With 2021 behind us, it’s time to look ahead at what is surely going to be another big year for mobile gaming. Mobile gaming has proven to be the largest and most impactful segment of the gaming industry. Revenue continues to grow and the industry as a whole remains solid despite the many uncertainties facing businesses today.
In terms of audience, mobile gaming has exploded during the last couple of years. According to Statista, there were approximately 2.7 billion players globally in 2021. Furthermore, Newzoo mobile game revenue last year reached $93.2 billion and accounted for 52% of the global market.
So, what’s next for mobile gaming in 2022? We have gathered predictions from experts across the industry. From Android development to hybrid monetization, here is what they are saying will be big in mobile gaming this year.
Metaverse mobile games are set to take over in 2022.
Data.ai estimates that metaverse mobile games will earn over $3.1 billion this year. Smartphones, especially in the time of COVID-19, have given users the convenience of experiencing the metaverse, making mobile a key platform for this sector of gaming. “World-building functionalities that allow users to interact in real-time through their virtual avatars will attract audiences and capture the share of wallet,” App Annie says in their latest report.
The report also states that play-to-earn models combined with metaverses will make a huge impact on mobile game innovation in 2022 and beyond.
In-app advertising is still the key to retention and revenue despite IDFA changes.
Apple’s IDFA changes have undoubtedly changed the way we look at in-app advertising. While IAA is still an integral part of app monetization, IDFA has escalated the need for a hybrid model. PocketGamer shared that “a balanced approach to hybrid monetization can support player retention, especially at a point when fewer than 5% of players pay for IAPs.” Additionally, they reported that 71% of hard- and mid-core players responded positively to opt-in rewarded video ads. IAA is particularly crucial for hypercasual titles. Despite having massive audiences, PocketGamer points out that they only make a fraction of the IAP revenue that other categories do. This lines up with our research with Fyber in which we surveyed app publishers in both gaming and non-gaming. Respondents revealed that hyper-casual games are driving the most revenue with IAA.
Mobile game companies will focus on Android–first development.
For a long time, gaming developers had mostly spent the bulk of their time optimizing for iOS devices. AppTrackingTransparency has since changed the mobile gaming landscape and Eric Benjamin Seufert of Mobile Dev Memo predicts this will benefit Android as a result. While Google’s privacy policies will be similar to ATT, he writes that “these controls are less heavy-handed.” Seufert also points out the opportunities the Android market brings. Regions like India, Brazil, and Nigeria where Android shares are high, have become more attractive to publishers. Reaching these audiences would be nearly impossible without focusing on Android development.
Apple will create the largest gaming studio in the world.
Justin Welter, AdColony’s VP of Publishing & Business Development, recently shared with App Developer Magazine his theory on Apple’s gaming studio plans and cites a few reasons for this prediction. Apple’s acquisition of various apps including Dark Sky has allowed them to turn them into native iOS apps which they could do in gaming or use the best features to build their own. “With access to the first-party data from developers, they can follow the Amazon model where they take what they know consumers are buying and create their own version of the same product that will surely be successful,” Welter says. “By leaning into gaming, Apple could vertically integrate content and technology, marrying its state-of-the-art hardware to the Apple brand consumers have grown to love.”