these apps and games. Other games within the sector are incapable of offering players complete control over both the journey and the outcome of the pursuit. However, in iGaming, players create their own experiences based entirely on the decisions that they make at that time. Because there is something of value at stake (as with a game of mobile poker, for example), gamers of all demographics do become emotionally invested in its outcome, which therefore creates a strong relationship between the player and the product. It should then come as no surprise that forecasts predict the global iGaming industry will be worth a meteoric $59.7 billion by the year 2020.