Data firms App Annie and IDC have released a joint report (Gaming Spotlight, 2017 Review) pointing to the increasing weight of mobile gaming, co-op games and the Asia-Pacific region in 2017.
Direct spending on mobile games went through the roof last year, exceeding spending on consoles (both home consoles and handhelds) and PC/Mac combined by more than one third. Danielle Levitas, SVP of research at App Annie, explained: “Mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2017; mobile game spending was 2.3x PC gaming and 3.6x game consoles last year. With billions of mobile devices in the world, apps are the mass market gaming platform for casual and serious gamers, enabling them to play whenever and wherever they want to.”
Games were responsible for nearly 80 per cent of total global consumer spend on both iOS and Google Play last year despite only making up for 35 per cent of worldwide downloads. 2017 also saw the rise of live multiplayer games, the report added, with titles such as Tencent’s Honour of Kings (known as Arena of Valor in Western markets), Netmarble’s Lineage 2 Revolution, NetEase’s Fantasy Westward Journey, and NCSOFT’s Lineage M making it to the top of the mobile grossing charts. However, the report pointed out an IDC survey of players in the US from Q3 2017, showing that “a lower share of smartphone and handheld console gamers played live PvP or co-op titles (34%) than did PC/Mac and home console gamers (over 44%).” It added that “this gap also narrowed relative to a similar survey from Q3 2016.”
Research director of gaming and AR/VR at IDC, Lewis Ward, commented: “Live multiplayer gaming on smartphones and tablets took a big step forward in 2017, Although titles such as Clash Royale, Roblox, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft have been popular in Western markets for some time, it’s now clear that publishers from Asia-Pacific not only have an ‘answer’ to these titles, but upped the ante last year not just in scale but, arguably, in the sophistication of live PvP and co-op gameplay.”
Finally, the Gaming Spotlight 2017 Review reported that 60 per cent of mobile game spending happened in the Asia-Pacific region last year.
“Rapid growth in a few key markets, most notably China, Japan, and South Korea, helped fuel mobile gaming’s ascent in 2017," the report said. It added: "With battle royale games like PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield, and PUBG: Army Attack becoming increasingly popular on mobile devices, this live multiplayer gameplay mode should also impact on mobile gaming in 2018, particularly in Asia-Pacific."