• In-App Monetization
  • Media Consumption & Trends

The State of Mobile Gaming

David Di Angelo
7 min read
Posted on June 15, 2022

The last few years in the gaming industry have certainly been a rollercoaster. With pandemic-related challenges, supply chain issues, canceled in-person events, huge acquisitions and deals, and the boost in smartphone use overall, the mobile gaming world continues to exercise a masterful level of endurance amidst heightened change. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the onset of Web 3, the Metaverse, and yes, the ever-volatile world of crypto introduced a new wave of ingenuity into gaming and mobile alike.  

Here at InMobi, we not only wanted to give industry folks a rundown of this past year in gaming, but also what’s to come. Here’s a preview of what we unpacked:  

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency and Google Privacy Sandbox 

Privacy has been a major theme in the mobile world since Apple launched its App Tracking Transparency feature last April. In an industry heavily reliant on targeted advertising and mobile user data, this change to IDFA protocols was sure to make publishers and advertisers nervous. And with design protocols for Google’s more balanced Android Privacy Sandbox currently available for review, this matter of privacy will continue to be a key point of industry conversation for years to come.  

A year into ATT, we are happy to report that we, and the industry as a whole, have adapted well with creative solutions that respect individuals’ privacy while enabling advertisers to reach their goals across both traditional gaming and newer in-game environments. (Meanwhile, opt-in rates are still relatively stable at 35%, especially with those game developers that take the time to educate consumers on the value exchange.) 

Acquisitions 

We all remember where we were when Microsoft announced its $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard just days after Take-Two's milestone acquisition of Zynga. While shocking, these deals say a lot, not only about the state of the gaming industry overall, but the dominating force of the hyper casual mobile gaming market. Zynga gave us Farmville and Activision Blizzard had previously acquired King Games.  While the gaming industry may still shy away from acknowledging the powerhouse combination of mobile and hyper casual gaming, clearly the makers behind Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty think otherwise.  

With the foretold recession, watch this space. We may see further consolidation across the field. This is especially true where we see publishers like Zynga acquiring tech players like Chartboost to gain greater transparency and control over their monetization and user acquisition.  

Trends 

We all know that trends come and go. They’re temporary reflections of the current whims of a consumer base. But we do want to draw attention to some trends with evidenced staying power. 

As it stands, pop culture is becoming a growing source of inspiration for mobile gaming, and we expect to see more crossover between gaming and the zeitgeist. Developers filled the Apple App Store and Google Play with Squid Game-inspired hyper casual experiences. Riot Games debuted Arcane on Netflix, basing the series off of the publisher’s League of Legends. The Witcher, another huge series on the streamer, also derives original inspiration from the video game franchise of the same title. Take-Two Interactive is partnering with the platform to bring a film adaptation of 2K Games’ BioShock.  

We’re also seeing many more developers employing their design skills to create the perfect scenarios for creating viral moments and buzz around their games. Take Wordle for instance. With the automatic built-in share function, creator Josh Wardle encouraged plenty of social media competitiveness and thus visits to the browser game, well before The New York Times jumped in to acquire it.  

Web 3.0 and Gaming 

I know we’re all trying to make sense of the gaming world in the wake of Web 3.0, crypto gaming, and the Metaverse. I also know that caution tends to be practiced when faced with unknowns. However, InMobi encourages the naysayers to treat this new phase of the Internet and gaming as a period of great innovation and potential.  

The Big Question  

Who will capture the future of entertainment? This is perhaps the single most important question across all entertainment/media industries. With companies like Netflix making huge plays in the gaming arena, and Epic Games acquiring the music streaming platform Bandcamp, more stakeholders are taking a multi-hyphenate, multi-industry approach to capturing the attention of audiences. There’s only 24 hours in a day. 

What’s Next 

Still need convincing? Join me at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on Tuesday, June 21 at 11am CET. I will be moderating a session with HUMAN, NBC Universal, WPP, Reddit, and Anzu to discuss these trends in the context of innovative new advertising units and the safest ways to buy them.   

Can’t make it to Cannes? Read more in our new annual report on all things Metaverse.   

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