Why Is Mobile Gaming So Popular? Growth Explained (2023)

Few sectors in the gaming industry have grown as quickly and become as important to publishers as mobile gaming. As a result, mobile gaming is the first entry point for almost every gamer today.

Even though we have only had a more profound experience with PUBG Mobile so far, Masakari and I see the potential of this type of gaming in the coming years based on our 20+ years of experience in Esports. 

We want to take a deeper look at why mobile gaming has become so successful and popular in the first place.

Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.

Why Is Mobile Gaming So Popular?

Here are some of the reasons that have made the mobile gaming sector extremely popular.

Blooming South East Asian Market 

With the arrival of reasonably priced smartphones in the market, many people, even from third-world countries, have gained access to mobile phones.

This is especially true for individuals from the South East Asian market, where the economy has flourished in recent years and where 55% of all global gamers are from.

As a result, the mobile gaming sector has exploded in terms of user numbers, and according to recent research, the segment is expected to reach a market share of 59%.

Huge Earning Potential For Developers & Publishers

The graph above depicts the market share of mobile games over the last five years, and as can be seen, the world of mobile games and the global revenue generated by the segment are enormous.

This increase in earning potential has piqued the interest of game development firms and publishers who want a piece of the lucrative pie that the segment has to offer.

To put this into perspective, the mobile gaming industry generated a total of $159 billion just in the year 2020, which is a huge sum of money. And it is growing rapidly from each year.

Not Age Bound 

Another research reveals that the mobile gaming segment is not confined only to one age group. Rather 21% of all mobile gamers from the US are under 18.

The most popular FPS titles are “Free to Play.”

Best Way To Pass Time

Mobile gaming is a fun way to pass the time, and the phrase “free time is gaming time” is gaining popularity.

Various Gaming Genres & Niches

Now that games of different genres and niches are available all over the internet, everyone can enjoy a title that exactly meets their needs.

This has also played a pivotal role in making mobile gaming so popular.

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Why Are Mobile Games So Addictive?

The mobile gaming segment is a recent addition to the entertainment industry that has learned the recipe for a great title from the previous experiences that gaming consoles and PC games have provided.

This means that mobile game developers and publishers have capitalized on the success of previous titles by incorporating all of the features that made such titles successful in the past.

Round The Clock Availability

Another factor that contributes to the addictive nature of mobile games is that they are always available, which means that whenever players have free time, they can simply press a button and enjoy them.

Large Displays & High-Quality Speakers

The latest large-sized HDR displays on mobile phones and stereo speakers provide players with a highly immersive experience. This aids such games and their high-quality graphic content in standing out to impress players.

Virtual Reality Makes Mobile Games More Immersive

One of the features that contribute to the addictiveness of the gameplay is the incorporation of virtual reality and haptic feedback. 

All that players need is a VR headset to indulge themselves in the world of virtual reality and enjoy games like never before.

With VR, the player doesn’t care whether the image source is a PC, a console, or a smartphone.

Human Nature & Dopamine

But, far more than anything else, the fact that mobile games are so addictive due to human nature itself. Experts believe that humans naturally tend to be drawn to unhealthy things for them.

While almost all people are aware that screen time is bad for their eyes and minds, the brain creates an urge to play these games more and more due to dopamine, making them more addictive.

Competitive Environment

Furthermore, most games operate on two main principles: they either create a kind of competition with other gamers or allow players to explore newer territories in the gameplay.

These factors act as stimulants for the human brain, which then becomes attracted to the gaming title. This is why we can’t seem to get enough of the modern-day mobile phone gaming titles.

What Are The Benefits Of Mobile Gaming?

While discussing mobile games, it is vital to mention the benefits that such games offer to players, particularly in comparison with PC and gaming console titles.

Here are a few major benefits that such games have over their counterparts.

Ease Of Access

The most important benefit of mobile games is that they are extremely easy to access. 

To launch a world-class title such as FIFA or Call of Duty, all players need to do is press a button, and they will be connected to a global network of millions of online gamers.

Modest Hardware Requirements

Unlike the PC and video gaming console titles, these games do not have extremely high-end hardware requirements. This makes it possible for a wider array of gamers to enjoy them.

Free To Play

Almost all mobile games are free to play. They do support microtransactions, but it is entirely up to the players whether or not they want to make these transactions.  

In comparison, PC and video gaming consoles require players to spend large sums of money to obtain the hardware required to run high-end games. Even after that, players are frequently required to purchase monthly or annual subscriptions.

Even paid titles are inexpensive, and after purchasing them through Google Play or Apple Play Store, gamers can enjoy them for as long as they want.

This enables mobile gamers to play a wide range of games without worrying about their wallets.

No Extra Equipment Is Required

While PC games and video gaming consoles require external displays, controllers, gaming keyboards, and a mouse, mobile phone games do not.

The equipment for a PC or console can quickly become expensive.

The phone’s touch display is enough for accessing all the features of the mobile phone games.

What Are The Disadvantage Of Mobile Gaming?

Mobile gaming has several disadvantages. Some of them are as follows:

Time Wastage

First, because mobile games are extremely addictive, they end up wasting a lot of time, particularly for students. As a result, their studies suffer.

Health Effects

Playing excessive mobile games has adverse effects on human health as well. Some of the effects are as follows:

Eyes & Hands

First and foremost, the eyes of the players are impacted. Furthermore, exposing the hands of gamers to the heat generated by mobile phones for long durations of use can be harmful.

Nausea & Headache

Having too much screen time can lead to nausea and headache, which can also affect the overall functioning of the human body.

Improper Posture

Several gamers do not adopt a proper sitting posture while playing such games. Neck ache is thus another major problem for such players. 

This effect is also called “tech neck.” Depending on the angle, the lowered head causes a lot of strain on the spine, as this article from “Health Matters” shows.

The following infographic also comes from this article:

Less Physical Growth

If young kids are addicted to mobile games, they are less likely to go out in the fresh air and participate in healthy activities, including outdoor sports.

This can have serious consequences for their physical growth.

Disadvantages Compared To PC & Gaming Consoles

The PC and gaming consoles also have such adverse effects, but platforms usually use a larger display, and players sit further back from the screens. If you play mobile games at home, you can, of course, negate this disadvantage with an adapter for a standard screen.

Furthermore, because players require a proper platform to play PC and gaming console titles, such games are played for shorter periods and less frequently than mobile games.

Final Thoughts

Mobile gaming is an easy entry into the gaming world. Inexpensive (because many games are free for the time being), entertaining, flexible, and can be played almost anywhere. So it’s no wonder that almost every owner of a smartphone has one or more games installed. 

But unfortunately, mobile games publishers are still stuck with their game ideas. 

Nevertheless, smartphones are a medium of their own, and with the future developments in virtual reality and augmented reality, I am convinced that mobile gaming will gain even more popularity.

If you haven’t tried more complex games on the smartphone yet, try a strategy game. This genre shows very well that even complex games work on handheld devices. Besides, this genre doesn’t require a costly handset with a strong processor and larger RAM.

If you then fall in love with mobile gaming and want to play more graphics-intensive games, then check out this article:

Michael "Flashback" Mamerow has been playing video games for over 35 years and has built and led two Esports organizations. As an IT architect and casual gamer, he is dedicated to technical topics.