Mobile gaming is not just fun, but big business worth billions of dollars and is in many ways the cornerstone of the metaverse. Gaming companies like Fortnite developer Epic Games have already started create virtual worlds of their own to compete with the ones developed by Facebook-owner Meta. However, that doesn’t explain what mobile gaming is or what the opportunities are. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered.

Mobile gaming refers to playing video games on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The most important aspects of this sector are the processors and displays, connectivity via telecom networks and cloud services and LiveOps.

Most processors in smartphones and tablets are specially designed systems on a chip (SoCs). An SoC is a microchip that contains all the computing components required for the device on a single integrated circuit, including a graphics processing unit (GPU), a central processing unit (CPU), system memory and input/output (I/O) connectivity.

The CPU determines the speed at which the device performs when a game is played, while the GPU determines the speed at which the graphics are rendered. The clarity of graphics on a mobile device depends on the display’s resolution and refresh rate . The word resolution refers to the number of distinct pixels a display accommodates. Refresh rate is the count of how many times the screen updates per second.

Mobile gaming publishers rely on telecom operators to provide internet connectivity and Big Tech to distribute games via app stores. They also need cloud and edge infrastructure services providers – such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure – to deploy game content closer to users, reducing latency and improving the quality of the experience.

LiveOps is a set of practices that modify a game following its launch. Game developers use LiveOps to get insights into the performance of games, understand consumer behavioral trends, and implement strategies to add users and generate revenue. LiveOps helps them focus on user acquisition, engagement, monetisation, marketing and troubleshooting.

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Mobile gaming dominates the video games market

Mobile gaming is already bigger than the console and PC gaming markets combined, contributing nearly 57% of global video games revenue in 2021. The growing maturity of streaming, cloud gaming services and mobile esports – combined with the fact that mobile platforms are close to technical parity with PCs and consoles – means most gamers will embrace mobile gaming in the next few years.

Traditional console and PC game publishers like Activision Blizzard, Sony and Electronic Arts are increasingly focused on the new market segment due to its popularity with gamers worldwide and lucrative revenue opportunities.

They compete with companies like Tencent, Sea and Perfect World, which primarily focus on mobile gaming. Social media platforms such as ByteDance, online advertisers like AppLovin and video streaming services like Netflix are also moving into mobile games publishing.

The increased availability of 5G networks in the coming years will drive more users towards mobile gaming, especially multiplayer titles. This, in turn, will boost the growth of mobile esports.

5G will drive the next wave of innovation in the industry

5G networks allow games to be downloaded faster than current 4G networks and aid the development of mobile-based cloud gaming services and augmented reality (AR) games. With the ability to support one million devices within a single square kilometer, 5G will drive more users towards mobile gaming, especially multiplayer titles. This, in turn, will boost the growth of mobile esports.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publications.