Why the Growth of Mobile Gaming is Helping eSports
By Arthur Thomas
It wasn’t particularly surprising to see mobile's unprecedented growth last year given the
industry's vast improvement in technology and user experience. In an article by CCN, it was stated that there are about 2.2 billion gamers all over the world generating about $109 billion in revenue last year. The figures in 2017 were an increase of $7.8 billion from 2016. Last year, mobile gaming grew by 19%, claiming 42% of the total gaming market.
Much of the growth associated with mobile gaming is a result of groundbreaking smartphone technology. Out of the $46 billion of revenue that smartphones generated in 2017, approximately $35 billion of that was due to smartphone gaming.
The popularity of mobile gaming is influencing other areas of the gaming industry. Where once many mobile games were adapted versions of popular video games, now areas of the gaming industry are converting original mobile games to different gaming platforms. Last year, Gaming Realms struck a deal with Scientific Games Corp. The reason for this deal was to convert mobile-friendly games from Gaming Realm's flagship gaming portal Slingo, to different gaming platforms including handheld devices and video lottery terminals. The move showed how popular mobile gaming has become that it is now been sought by companies to expand to other formats.
With mobile gaming quickly gaining traction across different platforms, and covering more bases of the global gaming market, several eSports companies have recently integrated on-the-go features for their products and services in order to cater to the mobile gaming demographic. The latest company to have taken advantage of mobile gaming’s popularity is Blizzard Entertainment. On January 9, the company launched a dedicated app for their eSports game Overwatch. The app gives access to news stories, team profiles, interviews, game analysis, and rosters of available eSports teams. In addition to all of that, the app allows people to tune in to live games on the go so that dedicated eSports fans will never have to miss matches again.
Most of these features are already on the Overwatch League's website. However, game analysts say that the reason why Blizzard launched the app is because the company wants to close the gap between mobile and PC gamers.
Growth of mobile
The growth of mobile gaming helped eSports find the direction they need to take in 2018. In a report last year it was stated that people of all ages now play more games on their phone than any other device.
“Somebody’s going to create [these eSports games] for the touchscreen generation,” said the COO and Executive Director of Super Evil Megacorp Kristian Segerstrale. Super Evil Megacorp is the company behind the Vainglory series, one of the first Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) titles to have been developed for mobile. Super Evil Megacorp took a calculated risk, and their success is now being replicated by several other high profile companies who want a part of the mobile MOBA market.
Integration of eSports teams
Vainglory had a decent amount of returning players but that wasn't enough for the games to be placed alongside MOBA heavyweights such as Dota and League of Legends. The reason for this is because there were no eSports teams or superstars who supported the games. However, the appeal and growth of mobile gaming caught up and eventually got the attention of Gankstars -- one of the most popular eSports team in the world. According to them, what started as a casual guild to help friends play Vainglory, quickly turned into a household name in the rapidly growing world of competitive mobile gaming. Gankstars' success not only reflects the growing popularity of different eSports tiles but also the promise that the genre will be a mainstay on the iOS and Android platforms.
More MOBA games
The success of MOBA games is attracting indie game developers all over the world. Apart from a huge fan base, what makes MOBA development attractive is the fact that there are a lot of advertisers ready to pay for promising titles made by upstarts. In addition, in-app purchases help indie developers fund their day-to-day activities, with Gadgets Now reporting that about 85% of the gaming companies' revenue comes from in-game items. With the current popularity of mobile gaming, game analysts foresee 2018 to have more competitors for current mobile MOBA games such as Mobile Legends and Arena of Valor.
The year ahead looks promising for eSports, with elimination tournaments for different games already in full swing. As mobile gaming grows, so does eSports (and vice versa), and analysts believe this symbiotic relationship is what makes both industries successful in their own fields.
about the author
Arthur Thomas is a tech writer and avid gamer. When he isn’t writing about the future of the gaming industry, he is taking part in online tournaments. He wants to show through his articles that gaming is a positive and social platform.
Sign up for updates on what's happening around the PCX community.