Console gaming has been the focus of a lot of gamers' passions these days, and certainly not without reason. PC gaming commonly isn't too far behind either. But mobile gaming has been making some major strides in the marketplace, sufficiently so that Juniper Research recently released a study around the platform, noting that tablet games are likely to see some major gains over the next five years, reaching triple the levels seen so far in 2014. That in turn might well prompt some changes in the way some gaming is accomplished, and to a degree, already has.
Juniper Research's study, “Mobile & Handheld Games: Discover, Monetise, Advertise 2014 – 2019,” found that not only would the totals likely rise from current figures of $3.6 billion worldwide to $13.3 billion worldwide in just five years, but also that the next year might actually be the year that makes or breaks the smaller, independent gaming company. Basically, given that the marketplaces contain in excess of a million apps, actually managing to find the next great game will prove difficult to say the least. So more and more games will likely get a start not just showing up on the app store, but rather, by starting a crowdfunding campaign first.
But for those games that can build a following early on, there's likely to be more in the way of success. The report suggests strong growth is in the near-term future for smartphone games in emerging markets, as carriers start putting into place carrier billing deployments that allow gamers to make charges directly from a device. Micro-apps as part of messenger services are likely to chip in as well, and though there isn't quite so much of a banking system in developing markets, the apps might well ultimately be the next best thing.
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What's more, a second report from Juniper Research, “PC & Console Games: Trends, Opportunities, and Vendor Strategies 2014 – 2019,” suggests that the market for these titles is in something of a state of decline, and some changes are likely to take place here. Among these changes will be a shift to free-to-play style gaming, as well as digital distribution and some new competitors in the field like Steam Machine.
Those like game consoles from Steam allow for easy access to PC gaming in the living room.
Advertising support for gaming is likely to increase dramatically, as Juniper Research projects that only six percent of mobile games will be paid for at the point of download just by 2019, and social / casual gaming has received a major lift in its fortunes thanks to diversification in game type.
While it's easy to dispute some of these projections, especially in light of the fact that these haven't happened yet—the numbers of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sales so far certainly suggest that console gaming may be down on previous years, but hardly out—Juniper Research raises some noteworthy points here, some of which are actually happening. Anyone who's played “World of Tanks” on Xbox Live lately is quite aware that the free-to-play gaming market is making its way to consoles, and digital delivery is doing quite well; just ask anyone who's picked up the latest game for free on Xbox Live.
Though some of Juniper Research's projections seem unlikely and may not ultimately come off, there's certainly plenty here that's already happened, and that makes this a study well worth paying attention to over the next few years.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi