Sunday, 05 February 2017 17:33

Game on for mobile games market with US$40 billion in revenues

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Unity Technologies - Star Crawlers by Juggernaut Games Unity Technologies - Star Crawlers by Juggernaut Games

The worldwide mobile games market is exploding, generating US$40.6 billion in worldwide revenue in 2016 to now account for half of the entire global digital games market.

According to the latest report — "Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The 2016 Mobile Games Market" — from SuperData Research and games platform provider Unity Technologies, the mobile games market in 2016 grew 18% over the year before, which was a sum equivalent to all global box office sales during the same period.

And, according to the analysis by the two companies, Asia represents the largest mobile games market in the world, producing US$24.8 billion in revenue in 2016, while North America and Europe generated US$6.9 billion and US$5.7 billion respectively.

The report says that the “ever-growing” US mobile market represents a “tremendous opportunity for marketers, as now Americans play mobile game more often than they watch Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube”.

Americans spent 5% more year over year on mobile games in 2016, and the report says that number will continue to rise.

 “The sustained growth of the global mobile games market is helping to legitimise games in the traditional media landscape,” says Stephanie Llamas, vice-president of Research and Strategy at SuperData Research.

“The size of the market is also attracting the leading players in the gaming market, as can be seen with Activision’s Blizzard deal to buy King, and Tencent acquiring Supercell.”

The report also reveals that from Q1 to Q4 in 2016, the time spent on mobile games grew by 12% on iOS and 9% on Android respectively, with gamers averaging almost 30 minutes of play time each day.

As consumers continue to spend more time playing on mobile devices, the two companies say they expect mobile gaming will continue to “make strides towards the mainstream, giving marketers and developers an even greater opportunity to monetise this trend”.

Additional findings from the report include:

•    58% of mobile gamers play puzzle games, compared to 40% who play action games and 26% who play simulation games. Puzzle games don’t require high-level graphics and are ripe for on-the-go play.

•    However, action games represent 30% of the share of game installs by genre, while puzzle games represent 14%. Unlike puzzle games, action games are quick to play through, and retain players at 70% the rate that puzzle games do.

•    The US is the only country with more players on iOS than Android. Android gamers represent 78% of the global market, but iOS continues to yield higher spending overall.

•    In the US developers made on average 45% more on a player using iOS over Android, but in China, Android players were worth eight times more than iOS.

•    Indonesia tripled its potential for advertisers, seeing a 192% increase in installs in 2016. Spenders also play 84% more than the average Indian player, creating an undeniable opportunity for developers.

•    Users engaged with VR more often than they did with games, movie, or TV. Mobile VR users engaged in 48 sessions per month, while PC/console users engaged in 36 sessions per month.

•    Total VR revenue in 2016 was $1.8 billion, with 6.3 million devices sold. Samsung Gear VR came out as the leader with 4.5 million devices sold due to a low barrier to entry as compared to high-price competitors like Oculus.

The full report from Unity and SuperData Research is available here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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