Here is an interesting statistic: the global digital games market earning increased by 15 percent to hit $11.6B in January 2021. What’s even more interesting, mobile grew by around 6 percent. This rise in earnings marked a milestone for the industry and consumers.
Mobile gaming exploded significantly in the past few years. Based on the latest data, there exist around 2.69 billion mobile game players across the world. In addition, mobile games dominate the App store revenue share, and we can only expect to see these numbers growing in the upcoming year.
With 2021 almost getting over, it is time to look at the mobile game market trends that are surfacing or perhaps staying in 2022. So, what are the top mobile game market trends you should be aware of going into 2022?
#1 – The Puzzle Game Genre is Dynamically Evolving
Puzzle game is a genre that is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, this genre has undergone numerous changes in the past few years. Currently, the one mobile game trend being adopted by all top match-3 puzzle games is the addition of various meta-layers to the core gameplay.
This trend can be witnessed in games like Gardenscapes, Homescapes, Clockmaker, and many new successful games like Project Makeover that are associated with décor, fashion, and storytelling meta-layers.
This can be thought of as a result of market saturation. It is pretty hard to get noticed in the match-3 subgenre when there exist giants like Candy Crush. Hence, it is imperative that developers add new and exciting elements to their games to be known in the market. Furthermore, this strategy will allow developers to capture a broader audience. After all, instead of looking at players interested in puzzle games, we are looking at users interested in design, fashion, or event storytelling games because of meta layers.
#2 – Subscription-Based Monetization to Bag the Big Bucks
Subscriptions are very common among mobile games, particularly when it comes to top-grossing games. As we head into 2022, we expect to see more and more games embracing subscriptions as a monetization model. This is what makes this a significant mobile game market trend worth mentioning.
A few examples of subscriptions in mobile games include VIP access in Wheel of Fortune, booster subscriptions in Boom Beach, battle passes in Fortnite and PUBG mobile, and remove ads subscription in Sand Balls. Some of the best online sportsbooks also leverage this model.
Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that subscriptions aren’t typically an additional monetization model. It is often used alongside in-app purchases.
#3 – An Increasing Number of Gamers are Watching Than Playing
Mobile esports is going to be a huge mobile game market trend in 2022. According to Newzoo, there were just half a billion esports viewers in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, the numbers kept rising, and it is expected to grow even in 2022 as the admiration of watching games will only increase.
Limelight reported that users aged 18-25 prefer watching gamers play over traditional sports.
But what do all these statistics mean for developers?
Well, in the future, game developers will have to rethink their process of developing games. To be more specific, they will have to consider Twitch integration as it happens to be the main streaming channel. Doing so will make it easier for gamers to play as well as stream their games. This will lead to great free as well as paid promotion opportunities. People who watch gamers play might get interested in a specific game and download it themselves. As you might know, gamers value the recommendations of other players and gaming influencers.
#4 – Greater Focus on Social Features
Gamers have always been interested in being part of good gaming communities. Nevertheless, mobile games were always slow compared to PC and console games in terms of giving players a way to interact with each other.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic made people crave more for human connections and social experiences, even if it happened in the online world. This is yet another reason why developers should consider investing in social features.
A few famous social features in mobile games include social media connection co-op modes, in-game chat, PvP modes, and guilds. Facebook found that four in ten new gamers in the US prefer chatting with others when playing games.
A lot of mobile games are currently working on expanding and improving their social features. Some great examples from the west are Call of Duty: Mobile, which features hangout rooms, and Roblox, allowing players to enjoy shows.
You should remember that hangout rooms are an excellent place for players to interact. It can also be a great monetization option for game developers as the rooms are often where players show off their avatars. Additionally, it is also a perfect way to better user retention.