Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Credit: Sydi Sydow
Gamescom 2019 kicks off this week in Cologne, Germany, August 20-24 — gathering global experts, publishers and gamers from across the world. Mobile gaming is set to be front and center as mobile gaming consumer spend already exceeded the combined game spending total on home consoles, PC and Macs, and handheld consoles by 20% in 2018. Mobile gaming reached new heights in H1 2019 — comprising 21.6 billion downloads and $32.8 billion in consumer spend across iOS and Google Play. Given gaming drove nearly 75% of consumer spend across iOS and Google Play, conversations are likely to focus on monetization, including the evolution of subscription-based platforms.
Why It Matters:
Subscription gaming is creating new pathways to revenue for publishers and engagement for gamers. Both app store leaders — Google (Play Pass) and Apple (Arcade) have entered this new frontier.
In H1 2019, Google Play maintained the lion’s share of mobile downloads worldwide, while the iOS App Store led in app store monetization. Google Play reaches more consumers, while iOS has tapped into those who are more willing or able to spend money on games. This market spread is important to take into account when developing a mobile game and planning your monetization strategy. Are you going to focus on generating a high ARPU or enabling a larger number of consumers to play for free by shifting the burden of payment from gamers to advertisers? In the latter model, reach, engagement and targeting are important factors to consider for publishers to attract advertising dollars, all while considering how well various monetization strategies align with your game's core gameplay mechanics and natural breaks in the action.
The livestream game platform on YouTube.
Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade widen the monetization pool for gaming publishers, allowing for a monthly subscription service. This is likely to be beneficial to both smaller indie publishers and established market leaders, and has the potential to widen the market for gamers. While Google Play Pass is in early testing phases and has not yet been formally announced, Apple Arcade is expected to launch in November 2019. Considering that mobile gaming already saw 20% more consumer spend than all other forms of gaming combined in 2018, we are interested to see how these new services roll out and impact gaming markets across around the world.