Jan 6, 2022 - Technology

The future of mobile gaming

Alien Isolation for mobile

Alien Isolation for mobile. Screenshot: 20th Century Studios/Sega

The mobile gaming scene is likely to get more games in 2022 that were also made for PC and console, TouchArcade editor-in-chief Jared Nelson tells Axios.

Why it matters: Mobile is already the biggest sector in gaming, but what constitutes a mobile game is rapidly changing.

  • For decades, most of the big games on mobile were entirely different than the hit games on other platforms.
  • The lines are blurring thanks to more powerful mobile devices and because console and PC game makers want a piece of the giant mobile market.
  • “It seems silly to ignore the literal billions of potential customers who own smartphones and tablets,” Nelson said.

Between the lines: Mobile’s crossover games can be ports (new versions of old PC/console games) or multiplatform (launching at or close to the same time on console/PC and mobile).

State of play: One of the biggest games in the world, Genshin Impact, runs on mobile and console.

  • Ubisoft and Activision both plan to release new installments of big console/PC franchises on mobile this year.
  • League of Legends came to mobile in late 2020, and Pokemon Unite thrives on Switch and mobile.

The big picture: The mobile gaming market generated $93.2 billion last year and comprised 52% of the industry, according to industry tracker Newzoo

  • Consoles had 28% of the market, PCs 20%, according to Newzoo.
  • In the U.S., where consoles are the largest sector, mobile is less than half of the market. 
  • It also faces more of a stigma among hardcore gamers in the region, though Nelson believes is finally changing thanks to crossover releases like Call of Duty and League of Legends on mobile.

The bottom line: A lot of attention is paid to the growing size of the mobile gaming scene, but Nelson emphasizes that the quality of mobile gaming is also on the rise.

  • He tried more than 500 mobile games last year and is impressed with many indies and bigger publisher creations.
  • His site, which is supported by a Patreon, remains a go-to for people seeking news about the best new titles in a field flooded with constant releases.
  • “It was a good year for mobile games,” he said. “As long as you're willing to put in some effort to find the worthwhile stuff, I don't think mobile has ever had a bad year.”
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