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The Rise of Mobile Games: Will Smartphones Replace Consoles?

The mobile gaming sector is right now the highest revenue earner in the whole gaming industry, with predictions suggesting that the total revenue could even cross the $100 billion mark by 2021. As of 2017, the revenues from mobile games formed about 46% of the total revenue earned by the entire gaming industry, and if that prediction does come true, that market share would increase to about 59%! This leads us to the question, considering the growth of the mobile gaming platform, will smartphones replace traditional consoles like the PS4 or the Xbox in near future? Let’s take a closer look at the various relevant factors and see if we can find an answer to that question.

Why are Smartphones So Popular with Gamers Nowadays?

The revenue generated by the industry is a clear indication of the fact that more people are interested in smartphone games than console or PC games, but how, why and when did this happen? Well, the answer is not something that is easy to explain in one sentence, so let’s break it down into a few important points.

Gamers have not Switched, the Gaming Population has Exploded – It isn’t like traditional PC and Console gamers have switched over to mobile games, but more like the accessibility of mobile games have attracted a huge number of casual gamers to the industry. Most of the people who play and spend money on mobile games do not usually play on consoles or PCs, while PC and console gamers might play a few mobile games every now and then; it is very rare to find gamers who have switched over completely to the mobile platform.

Support from Developers – In realization of the mobile platform’s growth, more and more game developers and online casinos have started supporting the platform. The popular Stakers Online Casino has now extended full support towards all iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets, in addition to laptops and desktops. Blizzard just announced a mobile-exclusive Diablo: Immortal as well, further indicating the shift towards concentrating on iOS and Android platforms on the developer’s part.

Better Games are Now Coming to Mobile – Both PUBG and Fortnite are playable on mobile, and that is something which no one thought would happen even just two years ago. Now, with the controversial announcement of Diablo: Immortal, there is no doubt that both iOS and Android operating systems have a much better list of games than before, and some of them are even catering to traditional online gamers.

PUBG

What Advantages Do Smartphones Have Over Consoles?

Smartphones do have some significant, real-life advantages over traditional consoles and they can be summed up as the following:

  1. The mobility factor that allows players to access games on the go is a huge advantage.
  2. Everybody already has a smartphone, so additional investment in buying dedicated gaming hardware is unnecessary to play mobile games.
  3. Most of them are inherently easier to play due to the limitation of the touch control mechanics, which makes mobile games more accessible for everyone.
  4. A smartphone serves as multiple gadgets in one device, so spending money on a high-end device seems more justified to most people who are not hardcore gamers.
  5. Unlike console games, mobile games are usually freemium, which means that they are free to play for everyone, with optional, purchasable in-app items.
  6. Even the premium games that ask for a one-time payment are generally a lot cheaper than console games.
  7. Mobile games are much more open and social experience, accessible to almost everyone.

Does the Console Have Anything Going for It?

In all honesty, games on consoles are way ahead of mobile games in terms of quality, depth, content, gameplay, graphics, animation, sound, control and just about everything else you can think of. They also do not generally have as many microtransactions in them as freemium mobile games do, except in a few shameful instances such as the FIFA series or Star Wars: Battlefront II. Sure, the initial price is significantly higher in most cases, but more often than not, it’s a pittance compared to what people end up spending in freemium games.

Why is the Console Making Less Money than Mobile Then?

In spite of being better at everything, consoles are losing out to mobile phones. Puzzling as it may seem at first, things start to make more sense when you take a second look at the points we just discussed. Hardcore gaming does have a huge market, but the target audience is quite small. While everyone loves looking at brilliant graphics and superb, cinematic gameplay, the number of people that are willing to spend the time necessary to master complicated controls and gameplay mechanics are not very high. Most people would rather play casual games on their mobile phones, while they take a break from work, or sit down on the sofa to relax after a busy day. Then there is also the question of price; buying gaming consoles, accessories and the games themselves just seems like a lot of investment for casual gamers to make, even when a modular, portable console like the Nintendo Switch is available.

Will Mobiles Replace Consoles in the Future Then?

Nobody has seen the future and it would be impossible to comment on what it holds, without taking a huge leap of faith. Nevertheless, it would be highly unlikely that smartphones will completely replace consoles anytime soon. The reason as to why this can be estimated with confidence is because the stats show a steadily increasing growth in the console gaming sector as well. After all, consoles are the second biggest revenue earners right now, even ahead of the mighty PC. Don’t let the dropping market share mislead you into believing that console companies are losing money, because it isn’t as simple. While it is true that console revenues seem to have dropped when you look at the market share, the truth is that the revenues have increased in terms of sheer numbers, but mobile gaming has expanded at a much higher rate. The lost market share would indeed be a reason to worry, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the total number of gamers has also increased tremendously in the last two years and most of the new gamers were mobile gamer, to begin with, and, therefore, were never exactly the target audience for console companies.