Emerging Markets Bolster Mobile Gaming Growth



Emerging Markets Bolster Mobile Gaming Growth.

The mobile gaming economy is booming. Just look at the stats – market research firm Newzoo recently found that the number of mobile gamers worldwide is expected to increase to 1.82 billion in 2017. 

That's a lot of screentime! And mobile takes up nearly a quarter of the total global gaming market, which is set to exceed $41b in that same year.

It's easy to understand why. In surveys, gaming is one of the most popular things people do with their smartphones – ranking only behind staying connected with loved ones on social media. Every demographic you can think of plays mobile games, from the simple tap and touch games toddlers can't get enough of and pet sims that keep the elderly engaged. In between, women ages 18 and up are now starting to dominate the mobile gaming world in the US. That's because there's practically no limit to app store offerings. There are racing, puzzle, arcade, adventure, sim and strategy games in equal measure, which means there is something for everyone.

But when it comes to the rapid rise of mobile gaming worldwide, it's not broadening demographics or the near unlimited titles driving the boom. For the fastest growth you need to look toward emerging markets. All signs point to Southeast Asia and China – where the mobile gaming market jumped 86% in 2014. Games as an app category ranks highest in Southeast Asia, which has resulted in remarkable download stats and big time revenue growth.

Potential markets for new gamers have cracked wide open as the technology necessary to produce game-ready devices has gotten less expensive. The advanced GPUs and mobile devices from companies like Snapdragon are no longer a luxury, but rather standard issue for many people across the globe. It's easier than ever before to procure a device that is app-friendly without spending a lot. That said, the accessibility and affordability of higher-quality phone and tablet tech isn't all there is to it.

For mobile's ascension into emerging markets to continue at the current lightning pace, however,the circumstances consumers in those markets are dealing with has to be considered.For many, the device itself is a necessity but games and apps – even relatively inexpensive ones – are still an extravagance not worth paying for. If they can be paid for, that is. A majority of app stores (e.g., Apple App Store or Google Play) require access to credit card-type payment methods while 21% of emerging market consumers don't have the bank accounts or credit accounts that would make virtual payments possible.

Mobile manufacturers and developers can support the gaming boom by not only focusing on the accessibility of tech-forward devices but also the accessibility of applications. There is a huge opportunity in the mobile space to reach customers who are truly new to the mobile revolution because there are no longer any geographical barriers to getting games into the hands of eager players. The new barriers are all on the financial side.

There's a reason Asia is the biggest market for free-to-play MMOs. And that coupled with the fact that freemium has long been a popular way to consume content in emerging markets where access to virtual payment methods isn't universal suggests that the desire to play is there. Turning that demand into dollars to fuel the boom is simply a matter of figuring how to unlock the next evolution of monetization in those mobile markets.

About the Author:
Jessica Oaks, I am a freelance writer who loves to cover technology and the ways that technology makes life easier. I also am an associate editor at Freshly Techy and regularly contribute to Yahoo! Finance.

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