During the pandemic, the mobile gaming industry took a turn for the better, and there are no signs of it slowing down in the foreseeable future.
According to a study by marketing intelligence company International Data Corporation (IDC) and advertising platform LoopMe, mobile gameplay experienced a noticeable increase in several countries ever since COVID-19 broke out, and 75% of the pandemic-motivated mobile gaming is likely to persist in the next two years.
What exactly did the researchers find, and what are these findings’ implications on game studios? In this article, we tackle the study’s key numbers and how companies can benefit from them.
The Study on Mobile Gaming During the Pandemic
Through localized surveys, which had taken place in April 2021, IDC and LoopMe asked 3,850 smartphone users from different countries about their mobile gaming habits. These countries are the US, UK, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore.
According to IDC, their decision to survey respondents from said locations stems from a need to see the differences among countries that COVID-19 greatly impacted and those it did not.
Mainly, the surveys contained questions regarding the respondents’ “existing gaming activities [and] their intentions regarding future gameplay,” IDC notes.
All in all, the study was met with positive results. A 75% net rise in mobile gaming activity is apparently going to remain in the next two years. This forecasted sustained boost indicates a continuing demand for mobile games.
Equally notable is the researchers’ finding that 63% of respondents said the time they spend playing mobile games also increased. IDC found this is more prevalent among respondents from countries drastically affected by the pandemic.
Additionally, the study reveals that users have engaged in mobile gaming during the pandemic because they want “to be entertained or just to pass the time”. Meanwhile, 4% or about 154 respondents said their motivation was socializing in a “safe” virtual environment. These interactions are particularly true for multiplayer games, the study reports.
One notable takeaway from the survey, which game studios should take note of, is the immense purchasing power of mobile game users. These users are the ones “making critical decisions for their households,” LoopMe’s vice president for marketing Rachel Confronti says.
Mobile games with an ad-based business model can make use of this data by targeting the needs of household decision makers as they spend a lot of time on their devices, Confronti adds.
But it’s also important to note that new gamers, or gamers who didn’t play before the pandemic, appear to be predominantly male and younger than the general population of pre-pandemic mobile gamers. It’s still important to take into account what types of games resonate well for specific audiences.
What This Means for Mobile Gaming Companies
In a nutshell, IDC and LoopMe’s study tells game studios that now is the best time to invest in mobile game production. Clearly, the demand for mobile gaming amid the pandemic is high.
Compared to the trend in Q4 2019, the number of downloaded mobile games in Q1 2021 is especially higher, a recent study by mobile analytics platform App Annie and IDC found. And while that’s pretty impressive, it’s not the number gaming companies should pay attention to.
Because the number gaming companies should be looking at is how much mobile games were earning in Q1 2021 — a massive $1.7 billion per week.
Some Notes on Mobile Gaming During the Pandemic
Mobile gaming is presently the leading mode of gaming, surpassing PC and Mac, home consoles, and handheld consoles, App Annie reports. The study partly attributes this rise to mobile games offering “console-like graphics and gameplay experiences,” TechCrunch says.
In addition to the high fidelity graphics, “real-time online features” further supplement mobile games’ popularity. According to TechCrunch, mobile games with these features do pretty well on app stores’ top grossing charts.
However, while mobile games’ increased demand coincides with the pandemic, another study shows mobile gaming ads drive the upward trend in installs.
AppsFlyer’s study says non-organic installs, or mobile game downloads that were driven or attributed to ads, went up by 69% in 2020 as mobile game developers zeroed in on their marketing efforts, Marketing Dive reports.
The study also found US-based users preferred playable ads and rewarded video ads or ads that give something in exchange in-game.
Types of Mobile Games You Can Build During the Pandemic
Given all the figures in mobile gaming, you’ve decided to start working on your mobile game projects ASAP!
Before you do that, we want to provide you with another important insight. Exactly what types of mobile games are performing well?
Well, we found a list of the best mobile games according to more than 260,000 votes and nearly 43,000 votes on the website Ranker. Based on the top 20 on the list, these genres tend to perform the best.
- Battle royale
What we observed lines up with the studies’ findings, and it is that many people are motivated to play games because of the social interactions it affords users. This is what makes multiplayer games so popular.
Moreover, the survival games on the list’s top 20, including Among Us and Fortnite, tend to be multiplayer as well. This is also true for battle royale games, which are generally multiplayer.
As for action games, we noticed this genre is often paired with another genre, such as adventure games and role-playing games. The list’s open-world games and sandbox games, which are games that allow players to customize their environment, also have multiplayer modes, another testament to the mobile gaming community’s need for a social world.
According to a new study by IDC and LoopMe, a majority of pandemic-motivated mobile gameplay will likely remain in the next two years. This is a huge opportunity for game studios to churn out quality mobile gaming content.
In another study, an important insight studios should know is a good way to complement a mobile game release is by promoting it with reward video ads and playable ads to drive sales.
Presently, the top-performing mobile gaming genres according to a Ranker list are multiplayer games, survival games, action games, battle royale games, open-world games, and sandbox games.
Most of these genres have multiplayer modes, further attesting to people’s motivation to social in-game during the pandemic.
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