about 1 year ago • 2 mins
The mobile games market is forecast to shrink this year, for the first time in over ten years.
What does this mean?
Mobile games have been around almost as long as cell phones themselves, as anyone who’s played Snake on an old, indestructible Nokia will tell you. But the industry moved at a slithering pace till 2008, when Apple’s App Store went live and unleashed an era of growth that carried the industry giddily into 2020. That’s when Covid hit, and locked-down consumers sought relief in games, pushing the red-hot market to $100 billion. But the good news ended this year: as lockdowns disappeared, demand for escapist games ebbed – just as advertising costs jumped. And with inflation emptying consumers’ wallets, few had cash to splash on trifling things like mobile games. That might be why the market’s overall revenue is forecast to fall 6% this year to $92 billion – a complete U-turn from last year’s 7% growth and a night-and-day difference from 26% two years back.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Unplugging the gap.
Mobile makes up about half of the entire gaming industry, and in recent years it’s plugged the gap as console and PC revenues shrank. But these forecasts suggest that’s unlikely to pan out this year – which could be why the overall gaming industry’s expected to shrink 4.3%. Still, some people think 2022’s just a blip: there are still plenty of markets where smartphone use is just catching on, which might signal that there’s growth to come down the line.
The bigger picture: Consoling customers.
Of all the pinpricks that have punctured the console market, supply snags are some of the most troublesome – especially for Sony’s sought-after Playstation 5. But there are signs that things are finally improving, with data out this week showing that Sony helped drive last month’s 45% jump in US gaming hardware sales. The lesson: consoles just might make a comeback.
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