Gaming Goes Mobile: The Role of RMG Apps in the Global App Market Expansion

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Gaming Goes Mobile
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The popularity of gaming apps is proving to be a massive influence on the global app market. The traditional PC and console-based games required a dedicated infrastructure and play space. The game of rummy needs a group of friends to get together around a table. But as smartphones became more and more commonplace, mobile gaming became the most sought-after gaming option. 

With mobile gaming came more and more real-money gaming apps, which have pushed the industry to greater heights. Unlike the physical game, an app like Playship would teach you rummy rules and let you try your hand with free tournaments before hitting the real money games scene. Thousands of apps like Playship have catapulted the gaming industry revenue in India beyond the $3 billion mark last year and made it a global multi-billion-dollar behemoth.

The Growth in Popularity of RMG Apps Over the Years

The potential of the mobile phone as a gaming device was recognised years ago. That explains the Snake game in the early Nokia mobiles, which also came up with N-Gage - the gamer’s mobile phone. What we needed was high-speed internet connectivity. Early mobile games like Fruit Ninja played their part in raising this potential further.

The free-to-play concept saw the arrival of many more popular mobile games, from Candy Crush to the Clash of Clans. Esports like FIFA and League of Legends were originally popular as PC and console games. However, these games have migrated to mobiles as well over the years. They also marked the arrival of real-money games, along with the introduction of popular card games like rummy and poker. 

By 2023, the average spending on real-money games in India reached $45, compared to $13 in other games. In India, 55% of the total gaming market was dominated by real-money games. Card games, fantasy sports and lottery-based games are among the key sub-segments of real-money games. With mobile apps preferred by 94% of gamers in India, it is obvious that the powerplay in gaming is largely down to real-money game mobile apps.

Mobile Gaming and Other Platforms - The Global Scene

Understandably, many gamers will continue to go for commanding desktop rigs or connect their consoles to their TV screen for an immersive experience. But modern-day smartphones are proving to be the overwhelming choice for gaming worldwide. In 2023, mobile apps generated $90 billion for the global gaming market, compared to $53 billion through consoles and $38 billion through PCs. Half of the global gaming market is mobile-driven. 

The top five mobile game markets in the world are India with 9.3 billion downloads on Google Play in 2023, Brazil with 4.2 billion, Indonesia with 3.2 billion, Russia with 2.4 billion and the United States with 2.3 billion downloads. In terms of money spent, the United States, South Korea and Japan had the most consumer spending in 2023. The global gaming community has 3.2 billion gamers, and 2.2 billion of them are active mobile gamers. 

What Contributed to This Growth?

With almost all global mobile gaming numbers running into billions, a pertinent question to ponder at this point is - how did it get this big?

When mobile phones replaced landline phones, the pull for the customers was the increased connectivity and portability. As smartphone penetration across the world increased, any popular app came with the inherent potential of reaching out to billions. Why else would apps like Facebook and WhatsApp have become so popular? Similarly, gaming apps became easily accessible. Downloading them was easy and one could play with anyone from anywhere. 

The improvement in mobile graphics meant that gamers now get a screen crackling with 4k displays. Sophisticated hardware technology in mobiles has enhanced the visual appeal, with gamers getting a crisp gaming experience. 

The availability of fast internet connection has been instrumental in the popularity of real-money game mobile apps. More than 1.6 billion people across the world use the 5G internet. This will continue to grow for the next few years, as 5.3 billion people are expected to use 5G by 2029.

Downloads and Apps

Advanced countries have already reached a high level of maturity in terms of smartphone penetration, with 76% penetration among adults. In countries like South Korea, it is as high as 95%. Developing countries like Brazil and South Africa have penetration levels of around 60%, with India also seeing a penetration rate of 71%. It won’t be long before these countries also reach the penetration maturity levels of the advanced economies. This, in turn, will reflect a further increase in the contribution of real-money game apps towards the gaming industry.

Of the 148.2 billion app downloads in 2023, 55.6 billion were gaming apps. China, India and the United States are among the major downloaders, with India accounting for 15% of all apps downloaded in the world.

Thus, it would be only fair to say that the expansion of the global app market is hugely pinned on the growing popularity of real-money game apps across the world.