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  • Xavier Cullen

Is mobile gaming a pocket-sized powerhouse?

Mobile gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, with millions of players worldwide playing. (Photo by Vain Shame/Flickr)

While many hardcore gamers might scoff at the idea of mobile games being as highly regarded as console and computer games, the revenue generated by the mobile industry says otherwise.

The global mobile gaming market was valued at over $100 billion in 2021, and it is projected to surpass $160 billion in revenue by 2025, according to Statista Digital Market Outlook.

The main reason for this is the vast number and prominence of free-to-play mobile games. In fact, the top 10 highest grossing mobile games of 2021 were all free-to-play. In total, free-to-play mobile games generated $73.8 billion in 2020, according to SuperData Research. They are by far the biggest moneymaker in the mobile market.

The two main ways that these free-to-play mobile games generate great amounts of revenue are through advertisements and in-app purchases (IAP). The average IAP per payer was just under $5, and the average payer completed just under 1.5 IAPs from 2019 to 2020, according to Unity Technologies.

PUBG Mobile was the highest grossing free-to-play mobile game, cashing in over $1.1 billion from January to September 2021, and it is the only mobile game to surpass the $1 billion mark, according to AppMagic.

But what is the importance of this?

For the general audience, it means that mobile games, especially free-to-play ones, are becoming more profitable and higher in quality than ever before. For the esports industry, it means that mobile gaming has a wide enough audience — and enough money behind it — that esports leagues have become increasingly popular.

As stated before, PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular mobile games right now, and the current 2021 esports season for the PUBG Mobile Pro League is generating an average 290,197 viewers, peaking at 660,012 viewers, according to Esports Charts.

However, it’s not just gamers and esports leagues who can benefit from this. For advertisers and non-endemic brands looking to get their names into mobile gaming, there is a wide catalog of mobile games and esports leagues that are looking for advertisers to continue this dominant trend of mobile gaming.

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