Gaming on mobile has by far been one of the most popular activities and has in fact, been rated as one of the most enjoyable activities on smartphones, second only to bonding with family and friends on social media. Though mobile gaming is popular globally, it is also no surprise that emerging markets are leading the race here too, driving the growth both in terms of adoption and revenues.
48% of all mobile gamers today come from emerging markets and the growing adoption of smartphones in these markets is one of the key reasons for the flourishing mobile gaming economy.
A mobile gamer's preference ranges from anything between arcade, racing and puzzle to action, adventure or strategy. However Massively Multi-player Online gaming or MMO gaming, a multiplayer format of gaming that was popular on desktop internet, is today gaining mass appeal among mobile gamers. Games such as Clash of Clans, Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Duty and Teen Patti, bring together mobile gamers from across the globe in a multiplayer environment where they go up against each other.
MMO gaming is so popular today that it is registering the highest growth in terms of mobile gaming revenues. To put things in perspective, mobile gaming revenues globally touched the USD 25 billion mark in 2014. With an estimated USD 11 Billion in revenues by the end of 2014, MMO gaming on mobile made up for 21% of the global digital games market.
This type of gaming is highly social in nature, wherein gamers from around the world come together, interact and often team up to play with each other. While MMO games have been highly popular since the desktop internet days, smartphones have given this format of gaming the mass reach it could not have achieved before.
For most consumers in emerging markets, the smartphone is also their primary way of accessing internet. Therefore, MMO gaming has now become even more accessible to this population. It is no surprise then that Asia is the highest contributor to the growth of MMO gaming. According to a SuperData Research estimate, Asia has contributed close to USD 4.2 Billion in 2014 in terms of MMO gaming revenues.
Furthermore, most of the MMO gaming revenue growth is driven by freemium gaming apps or apps with in-app purchases. With an estimated USD 3.3 Billion in revenues, Asia also is the biggest market for free-to-play MMO games.
Freemium has always been the most preferred way of consuming content in emerging markets. This is also why why free-to-play is so popular among publishers given its ability to distribute and monetize new markets. The growing demand for MMO gaming in emerging markets, fueled by the demand for free-to-play MMO games, is giving marketers the opportunity to unlock a new level of monetization in these markets.