One thing is clear – the fast and exponential rise of mobile platforms is inevitable and very likely to be accompanied by a similar growth in mobile gaming industry. Here are top six trends we will all watch grow and blossom in 2015
1. Mobile gaming will be more accessible than ever
Think about all the people you know – how many of them own a smartphone? Probably the majority. 2014 was a breakthrough year for smartphone market penetration all over the world – in the US, it's expected to reach a smashing 75% by the end of this year alone.
All people who own smartphones are potential gaming audience – even if they don't treat their gadgets as gaming devices. This widespread access to mobile gaming will change the games themselves, but also bring lots of revenue to game developers. Today, the US 'live game' revenue oscillates around $24 billion and it's expected to rise to $106 billion in just 5 years!
2. Console and PC games will go mobile
This doesn't mean that successful console or PC game brands will extend their activity to mobile by creating games that just resonate their brands. Mobile will become a new platform used to enrich the game-play experience, or even provide a separate experience from the console game.
Some games will be translated into mobile environments to provide the exact same experience – like Blizzard's Hearthstone, which plays in the exact same way on tablets as it does on PC. Compared to laptops, tablets will become a gamers' top choice for cheap and portable gaming device.
3. Premium will return
During the last few years, game monetization schemes have been changing in many unexpected ways. We've moved from expensive mobile games to light versions with the possibility of buying premium or free-to-play games with in-app purchases.
In 2015, we'll see game developers experiment on that front, perhaps switching from the dominant free-to-play scheme to games with an up-front cost. It's likely that brands will seek new opportunities for advertisements, sponsorships and subscriptions.
4. Live games will provide great gaming experiences
Live games proved to be a great means for collecting data – the fact that game developers continually update the game's content, allows them to learn which strategies are most appreciated by gamers. Live games will also be used for developing customer relationships through additional services, events and continuous updates.
5. Free-to-play will change
For the better! Sometimes, free-to-play games fail because they focus too much on the monetization – they do, after all, depend on those paid user acquisitions. Building a long-lasting consumer relationship in this environment is challenging.
Game developers are slowly realizing that by providing a high quality product that offers a really captivating gaming experience is full of opportunities to make money without sacrificing consumer-brand relationship. This new approach also helps to reduce the costs of getting new players. In 2015, free-to-play games will be more fun than ever.
6. Social media virality
In 2015, we'll see lots of social features added to games. Consider the new Candy Crush Soda Saga and the way it's connected to Facebook. This kind strategy will help brands in getting new players via word of mouth leveraged through social media platforms. Games in conjunction with social media channels will create functional ecosystems, powering game virality by emphasizing the preferences of their users.
In 2015, mobile will act as an additive platform to complement the console and PC – and brands are likely to seize this moment to create great multi-platform gaming experiences.
Cindy Boesel works at BizStats.co.uk. She is interested in IT startups and the ways Mobile is changing business globally.