The Roundup: 5 Trends in Mobile Gaming

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The State of the Mobile Game:

Global mobile game revenue is estimated to shoot up by 21% from last year. Mobile game revenues in China are expected to rise by 86%, with revenues in North America rising by 51% in comparison. In terms of app platforms, the App Store’s penetration of mobile devices dropped by 2.3% from 2013 to 2014, while Google Play’s penetration rose by 5.2%.

The Trends:

1. Nintendo Has Entered the Room

“A new challenger appears!”

No, Super Smash Bros. hasn’t come to mobile…yet. In the meantime, characters like Mario, Kirby and Donkey Kong will have to do. Nintendo has partnered up with mobile game publisher DeNA to bring Nintendo characters to mobile devices. While these games will be “free-to-start,” though, they won’t be free to play. Nintendo’s first release should come out by the end of this year. It’s time to look at the future with interest—especially considering that Nintendo’s franchises may be worth more than $2 billion in the mobile games market.

2. Game of Mobile

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment recently announced that Game of Thrones, along with Lego Batman and Mortal Combat X, is coming to mobile. These are among five new mobile games to be released in 2015 by Warner Bros., with mobile becoming “a key priority for the company.” Through these ambitious new releases, Warner Bros. seems to be pushing for a bigger slice of the approx. $30 billion mobile gaming market.

3. Supercell Triples Up

Supercell tripled its revenue in 2014, raking in $1.7 billion from hit titles “Clash of Clans,” “Hay Day,” and “Boom Beach.” Popular and well-liked gameplay aside, top developers like Supercell have another major advantage in the mobile games market: the ability to outspend all smaller competitors. It takes money to make money, as shown last year by Supercell’s $440 million marketing budget.

4. Google Play Steps Up Its Game

Google Play is rolling out a new age-based rating system for mobile games and apps. From May onward, developers will need to fill out a questionnaire on their new game or update before going live. What’s more, to “better protect the community and improve the app catalog,” new apps on Google Play now must be approved before showing up on the Play Store. The new review process will be short—a matter of hours, according to Google Play product manager Eunice Kim.

5. And So Does Apple

With better hardware comes better gaming. That said, the horsepower of the iPhone 6’s A8 processor and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) has high-end game developers from EA to Ubisoft lining up for a piece of the action. Apple promises to “raise the game” and deliver quality graphics with the A8’s GPU (which is 50% faster than the A7’s GPU) along with its Metal technology, which is said to put the A8 ahead of the pack in terms of both power and power efficiency. That’s more gaming for less battery.

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