Mobile gaming has been growing astronomically for the last several years. The latest statistics show that mobile games contribute 66 percent of the App store revenue, and there are over 2.69 billion mobile game players across the globe. In recognition of this amazing feat and anticipation of even more growth, let’s review the top mobile gaming trends of 2022.
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1. Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions have become commonplace in the mobile gaming sector over the last couple of years. Between 2020 and 2021, some notable acquisitions involving Zynga and Embracer group hit the headlines. Zynga acquired two large developers based in Turkey, 80 percent of Rollic Games for $180 million and Peak Games for $1.8 billion. A trend emerged of mobile gaming giants absorbing small and mid-sized developers, and experts expect this trend will continue this year.
But why exactly are gaming companies merging? IDFA regulations. When IDFA devaluation made it more difficult for gaming publishers to obtain users through ad networks, they started looking for different ways to get users. Mergers and acquisitions allow publishers to develop extensive user bases and find more users through cross-promotion.
2. IDFA Regulations
Speaking of IDFA regulations, the privacy changes that came with this had a resounding and lasting impact on the games market. The updates were activated over a year ago, but most gaming publishers are still struggling to find users amid the posed challenges. Previously, publishers would outsource user acquisition to the Facebook Ad and Data factory.
After the changes, they are now forced to request permission from users through prompts to track their data. A declined prompt means the publisher can no longer track the user’s data. This has made targeted marketing very difficult.
Since the regulations are unlikely to be dropped, a new trend has emerged of publishers coming up with innovative out-of-the-box advertising ideas. This trend should persist for a while.
3. Subscription Mobile Gaming
Many non-gaming apps use subscriptions as a monetization method. Publishers and gaming experts predicted that the gaming industry would adopt this system, and they have since. Today, Microsoft and Apple Arcade are giants in the subscription-gaming sector. Players pay a $15 monthly subscription fee to get access to Microsoft-owned games and titles from other participating third-party developers. This landscape has proven popular with many gamers thanks to the value and convenience it offers compared to one-off game purchases. Recent statistics show that 3 in 4 millennial gamers and about half of all gamers report using subscription gaming services.
4. Mobile Esports Viewing
Mobile esports is one of the most monumental market trends in the gaming industry this year. In 2020, about half a billion people were viewing esports, largely due to the COVID-19-related lockdowns. Experts believe this number will rise in 2022 since esports seems to be getting more popular by the day. Nielsen reports that 71 percent of millennial gamers watch game-related online videos or gaming content on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Players aged between 18 and 25 also say watching other gamers play is more fun than viewing traditional sports. In response to these user behaviors, more game developers are implementing Twitch integration.
5. Changing Gaming Demographics
Video gaming is becoming a regular part of everyday life. Consequently, games are no longer geared towards kids or teenagers or marketed as a hobby, and the gaming demographic is changing rapidly. With the increased accessibility, the advent of mobile gaming, and the improvement of content over the last decade have come older players. Additionally, more women are playing video games now, accounting for 45 percent of the total gamers in the US in 2021. This number was only 41 percent in 2020 and 38 percent in 2007. If this trend holds, the split will soon reach 50-50.
6. Hyper-Casual Games
An industry trends report by SensorTower shows that hyper-casual games topped the gaming charts in 2020. In 2019, the casual game Among Us was one of the most successful games of the year. In 2020, hyper-casual games were installed over 10 billion times. Experts postulate that many gamers turned to casual games during the COVID-10 pandemic, possibly to find relaxation. Causal games are fun, very easy to play, and relaxing. In 2022, their demand persists, and the hyper-casual games sector is likely to keep growing.
Newzoo predicts that, by the end of 2023, there will be over 3.07 billion mobile gamers globally. By these numbers alone, it is safe to say that the growth witnessed in the gaming industry is not slowing down any time soon. Every year will likely be different, but 2022 looks like it will be shaped by trends like hyper-casual games and mergers and acquisitions, among others.