Trends of Mobile Games in 2021
By the end of 2020, the revenue of mobile games can reach 76.7 billion U.S. dollars, a growth of 12% compared with 2019. This means that the annual income of mobile games in 2019 alone exceeds the combined revenue of the music and film industries-global box office revenue is 42.5 billion U.S. dollars, and the global recording music industry distribution agency revenue is 20.2 billion. US dollars. By the end of 2021, it is expected to see the growth of more mobile games. The strength to support this growth is the following seven significant trends, and mobile games will continue to maintain their position as the most powerful gaming platform.
More cross-platform gameplay
Current trends show that game content is increasingly able to span various devices. Users want to play top-rated and high-fidelity multi-user games on mobile devices and video game consoles, such as Fortress Heroes and PUBG Mobile, but with the same high quality. This trend will continue to advance in 2021 and will receive continuous support from rapidly evolving 5G, cloud gaming, and more high-quality gaming experiences on mobile platforms (detailed later).
Cross-platform gameplay will also appear in casual games. Although the game Space Werewolf had been launched in 2018, cross-platform gameplay was still very popular in 2020. This game has been officially launched on Android, Apple iOS, PC, Xbox, and PlayStation and has recently entered Nintendo's Switch.
Another place that will bring significant benefits to mobile games is the continuous advancement of cloud games and the introduction of 5G. In the 5G game evolution report commissioned by Arm by Newzoo in 2020, it is predicted that by the end of 2022, there will be 1 billion smartphones in use that support 5G worldwide, accounting for 21.8% of all smartphones in use in the world. This growth trend may continue to develop throughout 2021. It is estimated that 500 million users will purchase the latest 5G smartphones.
The high-speed, low-latency, and high-bandwidth of 5G networks not only allow players to experience more and more complex game content during their actions, but they can also play more social and collaborative games with each other.
2020 is the year when mobile games become more social. According to a report from the Entertainment Software Association, 56% of players who regularly play video games play multiplayer games, spending an average of seven hours a week online with other players. 55% of people said that this type of social game helped them keep in touch with their friends during the recent crown pneumonia epidemic. The progress of 5G technology makes it easier than ever for users to stay in touch with each other no matter where they are. Therefore, it is expected that the trend of community gameplay will continue throughout 2021.
Games become a competitive event that attracts a large audience.
E-sports has continued to grow in the past few years, and classic games and e-sports leagues boast that they have gathered the best players in the world. However, in 2020, people will see the progress of video games into a competition that attracts a large audience. This is fully demonstrated through the considerable revenue of e-sports and the number of viewers watching online.
According to Newzoo, global e-sports revenue is expected to grow to $1.1 billion in 2020. Besides, there are 272 million people worldwide who occasionally watch e-sports events, and there are also 223 million people who are keen on e-sports. The total number of viewers has grown to nearly 500 million! China is the largest e-sports market, and Newzoo estimates revenue of 385.1 million U.S. dollars.
The growth of mobile games in emerging markets such as Asian countries has allowed e-sports to soar. The popularity of local competitions such as the mobile version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continues to rise. Mobile gaming has experienced tremendous growth in 2020, and these emerging markets are at the forefront of this growth momentum.
E-sports is still expected to continue to grow in 2021. Developers must take into account the elements of the audience and develop games in different ways. For example, developers must consider making Twitch integration a part of the game, and this streaming service has also become an essential channel for watching e-sports. Since this integration has become a hot topic, even academic institutions have begun to pay attention. The annual game project exhibition of the University of Utah will be streamed through Twitch live broadcast in 2020 and specifically requires the integration of Twitch to be added to the game works.
Augmented reality (AR) architecture mobile game
AR integrates virtual characters and objects and the user's real-world environment to expand the background, making mobile games even more powerful. Although the mobile game Pokemon GO released in 2016 did not make AR-based games smooth sailing, the number of AR-based mobile games is expected to continue to grow in 2021.
The quality of AR-based mobile games is improving, and an increasing number of smartphone devices can use Apple's ARKit or Google's ARCore to produce AR-based mobile games. Besides, through the rise of 5G and cloud games, players will be closer to a completely seamless AR mobile game.
The combination of cloud and 5G means that the real-time processing of data-intensive AR will make users feel faster and smoother while bringing a more complex and immersive AR architecture mobile game experience. A report recently published by research company VYNZ has pointed out the growth of AR. The report shows that the AR and virtual reality (VR) market will reach $22.1 billion in 2020. This growth trend is expected to continue until 2021, and the same report also predicts that market revenue in 2025 will reach 161.1 billion US dollars. The increasing penetration rate of AR capabilities in the smartphone market has significantly boosted this growing force.
Focus on the action first.
In 2020, the gaming industry will shift its focus to action first. Even game manufacturers that have traditionally focused only on developing personal computers (PC) and dedicated console games for video games have invested resources in the development of more mobile games. It is expected that this shift will continue in 2021, and mobile games will continue to achieve a more significant effect than PCs and video game consoles. The most popular PC and video game console game makers also responded to this trend by publishing their most successful mobile game platforms. These works include the Grand Theft Auto series, Being a Creator, Doom, Space Warrior series, Tomb Raider, The True Colors of the Rivers and Lakes, and Terrorizing Time and Space, and so on.
Actual data support the above trends. According to Game Analytics, a game market analysis company, the number of mobile game players in the first quarter of 2020 will grow from 1.2 billion to 1.75 billion every month, a growth rate equivalent to 46%. Newzoo claims that the total number of mobile game players in 2020 will reach 2.6 billion, of which 38% of players are willing to pay for the game. In fact, according to the app analysis tool App Annie, consumers spent more than 19 billion yuan on mobile games in the second quarter of 2020, setting a record for a single season in history!
Smartphones are becoming more powerful and capable of handling the complex computing workloads of mobile games that are usually only experienced on PCs and video game consoles and contribute to this shift of action first. And how will this shift contribute to the overall growth of a high-quality gaming experience on mobile platforms?
Expansion of high-quality gaming experience
In the past few years, the expansion of mobile game culture has surpassed casual games such as Candy Legend. It has developed into a more painful game experience that has traditionally appeared on PCs and video game consoles. This new type of heavy mobile game includes Fortress Heroes, King of Glory, and PUBG Mobile.
Seeing super game masterpieces enter mobile games and as players pursue these high-fidelity gaming experiences on mobile platforms, it is expected that this trend will continue in 2021. Mihayou also joined the excellent masterpiece-level mobile game experience with their cross-platform work The Original God. The gashapon style game popular among players will bring in more than 245 million US dollars in revenue on the mobile platform alone in 2020.
The high-performance performance of current high-quality smartphones reduces entry barriers, allowing an excellent masterpiece gaming experience to enter the mobile platform. The most expensive part of making a game is art design, and Arm also provides a guide to best practice examples for art designers. In the past, all the resources of mobile games had to be optimized for smartphones.
Now in the same IP system, it is widespread to see game works resources from PCs and video game consoles applied to mobile game works. Most of the process of using these resources can be automated and then reviewed by art designers. This reduces the cost of producing a mobile version and allows the same work to have a consistent experience on various platforms.
Casual mobile games still occupy a place.
Although the experience of heavy games continues to increase on mobile platforms, casual games still account for a considerable proportion of the mobile game market. Eight of the top ten games in the mobile market are casual.
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