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Welcome To The Era Of Mobile-First Gaming

Claire Nance, Head of Marketing Communications

Claire Nance, Head of Marketing Communications

March 04, 2021

5 minute read

Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Diablo.

No, these are not the latest console or PC video game titles. They’re mobile games, coming soon to a phone near you.

These titles represent some of the most-loved franchises in gaming, with loyal fanbases, high engagement, and a legacy of quality gameplay and storytelling. They also represent a new era in mobile gaming, one where the top video game titles look just as home on your phone as they do on your gaming console.

In the past, the simplicity of mobile game mechanics meant they weren’t able to replicate the same immersive experience as triple-A console games. But mobile games have come a long way. The launch of several iconic gaming franchises and triple-A games on mobile has seen the mobile emerge as a legitimate gaming platform in its own right, one which is home to captivating worlds, epic battles, and legendary storytelling.

Crash On The Run

There’s no doubt mobile has changed the game, quite literally, when it comes to video games. It has made gaming accessible to those who didn’t own a gaming platform, allowing more people than ever before to play, interact and connect. With mobile gaming, people have a gaming console in their pockets and can play without the investment into additional gaming tech and hardware. From that viewpoint, the evolution of these much-loved gaming franchises to mobile makes sense - it offers a way to further engage with fans while offering a low barrier to entry and greater accessibility. In 2020 in the US alone, mobile gaming generated over $14B in revenue and had over 190M players, with mobile gaming played by 91% of gamers.1

So why are these big-name titles making the leap to mobile now? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, better technology has meant better gameplay. Moves that were once only possible on a console with a specifically-designed controller and optimal processing power can now take place on mobile. The visuals, controls, and storytelling that make console games so popular, can now be experienced on mobile devices when previously this just wouldn’t have been possible. In today’s mobile games you can line up a shot, navigate tight curves on a racetrack and collect Wumpa fruit with ease. 

Secondly, mobile gaming’s popularity presents an opportunity for these franchises and titles to reach more people than ever before. At a time when people are looking for ways to connect and engage, mobile gaming presents an easy way to do just that. For many players, the time is right to be introduced to the franchises, characters, and storylines that are loved so much on console and PC. Mobile also makes it easier for those wanting to re-engage with franchises they may have played years earlier on console, bringing those players a sense of nostalgia and familiarity. In short, mobile allows these iconic games to deliver joy, connection, and purpose to even more players and fans. 

Call of Duty Mobile

But what does this mean for marketers and why should they be paying close attention to the influx of big-name gaming titles on mobile?

  • Mobile gaming is here to stay: The investment by leading publishers in bringing iconic gaming franchises to mobile demonstrates that mobile isn’t just the here and now, it’s an intrinsic part of the future of interactive entertainment. Sure, mobile gaming isn’t necessarily new, but its advancement shows its longevity and why it can’t be ignored by brands when looking for ways to interact with audiences.
  • Advertisers can align with premium brands and titles: The launch of these big-name titles on mobile delivers an opportunity for brands to be positioned within iconic titles and franchises they haven’t been able to previously. For the most part, advertisers can’t activate in console titles, missing out on an opportunity to align with premium IP and brands. The shift of these well-known titles to mobile gaming however changes all of that. 
  • Audiences are passionate and highly engaged: These much-loved franchises bring with them already established fanbases, as well as the buzz and excitement to attract new ones. Their fans are passionate, enthusiastic, and most importantly, highly-engaged. Brands have the opportunity to reach these fans when they are already enjoying and engaging with the games they love.

With increasingly sophisticated gameplay experiences and enhanced visuals, mobile games are entering a new era. As more iconic gaming titles and franchises make the shift to mobile, the opportunities for brands to tap into the high-valuable gamer audience continue to grow. 


 1Newzoo Global Games Market Report 2020

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