Revolution in mobile gaming is coming, and it’s not just some overhyped intro to grab your attention. Yes, desktop titles have been ported to mobile before, but the age of true cross-platform gaming is just getting started. And believe it or not, Amazon will fuel this massive explosion.
In this article, we will analyze the course in which mobile gaming is moving, and why cross-platform, eSports driven games will rule the market in the coming decades.
The World Goes Mobile, And Games Too
The statistics are unarguable – people today choose their phones instead of desktops every moment they can. Mobile and desktop web traffic stats have met somewhere in 2014, and mobile takes over since then.
Of course, we play games on our phones quite often too. But did you know that since 2017 mobile gaming brings more money to the table than any other platform? PC games make up around 23%, console titles – 31%, smartphone games – 32% and growing.
Mobile games become so popular that in China alone they make up over 53% of all gaming revenue. And this is just the beginning.
Huge Titles Are Moving To Mobile
It’s easy to see that the gaming world is going crazy about mobile titles, since they often offer the same console experience, just in a miniature. Look at the current top games streamed on Twitch – many of them are already available on smartphones.
Just yesterday the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds went live globally both on Android and iOS. It’s already #1 in Top Free across the whole Google Play, and second only to Fortnite in App Store. Fortnite is also coming up, currently being in the iOS closed beta stage.
PUBG and Fortnite are, of course, not the only mobile titles in the “battle royale” genre. There are tons of copycats and similar games, developed by other studios, and most, if not all of them, are free to play.
Mobile Games Are Still (Mostly) Free
“Free to play” is the hallmark of mobile stores, and most people love that. Get in, play a little while, delete without regrets. The mobile gaming market has the absolute lowest barrier to entry – all you need is a phone. And for many games – even a budget smartphone will do.
Now, why is this interesting?
Let’s put it simply: given that the overall mobile usage growth continues (which will most likely happen), and the barrier to entry for mobile gaming stays low, mobile games will eventually conquer most of the market.
We also tend to upgrade our phones more often than desktops. New, better flagships are coming out insanely quickly, thus lowering prizes on older models. Not to mention developing markets that are growing exponentially with every day.
Starting to see a pattern? All of this makes mobile platforms the most fertile breeding ground for gaming innovation today. The only question remains: how to monetize it effectively?
Micro eSports Revolution
The classic freemium model works, but it gets old and consumers feel this. With the booming popularity of eSports that comes to mobile with big titles (think Hearthstone, for example), the stakes get higher. Vanity items lose in value, and tangible prizes become more and more desirable.
It goes without saying that high-level eSports are not for everybody. But what about micro competitions? Just imagine what engagement rate would score a system of esports-like mobile competitions with real prizes. Available for everyone, everywhere.
That’s exactly what Amazon has launched just a few days ago. The service is called Amazon GameOn, it’s completely cross-platform (powered by Amazon Web Services), and creates a whole new layer of casual competitive gaming. A layer that promises to boost eSports market up to $1.5 billion by 2020.
The story behind GameOn is simple, yet it’s curious that the idea came exactly from mobile game devs. As Marja Koopmans, director of Amazon Competitive Gaming has put it in one of the interviews:
“We allow developers to add competitive play into games, and reward players with in-game or real-world prizes, fulfilled by Amazon. This came from conversations with mobile game developers about how we can make games more engaging.”
Early Results & The Future
At first, Amazon was highly cautious about bringing the service to mobile. They started evaluating the market slowly, holding the first mobile esports competition in September of 2016. The game was Vainglory developed by Super Evil Megacorp. Next was the tournament for casual games in Las Vegas (December 2016) with titles like Disney Crossy Road.
Today, Amazon GameOn service already supports a list of titles, ranging from casual to hard-core games across various genres. Most notable partners include Millennial Esports’ Eden Games (V-Rally, Test Drive Unlimited), Game Insight (Survival Arena), nWay (Power Rangers), and others. Players can compete there and win both in-game and real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon.
A number of highly anticipated sequels such as Beach Buggy Racing 2 and brand-new Doodle Jump will also have GameOn integrated. As well as new games from Superpower, PlaySide Studios, Canvas Games, and Asmodee Digital. Prizes won’t include cash, though, as Amazon wants to stay away from gambling.
GameOn API will be available for free until May 1, 2018. From then on, Amazon will offer 35,000 free plays per month for a limited time and $0.003 per play after that. Physical prizes from Amazon will only be available for the US players at launch.
The future of gaming as an industry is cross-platform, eSports driven casual titles. Most players will come from the mobile world, and the easy-to-integrate tangible rewards systems like Amazon GameOn will fuel the growth.
GameOn is already offering real-world prizes for casual competitions and rewards for referrals. The new business model works, and it’s only a question of time when it will become mainstream.
In the end, even if you are not into gaming, you can at least appreciate that mobile grows as a platform. Mobile gaming is taking over the market, drawing more and more people to the app stores, and thus benefiting the whole ecosystem, including applications’ segment.
Here at Boost Solutions, we specialize in mobile/web development and business integration, so games are not really our market. However, we use Amazon Web Services extensively for our web-based apps, so we’re also glad to see how far the service has gone since its inception.
Way to go, Amazon!