Mobile Gaming: Australia’s Fastest Growing Entertainment Segment

According to recent surveys, more people are playing mobile games in their free time, not just in Australia, but in Asia-Pacific. Here’s why mobile gaming is growing in popularity.

The rise of mobile gaming

Mobile gaming has surpassed online streaming, film, and radio as an entertainment channel. Marketing Mag estimates that the global market for mobile games was worth $98 billion in 2019, accounting for nearly half of the global gaming market worth an estimated $217 billion. 

By comparison, the global box office was worth nearly $61 billion, the subscription video on demand (SVOD) industry over $76 billion, and traditional radio, about $57 billion.

In a survey of 1,000 respondents, AdColony found that Australians spent more time playing mobile games with 57% of Australians playing games on their phones on a daily basis, up 43% prior to March 2020.    

67% said they were playing more mobile games while 47% reported downloading new games onto their handsets since March. 

And it’s not just avid gamers – AdColony saw 40% of completely new gamers enter the fold since March of this year.

The company observed a growth in time spent and frequency of use in most media channels although mobile gaming was a clear standout in terms of adoption.

The number of mobile gamers also increased across Asia-Pacific with 68% playing new games on their phone and 44% playing mobile games every day. Subscribe to Mobicity the latest information on mobile. 

Why Australians are spending more time on mobile games 

AdColony believes that the fast growth of mobile gaming in Australia is due in part to the increasing number of Aussies working from home, which has eliminated commute time and given individuals more opportunity to consume a wide variety of media. 

And according to PC World Australia, as the boundaries between work and recreational spaces begin to blur, consumers have found it easier to justify spending on their personal gaming set-up

The site saw an uptick in the purchase of curved monitor screens, studio speakers, and other equipment to create a comfortable play-work space that allows for immersive gaming with the comforts of home.  

Mobile has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive compared to other gaming equipment. Traditionally a consumer-driven channel, there has been a shift in consumer behavior with mobile – PC Word Australia notes that players are buying fewer games and spending more time on the ones they already have. 

In more general terms, Think With Google cites the following motivations for mobile gaming:

  • Entertainment 
  • Socialising
  • Relaxation 
  • Killing time
  • Adrenaline
  • Escapism
  • Competing
  • Aspiration
  • Training the brain

They also found that APAC mobile gamers rely on app stores and word-of-mouth recommendations to discover new games. 

Think With Google offers the following reasons for mobile gaming’s fast growth:

  • Increased accessibility via gaming subscriptions 
  • Convenient payment options for in-app purchases
  • Increased social connectivity via in-game barters, trades, etc. 
  • Bonus points, extra lives, extra energy, and other perks in exchange for ad views

But why mobile gaming, specifically? Why not TV or PC gaming? 

The answer is far simpler than you think, at least as far as Think With Google is concerned: Unlike TV or PC, Australians can take their smartphones anywhere, and whipping out your phone to play a quick game while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the supermarket than say, taking out a much bulkier laptop to check emails.

What are APAC gamers playing?

Some of the most popular mobile game genres include:

  • Arcade games
  • Simulation games
  • Trivia games
  • Educational games
  • Casual games

Hardcore mobile game genres like action, adventure, and racing have slowed by comparison although role-playing games (RPGs) have not, with RPG downloads and sessions experiencing steady growth. 

Further hardcore players invested in RPG titles are now using their smartphones as primary gaming devices.

Mobile gaming’s potential for advertising

Australians’ love of gaming is nothing new – according to Nielsen’s Digital Panel, gaming was the biggest digital entertainment channel in the country back in May 2019. 

Gamers also encompass a wide demographic with almost 73% of Australians between ages 16-64 identifying as gamers, according to Global Web Index. 

Chaos Theory Games counts a staggering 2.2 billion active mobile gamers of all ages across the world with women as the largest demographic.

This large and diverse demographic transcends the gamer stereotype, which some psychological studies have described as idle, asocial, unattractive, and unpopular.  

What’s in store for mobile gaming?

Industry experts believe that mobile gaming will generate the greatest proportion of total gaming revenue around the world by 2021 owing to the channel’s speed of growth.

eMarketer expects mobile to overtake TV when it comes to daily screen time. Most Australians will be devoting most of their screen time to mobile gaming. According to Think With Google, gamers spend an average of 6.5 hours each week playing on mobile while 78% use gaming apps on a daily basis. 

Even brands paying attention. Advertisers are touting gaming, particularly mobile gaming, as a highly effective engagement channel for brands. As an underutilised channel, mobile gaming presents tremendous advertising opportunities for brands that want to build a stronger presence on mobile channels.  

Mobicity brings you the latest on mobile games, gaming phones and other trends. Subscribe today for mobile industry news and updates.  

Clarence James

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