Oh the difference 10 years makes. Who would have suspected that, within one measly decade, we’d have droves of gamers ditching their handheld consoles for Angry Birds and see punters laying spread bets on the bus?
The explosion of mobile and tablet technology has reconstituted every aspect of techno-culture, from gaming to media to commerce. Here are a few positive and – perhaps – not so positive aspects of the mobile revolution you might have overlooked…
1) Forget news reading, welcome to news snacking
According to an 8,000 respondent study by Mobiles Republic (a global news syndication company), modern media consumption is all about ‘news snacking’ – i.e. scouring content and news sites for bite-size nuggets of info rather than reading traditional articles in full. This has been directly attributed to the prevalence of smart phones and the rise of 3G and 4G.
There are pros and cons to this trend. On the one hand, it is arguably devaluing thoughtful, substantive journalism. On the flipside, more people are accessing at least some form of news content, meaning the population is arguably better informed as a whole. Regardless of your perspective, breadth rather than depth seems to be the wave of the future.
2) Half of consumers play mobile games on the toilet
Yep. A new study investigating people’s gaming habits (performed by London-based company Mind Candy), has found that half of respondents got their Temple Run fix while sitting on the throne. Other findings reveal that 58% of those surveyed stay up late playing mobile games in bed, while 42% play during the morning commute.
In an unrelated, but clearly relevant, note, Time revealed that random chemical analysis shows up faecal matter on one-in-six smart phones. Remember, always wash and flush after you Candy Crush.
3) Mobile is killing the handheld console industry
This is perhaps unsurprising, though the rate of collapse faced by the ‘traditional’ portable gaming market and simultaneous ascendance of mobile gaming is staggering.
In Japan (typically considered a bulwark of portable gaming consoles), console sales are down 16% since 2012, representing a $400 million year-on-year decline in revenue. By contrast, mobile gaming profits have rocketed from a measly $370 million in 2011 to an eye-popping $5.1 billion in 2013.
While I won’t endorse the obvious syllogism here, it is clear that a wildly successful mobile gaming market is eating into the market share of portable gaming consoles.
4) Keep an eye on China…
China’s mobile gaming sector is a “hot space with lots of potential for growth,” according to a recent report by The Next Web.
Tencat, operator of popular Chinese social app WeChat now boasts 180 million daily users on its distribution channels. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has estimated that the mobile gaming economy generated around $2 billion in 2013.
Such is the strength of the Chinese market that established brands from the mobile sector are looking to mobilise in the territory. For instance, Sean Rad (CEO of Tinder) has apparently set his sights on introducing his popular dating app to Chinese singletons.
5) Mobile gambling is on the rise (but not as fast as you’d think)
Research performed at the Media & Entertainment Consulting Network (MECN) suggests that 30% of new customers at online casinos and sportsbooks signed up via mobile services. The mobile sector as a whole has been valued at something in the order of $10 billion.
That being said, the data states that 70% of revenue from mobile gambling comes from existing customers, implying that new players have been generally slow on the uptake.
“Mobile gambling hasn’t given us quite the boost we expected,” says David Merry, CEO of Castle Casino and the man behind their live roulette product. “However, we still push mobile play because experienced players demand the freedom to play as and when they choose. Mobile will definitely figure heavily in the future of our industry.”
6) 70% of online bets were made using mobiles during the world cup
You might not have realised, but a little known sporting tournament took place in Brazil this year. Of all the footy fans who laid cash on their favourites to win, a full 70% did so using a mobile platform, as revealed by Secure Trading.
“We’ve seen a huge surge in mobile gaming during the World Cup,” said commercial director at Secure Trading, Jens Bader. “Heavy advertising campaigns coupled with the rise of ‘second hand screening’ have led to a massive boost for operators.”
Online bookmakers are starting to take advantage of this lucrative new arm of the industry by sharing tips via social media and taking wagers on some in-play markets via Facebook.
7) An increasing number of companies are going ‘mobile first’
Such is the scale and ubiquity of the mobile market that many brands re going ‘mobile first,’ – i.e. assuming that the majority of their customer base will access their services on mobile rather than in-store or desktop.
In a slightly breathless article, the Huffington Post claimed it was imperative for businesses to develop sustainable mobile strategies if they hope to survive the widespread transition to mobile.
“Becoming mobile-first is about enabling services that are only possible in a mobile world,” Huffpost concludes. “[This is] a pretty exciting challenge across industries, and an opportunity to reset the playing field in your industry.”
Given recent trends, this is sound advice indeed.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk / huffingtonpost.com / cnbc.com