There is no denying that the gaming industry is huge. It has been huge for decades. However, this industry has had another big boost with the recent pandemic and shift in online preferences. And the popularity and revenue of this industry are enough to impress anyone. Consider that there are now approximately 2.7 billion active mobile gamers in the world right now.
With that number of users, it should be no surprise that mobile gaming is big business, with consumer spending on mobile games reaching $116 billion in 2023 – a figure expected to grow to $138 billion by 2025. And how people are accessing games is changing. For instance, mobile gaming on smartphones now accounts for almost 50% of the total video gaming revenue worldwide. The top markets include the United States, China, Japan, and India. But the industry is constantly changing and evolving in surprising ways.
There are a few reasons mobile gaming has grown so much in the last few years.
- Smartphone prevalence: Previously, gaming was restricted to time spent in front of a television using a console or a proprietary device used specifically for gaming. However, the increase in smartphone prevalence means that gaming is now at our fingertips anytime we want to play. And with 3.9 billion smartphone users worldwide (more than half of the global population of 7 billion), games are readily available at any time.
- More casual games: Many console-based games can be quite intense, requiring the player’s total concentration while playing. By contrast, many mobile games are very casual. The player can interact for a few minutes or a few hours without impacting their score or level. Additionally, many games allow users to multi-task. For instance, the user could be watching a movie while playing, simply shifting their attention back and forth. These games are easy to drop in and out of and can be played while doing other tasks, which has enhanced their popularity.
- Enhanced accessibility: Creating a new game for a console can be an expensive endeavor that requires the talents of many people working together. Mobile games can be developed and released with a relatively lean team and much less investment, which has been part of the reason that they are so popular. And with many game options, the industry can attract players of any type – many of which don’t consider themselves gamers. They are simply passing the time on a mobile game while engaging with their smartphone.
Taken together, these factors have contributed to the substantial growth of the gaming industry in recent years – and the revenue generated from gaming. Even though many people can interact with games casually, there are often options for low-cost in-app purchases, which add up to big bucks when you consider how many people are making purchases and how frequently they are made.
Along with increased popularity, the demographics of modern gamers may be surprising to many people. Video games are no longer dominated by youth or males (although they still make up a large group of users). Rather, mobile games are reaching nearly every demographic group. People over the age of 55 make up almost a quarter of mobile gamers. Additionally, nearly two-thirds (63%) of mobile gamers are women.
John Vitti, CEO of VersusGame, recognizes the wide appeal of games when he states, “Over the past two decades, gaming has flourished from a popular pastime into the focal point of entertainment as we know it. Gaming is part of life for most people but is a way of life for many (young) consumers. Gen Z has helped the evolution of competitive gaming. From what I have seen, about 70%-80% of Gen Z and Millennials are gamers. This being said, about 40% of Baby Boomers are still game! And let’s not forget about Gen Z! I would say about 60% of Gen Z play games as well. The way I look at it is, Gamers will always game.”
Gaming is a big business that impacts nearly all populations. And when we are talking about gaming revenues and money in the gaming industry, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just gaming developers and providers profiting from the increased popularity. Some gaming apps let users or players make money as well.
Some games also pay users for taking surveys. And this is often a win-win. The players have a chance to get real-world money from an enjoyable task. And the app developer can still make money through ad placements. In fact, Vitti went on to share that, “A unique monetization strategy that app developers are using to keep current gamers on board as well as influence new gamers to join is a way of connecting the gamers and users to the real world, mixed in with real prizes and real cash.”
And while the majority of users may only win small amounts of money, sometimes there are big bucks on the line, with some games offering jackpots in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. Given this, it’s no wonder why many people may look into mobile gaming with cash prizes. There are multiple incentives:
- You may already be playing. With gaming being so prevalent, there is a good chance that many people are already investing time to the games – so why not shift the focus and play ones that can result in real money? It won’t cost the user any additional time or effort.
- Everyone could use a little extra money. With inflation rates reaching a high not seen in four decades, many families are feeling the financial pinch. And while most side hustles involve getting another job or working in some way, paid mobile games provide an opportunity to make money without extra work. In fact, you can earn while doing something you love.
- It’s fun. There is a reason mobile gaming is so popular. It’s fun. And with many people experiencing higher rates of stress than they have in the past, everyone needs a healthy outlet that lets them decompress and relax. Gaming is a great way to relax, have fun – and make money while doing it!
The mobile gaming industry isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it is on track to continue growing exponentially in the coming years. As smartphones continue to become more accessible, more mobile gamers across all demographic groups and geographic areas of the world will join the fun. The combination of these trends will likely increase the popularity of games that offer cash prizes – since users get the benefits of gaming with a financial incentive!