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Mobile gaming thrives

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 23 August 2018, 8:35 am

So, you want to strike it rich in entertainment? Forget the movies and pour your creative talents into gaming instead - it's worth three times as much globally. And one of the fastest growing segments is mobile. According to global games research company Newzoo, global app revenues will reach $58.1 billion in revenue by 2020. Not surprising given there are 3.39 billion mobile users worldwide.

These statistics are contained within a report by app marketing company Liftoff. It's an interesting mix of data and research assembled from a range of different research and analytics companies. It's well worth a read if you are thinking of applying your tech and design skills to creating mobile games.

Among its findings is that female gamers are the most valuable mobile players - they cost less to acquire and spend more on in-app purchases, than men. But it doesn't appear that women (who incidentally make up 46% of all gamers, according to Newzoo) are being well catered to, with a survey of the top 100 games on Google Play showing that most have male characters and another study showing that 60% of women don't believe that games are made for them.

This may be on account of the fact that women are generally under-represented in the tech sector, especially in countries like New Zealand. In a speech earlier this month to the NZ Games Developers Association, Communications Minister Clare Curran said 21% of employees in game development were female, compared to 23% in the tech sector. While recognising the need to improve the participation of women in the sector, Curran noted that there are some great initiatives already underway.

These include the Girls Behind Games movement started by Runaway, which promotes gender parity and diversity in the gaming industry, the Media Design School's 'Girls in Games' scholarship for one female game artist and one female game programmer, and the organisation She Sharp [She#] which connects young women with women working in the tech industry so that they can see the opportunities that tech qualifications can provide.

While not quite approaching the eye-watering billion-dollar figures quoted in the Liftoff report, the NZ Game Development sector is on the up, this year recording a 43% in annual revenue growth to $143 million.

So, if you are planning on increasing the pie and want to target women mobile games, the Liftoff report suggests that the games that will most appeal are puzzles. Men apparently prefer strategy and action games. Casino games are "gender neutral". It's all a bit too much like stereotyping, and I'm sure we could debate the veracity of these insights, but on the other hand, if 60% of women don't feel they are being catered to, then maybe there is some helpful information in there.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that the top market for mobile gaming is China, according to the Liftoff report. It is the largest market by app store consumer spend, and nearly half the top apps were owned by China-headquartered companies.

You can read the full report here.



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