How Mobile Gaming Thrives Throughout 2021

Trivia question: what makes up the majority of the gaming market? If you answered PC or consoles, you’re wrong. According to a recent study by DCI, mobile gaming trumps both put together.


Mobile gaming now accounts for the majority of the overall market, sitting at just over half (51%). The market’s overall value reached record figures, and is expected to grow to a staggering $165.9 billion for the year. For 2020 as a whole, it’s projected that mobile gaming will outsell consoles and desktops by 3.1.x and 2.8x respectively.

Mobile Gaming Thrives

It’s fair to say that mobile gaming is thriving this calendar year. But how? And why? In something that’s akin to a ‘year in review’ editorial, let’s get into the trends of mobile gaming and what’s propelled its spectacular growth.

Exploding in Developing Countries

Mobile gaming has seen steady growth in the developed world for at least a decade, but it’s only in recent years that it’s really taken developing economies by storm. We can consider two factors key: 1) lower price for decent spec smartphones and 2) greater availability of competitively priced 4G networks. In other words, mobile gaming is no longer prohibitively expensive.

For example, Thailand is seeing exceptional growth in recent years, and overall user penetration is expected to reach almost 10% by the end of the year. In Latin America, mobile gaming has grown year on year and is now the first choice for both seasoned and casual gamers alike.

India’s Spectacular Growth

But perhaps the most impressive growth is currently occurring in India, with the number of users expected to balloon from 201 million in 2016 to 370 million in 2022.

India’s growth is unsurprising, especially considering the country’s position as a leading smartphone manufacturer. The availability of high-end smartphones has opened up options in India, with users now able to run high-end games like Call of Duty: Mobile and Elder Scrolls.

Interestingly, significant growth can also be attributed to the popularity of live online gambling in India. Many live dealer games are now offered with full mobile compatibility. That means you can enjoy one of the best Indian casinos with real dealers right from your phone or tablet and interact with real human dealers via a live streaming video interface, all without sacrificing gameplay features.

Pandemic = Catalyst for Growth?

2020 has turned many of us into part-time hermits. The long initial lockdown many of us experienced meant that leaving the house for anything other than groceries was not a realistic option, which in turn resulted in mobile gaming seeing unprecedented growth. After all, what else were we meant to do?

However, it seems that Covid-19 was simply a catalyst for something that was going to occur no matter what. The easing of lockdown measures, for example, has not resulted in a sudden downturn in the gaming market. If anything, we’re seeing even more growth.

It seems that the general public is now seeing the potential of mobile gaming, while the hardcore sector has also come to the realization that mobile gaming more than meets the quality they expect. Gone are the days when smartphones were 2nd-rate alternatives to consoles and PCs. These days, mobile gaming offers an experience that is just as good.

By 2023, 43% of Smartphones Will Be 5G Ready

To round off this editorial, let’s have a look at the upcoming effect of 5G on mobile gaming. According to a NewZoo report, 43% of smartphones will be capable of running on 5G by 2023. This means that in just a few years, cloud gaming will be sitting pretty front and center of the industry.

5G gaming is a serious step up from what we have available now. Its connection speeds can reach up to ten times of the best what 4G has to offer. That means insane download speeds, but also much improved latency. That means ultra sharp and smooth gameplay, as close as you can get to consoles and PCs.

I’m confident that once 5G hits the mainstream, mobile gaming will take an unassailable lead over traditional options. The difference in gameplay will be minute or even non-existent, making mobile, not just a convenient alternative for when you’re out of the house, but the first port of call when it comes to gaming.