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Casual Connect 2017: Gaming industry is increasingly mobile-focused

by Lewis Leong on Aug 10, 2017

This year’s Casual Connect conference brought together the brightest minds in mobile gaming to share insights and advice. Panels given by various experts in their fields tackled topics like global user acquisition, monetization strategies, combating a stagnant market, and much more.

Electronic Arts (EA), a gaming industry giant, gave a talk about the growth of mobile and what the future holds for the gaming industry. Hosted by EA’s Senior Director of External and Business Development Jason Harris and Senior Manager of External Development Lauren Freeman, the panel discussed mobile gaming’s global rise.

To get a sense of how big mobile has gotten, the smartphone gaming market is currently projected to bring in $46.1 billion globally this year, according to Newzoo, a games and eSports marketing intelligence firm. By 2020, that number will increase 71% to $64.9 billion.  

Compared to other entertainment industries like Hollywood, mobile gaming already brings in as much revenue just as quickly. For example, the movie Avatar raked in $3.18 billion in 55 months, whereas Clash of Clans brought in $3.84 billion over the same time.

Casual Connect Newzoo global gaming numbers

Looking at specific regions, APAC promises the biggest opportunity for mobile game growth as mobile adoption proliferates. Specifically, countries like Vietnam and India offer the biggest areas of growth as mobile penetration sits at 53% and 33% respectively.

Although countries in APAC have lower mobile penetration than Tier 1 countries like the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, these countries still make up the majority of gaming revenue, holding 47%. Contrast that with North America’s 25% and you can see why all eyes are on APAC. Looking closer at the data, China accounts for $24.4 billion (+10.7% YoY) in games revenue in 2016 compared to the US’s $23.5 billion (+4.1% YoY).

Global games market forecast

China is also seeing a shift away from console, PC, and browser-based gaming to mobile, which is already bringing in 46% of the revenue in China’s overall gaming market. Looking even further, emerging technologies like AR and VR are expected to bring in $120 billion and $38 billion in revenue by 2020.

So what does all of this mean for developers?

Overall, there’s still massive opportunity within mobile gaming as mobile penetration increases globally. Video and gaming are also moving closer together with gaming video companies like Twitch pulling in more viewers than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined.

With mobile being the focus, there will be increased demand for external development. This means more companies will be looking for developers to port games across mobile platforms or to create high-quality assets. While AR and VR are emerging platforms, mobile will remain an area of growth for the foreseeable future.

For more Casual Connect 2017 coverage, make sure to read our panel recap about when and how to do global user acquisition. Check back soon for more panel recaps and analysis.

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Lewis Leong is AppLovin's Content Marketing Manager.

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