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How Much is the Mobile Gaming Market Worth?

by Peter Smalls on 11/28/17 09:54:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


In 2016, the mobile gaming market was responsible for 37% of the total share of the gaming industry. That’s a huge figure when you consider the limitations that are placed on mobile devices and the fact that they are so far behind consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4 in terms of capability.  (/)

But the strange thing is that this number is growing, Mobile games are increasingly becoming a staple in the industry and it looks like they could soon become bigger than console and PC gaming combined. In fact, the industry in 2017 is said to be worth close to $110 billion, of which 42% (a 5% increase on last year) comes from mobile gaming.

Where the Money Is

The console and PC gaming industries are growing still, with consoles performing better than PCs and gradually pulling away from them in terms of money generated. This year, the PC gaming industry will reach $29 billion, propelled forward by fan favorites such as The Sims 3, MMORPG subscriptions from games like Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft, and runaway indie tiles such as Cuphead (which has sold over 1 million copies to date).

The console gaming industry will generate close to $34 billion. They don’t have as varied of a range and the indie market isn’t as big, but with blockbuster titles like Call of Duty WWII, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and sports franchise titles like FIFA and Madden, who needs them?

What About Mobile Gaming?

Well, when you have the likes of Pokemon Go said to have generated over $1.5 billion in revenue alone, then it’s easy to see how this industry has been able to grow so quickly. On top of the big app store successes, including billion dollar titles like Mobile Strike, Game of War, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga, you have the mobile games being produced on handheld consoles such as the new 3DS.

You might not think much of this console, considering nothing that Nintendo have produced in the handheld console market has had the global and historic impact as the initial Gameboy, but the truth is that many releases have come very close to the original Gameboy in sales. That’s because the gaming market is so much bigger today than it has ever been, so while they don’t have a dominant share, they are appealing to a much bigger market.

The original Gameboy and the Gameboy Color sold close to 120 million, but the Nintendo DS sold over 155 million and the 3DS has sold 70 million. To give you an idea of how impressive of a feat this is, the Xbox One has only sold an estimated 25 million units. In fact, in terms of competition against home consoles, how about this: the 3DS has sold more units than the Sega Master System, Dreamcast, Saturn and Genesis combined. It has also sold more than the Nintendo 64 and original Xbox combine.

Mobile gaming is not something that us hardcore gamers pay a lot of attention to, but it is able to access a market that home consoles and PC games can not. That has allowed it to operate at a huge profit over the years and the fact that it is now winning over the hearts of console and PC gamers means it is growing at a frightening pace.

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