Streaming services are growing in popularity at an alarming rate in every industry, the ability to access a digital form of media has never been as easy. This can also be applied with video games as people are now more inclined to download a digital copy of their favourite game rather than go out to their local store and buy the physical version. The music industry has been similarly affected by the exponential growth that streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Steam have gained in the modern world.
The Success of Mobile Gaming
Throughout this post I am going to highlight the enormous influence technology has had on the gaming industry, which has resulted in companies investing a lot of time and effort into ensuring that they are appealing to this relatively new market segment which enables them to more casual gamers rather than the hardcore players you will tend to find on personal computers or consoles. One of the most contributing factors behind the popularity of mobile gaming is that most of the games available on the app store are free-to-play, this means that people have a wide variety of games they can choose to download onto their smartphone without having to worry about making any kind of financial commitment.
It can be argued that this has been some achievement for companies such as Apple and Google are creating games which are available on mobile devices which match the quality of games that are released on more traditional gaming platforms. Games such as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite, two of the hottest games circulating the industry right now are available to play on smartphones at the console-level quality. This means that people now have access to a high standard level of game-play on their personal devices where they even have the ability to connect with their friends due to the release of cross-platform compatibility.
Due to the proliferation of new media technologies that are available to us in the modern world, there are now affordable alternatives available which has led to a vast majority of people living in more economically developed countries having access to a technologically convergent device within their household in the form of a smartphone/watch or tablet. Android and iOS mobile gamers have demonstrated that gaming applications are the most popular and the ones that they are more likely to spend their money on. It has been estimated in a report that ‘video games account for 75% of all mobile software sales over the past 10 years.” (2018). This shows that people are more likely to pay for an app if its a game as they will gain a sense of enjoyment out of it that can not be substituted by any other kind of app, hence why mobile gaming has become so popular within the modern world.
However, it can be argued that there has been an over-saturation in the market of mobile applications due to a lot of games regenerating and recycling ideas and narratives that have previously been so successful. For example, if we look at Flappy Bird, a game which seemed to receive a surge in popularity at the start of 2014. The game was met with some mixed reviews from critics deeming that it had a high level of difficulty and was, therefore, very frustrating to play. Flappy Bird did appeal to a large number of people across the world and managed to claim the highest spot as the most downloaded free game available on the app store, it was also estimated that the game developer Dong Nguyen was earning $50,000 a day from both in-app advertisements and overall sales.
Unfortunately, the life-cycle for this game was short-lived, the controversy surrounding the app was unrelenting due to claims that it was highly addictive and was therefore unsuitable for use, leading to the developer Nguyen being forced to take his game down off the app store so people would no longer be able to download it. The game would still be available to those who had it installed on their devices before it was taken down, this resulted in some taking advantage of the fact that people would no longer be able to download the product by selling devices that still had the game as an application for extortionate prices.
You only have to look as far as the undoubted success of the augmented reality mobile game developed specifically for iOS & Android devices such as Pokemon Go (2016) to highlight how consumers are now being given the opportunity to interact with the characters that they love in the real world. Pokemon Go was a pioneering mobile application as it achieved groundbreaking success during the first year of its release by receiving accumulating over a hundred million downloads receiving a total revenue: $268 Million dollars.