by Jessica Oaks
Video games used to come with a stigma. The idea that rather than getting out, being active and interacting with others, gamers stayed locked away in their basements, engaging only in virtual relationships and developing a Vitamin D deficiency. Those stereotypes have quickly been shattering, however, with the emergence and immense popularity of mobile gaming.
In 2013, there were 909 million mobile gamers worldwide, nearly half of which resided in the Asia Pacific region, and 146 million of which came from North America.
Suddenly, mobile gaming isn’t just for the anti-social, it’s for everyone. And that’s not just triggering a shift in social order, it’s also changing the tides in marketing – specifically demanding that marketers and manufacturers pay attention to the fast-growing demographic of the mobile gamer.
Exponential Growth of Mobile Gamers
We all know that mobile is in demand and shows no signs of stopping. Consumers now come to expect the ability to complete nearly all daily tasks via their smartphone whether it be sending emails, browsing the web, watching videos or even paying for products. And while growth has always been predicted in the gaming industry, exponential growth in the past year has caused some industry analysts to re-crunch the numbers. Newzoo, a video game research firm, reported that 2014 revenue for mobile gaming was $25 billion – up 43% over revenues from 2013. And 2015 is expected to exceed that same growth with some projecting as much as $40 billion in revenue by 2017.
One of the reasons why mobile gaming has been afforded this growth, is due to the improving technologies that support the industry. Serious gamers won’t settle for slow speeds and poor graphics, so companies like Qualcomm, maker of the Snapdragon processor, have upped their game when it comes to GPUs. These GPUs can deliver 2D and 3D experiences to deliver an experience that is as authentic as it is on a traditional console.
How Mobile Gaming Marketing Will Change
The tremendous growth predicted in this industry means that marketers will have a wealth of new opportunities to capture their audience.
Here are just a few ways that might be manifested in 2015:
More Brands Advertising. According to flurry, four out of five smartphone owners have played a game on their device, and nearly 46% of adults play games on a daily basis. While previous stereotypes of the gaming industry have led some advertisers to steer clear of this market – it is not clear that may not be the best move. This year, we will continue to see larger brands who previously shied away from gaming, enter the market.
Changes in Ad Delivery. Mobile users, particularly gamers, tend to be pretty wise when it comes to ad consumption so moving forward, we will see marketers try to more seamlessly blend advertising with the mobile gaming experience. Instead of banner ads or pop-ups, expect to see more videos and elements that organically integrate and don’t disrupt the user experience.
Social Integrations. Gaming has become more social and interactive in itself, and in 2015, we can expect to see more integrations with various social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. According to AppLift VP Strategic of Development, Maor Sadra, social media platforms, will create a virality-based ecosystem which puts users in the driving seat and vindicates their preferences. This will increase supply and improve ROI for advertisers.
While it remains to be seen precisely how marketers will integrate these new strategies, one thing does seem to be clear – if marketers miss the boat on the gaming industry, they’ll be leaving a lot of users (and a lot of money) on the table.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.