Although cellphone games came along well after PC and consoles laid the foundation of gaming, it looks like the smartphone software is now impacting titles and the way they’re developed as well. 

According to Statista, mobile gaming has grown in recent years and looks to continue this trend as it is projected that the time spent with games on the go will increase by approximately 50 percent from 2013 to 2018. This means the average American will spend 203 minutes each day gaming on their phone, up from 135 minutes in 2013. What’s more, since 2013, the market for mobile gaming has grown by $40.6 billion, and it seems like console gaming has taken a couple of cues from it successful mobile cousin. 

The first and most obvious change is the popularity of DLC vs. packaged content. Pay-to-play games have risen and even surpassed package content, where a game comes with all of its content on first purchase. If we trace the trends of the two distribution types, we can see that in 2011 packaged content dominated the market with $22.4 billion of revenue compared to DLC’s $5.3 billion. In 2017, those numbers favored DLC with $11.6 billion to packaged content’s $10.7 billion – a swing that was almost inversely in favor of packaged content just the year before. 

Popular titles such as Final Fantasy XV, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Overwatch and DOTA 2 all implement microtransactions that add elements to the baseline game such as an extended storyline or costumes for playable characters. However, DLC and microtransactions aren’t the only mobile gaming trait that consoles are adopting. There is now also an increase in games that are able to be played on multiple platforms. 

Using a spin casino as an example, we can see that the slot games featured such as Starburst and CopyCats are not only made accessible on cellphones, but they’re also available to be played on computers. This allows access to hundreds or thousands of games from both devices, thus giving players a chance to play anywhere and becoming more invested in the experience. Take this and apply it to PC and console titles and we can see the overwhelming success that Minecraft has become – a game that is available on just about every conceivable device that can play games.

Minecraft, being a game that has about 55 million people playing it each month as well as 122 million copies sold, might be a bit of a grand comparison, but you can also look at a smaller game like Limbo that originally released on the Xbox 360. Since then, the puzzle/platformer has been re-released on PlayStation consoles, computers and iOS and Android. This has caused the title to pick up sales from multiple sources as well as allow developer Playdead to become part of the mainstream consciousness when they released their next title, Inside. 

With these implementations proving successful for both console, PC and mobile titles, there’s no doubt cellphone gaming will continue to thrive in this market and perhaps create more industry standards. You can be sure that with the advent and popularization of virtual reality technology and eSports, the new contenders will look to shake things up even further. So be sure to expect the unexpected as the malleable industry of gaming is shaped even further in the years to come. 

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