Mobile gaming is taking over. A new report by App Annie and IDC found that mobile gaming has increased its share of the worldwide gaming market, as direct consumer spending on mobile games was more than one-third higher than the spending total on consoles, PC/Mac, and handhelds combined.
According to the report, the mobile segment only became the highest individual segment of the market in 2014. Even in 2016, it had only just overtaken the combined spending of those other segments, and then by a single-digit margin. Last year, mobile gaming brought in 2.3 times the PC/Mac total spend on games, and 3.6 times that of home consoles.
App Annie and IDC pointed to explosive growth in a handful of key markets--specifically China, Japan, and South Korea--as the reason for the mobile market's increased prominence. While mobile is growing around the world, 60% of all consumer spending on mobiles last year came from the Asia-Pacific region.
Just as mobile casts a large shadow in the gaming industry, so too do games cast a large shadow on mobile. The report says that games represented nearly 80% of total worldwide consumer spend on the iOS App Store and Google Play, even though they accounted for just 35% of the apps downloaded.
As for trends in the games themselves, App Annie and IDC pointed toward the growing prominence of live PvP or co-operative gameplay. In fact, 2017's two highest grossing titles on both iOS App Store and Google Play feature live PvP play. On iOS, that was Tencent's Honour of Kings and NetEase's Fantasy Westward Journey. On Google Play, the top two spots were claimed by Netmarble's Lineage 2 Revolution and NCsoft's Lineage M, respectively.
The acceleration of live PvP and co-op games' growth was credited to the increased prominence of esports titles, as well as social media influencers who feature such games.
The report also contained data from a recent survey showing that live PvP and co-op gamers are still in the minority. Only 44% of PC/Mac and console gamers and 34% of smartphone or handheld gamers played live PvP or co-op games. However, those who did play mobile live PvP and co-op games were more likely to play for over 5 hours a week, and "far more likely" to have spent money on the games they played.