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The State of Mobile Gaming: A Closer Look for Affiliates

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When mobile phones emerged in the early 1980s, many saw them as a temporary fad. Fast-forward three decades and they have invaded every corner of the globe. From India to Patagonia, there are now hundreds of thousands of phone models manufactured by hundreds of brands scattered across the world.

Additional advancements have also led to the development of ultra-powerful smartphones that have more raw capacity than the space shuttle that took the first men to the moon. In combination with the internet, smartphones gave way to another age-defining movement – mobile gaming.

While basic entertainment options have been a standard feature in mobile phones for more than 20 years, the birth and widespread of smartphones have provided the perfect conditions for mobile games to skyrocket.

Nokia is known for putting Snake on the majority of their phones.

Mobile games are now an extremely profitable industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down, partly due to the development of tablets and phablets, which are phones with a larger screen. What’s more, the industry is projected to keep growing at an alarming rate, especially when compared to other video game platforms.

In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of mobile gaming, go over the most popular platforms, and look at the future of the industry according to the current trends and projected numbers.

The Exponential Growth of the Mobile Gaming Industry

Although the popularity of different devices has definitely helped the expansion of gaming apps, it’s worth noting that mobile games are still competing against well-established platforms. PC and console games traditionally took most of the market share, but according to a new report by Newzoo, mobile gaming apps now take up 51% of the total market share in terms of raw revenue.


Image by Newzoo

From a popularity perspective, mobile games have also infiltrated virtually all demographics and geographical regions around the world. Some estimations claim that 56% of the US population played mobile games in 2016 alone, and that number is set to rise to more than 63% by 2020.


The timeline shows mobile phone gaming penetration in the United States from 2011 to 2015 as well as a forecast until 2020.

At the same time, mobile gamers consume a huge amount of data, with some estimating that the total amount of data used for gaming apps in 2018 will be 2,857 petabytes. And, just for those who are not aware, one petabyte is equivalent to one million gigabytes.

According to Newzoo’s study, the mobile games industry is valued at 70.3 billion US dollars, with smartphone games making up 41% of the total spend. Tablet games, on the other hand, are responsible for almost $14 billion, which make up a hefty 10% of the total market share.

Popular Gaming Genres and Platforms

The online gaming industry as a whole is booming, but this doesn’t mean that all games are growing at the same rate. Gaming apps target various demographics, which have different interest and behavioral patterns. This means that one of the best ways to look at the most popular games is by analyzing the monthly active users for each type of gaming app.

According to a survey conducted by SurveyMonkey Intelligence, the games that have the most active monthly users are arcade, adventure, puzzle, action, and simulation. Arcade, which is by far the most popular type of game, has more than 800,000 active users, but only rank third when it comes to time spent on the app.

When it comes to time spent on each game, the top performers’ list looks very similar, with a slight order arrangement. In this list, puzzles stand first as they take up 105 minutes per month, followed by casual, arcade, simulation, and adventure.

Subway surfers

The most popular gaming app (iOS) in the US (Q2), according to Statista

The two main mobile platforms are still iOS and Android devices, and games are the most popular application category by volume on Mac devices representing 25% of all available apps. On the other hand, it’s estimated that there are more than 650,000 gaming apps available on Android today, so it’ safe to assume that games have established themselves in the leading mobile platforms.

How Mobile Gaming is Shaping Different Industries

Gaming apps have become so profitable that they are starting to shape other industries, including mobile phones and entrepreneurship in general. There are unconfirmed rumors that Samsung is working on a gaming-focused smartphone that will be designed to run the most demanding games without any issues whatsoever. This trend started with the released of the Razer Phone and other gaming-oriented devices, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a big brand try to capitalize on this relatively obscure niche.

At the same time, many game publishers have learned to capitalize on opportunities despite lacking the creative or technical resources to come up with an attractive project. A lot of game developers have started to take inspiration from other games in order to develop their modified concept. These usually fare quite well, especially because they usually work as an unpaid version to the original game.

Besides shifting the gaming industry as a whole, some games can have a lasting impression on society as a whole and capitalize on consumers’ emotional reactions. Take Pokemon Go, for instance, the worldwide phenomenon that allowed millions of fans around the world to live their dream of catching and raising pocket monsters. And it also pissed off a lot of other folks.

Pokemon Go

Image by Google Play

Despite annoying some people, the app was a huge success that has proven to be more than a temporary fad. Pokemon Go generated more than $1.2 billion in its first year and continues to appear in the top 3 most downloaded apps for both Android and iOS devices.

What Does All This Mean for Affiliates?

Affiliates should be looking to capitalize on mobile apps, but they also need to tread carefully. Identifying the most profitable type and platform before attempting to enter the market is vital to the success of any gaming app, so make sure you take these into consideration when taking on any affiliate offers.

Stay tuned for more information on gaming apps and what the future holds for the industry!

P.S. What’s your favorite gaming app?


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