How Mobile Phones Have Changed the Gaming Industry

When I grew up, I considered it a luxury to play a colorless version of Snake on my old Nokia 3310. As a 12-year-old gamer, this was as good as it got in terms of gaming on the move. Now, two decades later, I’m looking forward to Diablo Immortal while enjoying Call of Duty, Genshin Impact, Grid Autosport, and several other mobile games that outshine what I used to be playing on my desktop computer as a kid.

Times have changed, to say the least… But to get a better perspective of this, let us have a look at some recent statistics over mobile gaming.

Mobile Gaming Statistics

According to, which has sourced its information from market research company Newzoo, mobile gaming has gone from having a share of 18% of the global gaming industry in 2012 to 57% in 2020.


Making the shift in 2018, mobile gaming is bigger than PC and console gaming combined. In terms of value, further shows that mobile gaming has grown from $8.6 billion in 2011 to $121 billion in 2021. The growth is projected to continue, with the market reaching $169 billion in 2025.


Top 10 Most Popular Mobile Games

Taking a look at the top 10 mobile games with the most downloads, it is clear that any genre can make it as a mobile game. As long as the game is fun and user-friendly, there seems to be an audience for it.




Garena Free Fire

Battle Royale

1 billion

PUBG Mobile

Battle Royale

1 billion

Pokémon Go

Augmented Reality

1 billion

Subway Surfers

Endless Runner

1 billion

Clash of Clans


500 million

Fruit Ninja


500 million

Candy Crush Saga


500 million

Among Us


485 million

Mini World


400 million

Sonic Dash

Endless Runner

350 million

Source: Wikipedia

While not yet included on the top 10 list, it is likely that the RPG genre will make an introduction to it as soon as Blizzard Activision releases Diablo Immortal. This is estimated to be at the beginning of 2022.

The Mobile Gambling Industry

It’s not only video games that have shifted focus from desktop to mobile devices. We had the pleasure of speaking with the owner of the review site GamblingBaba, Mattias Fröbrant, whose livelihood includes rating and listing mobile casinos in India. When asked, he had this to say about the mobile rise:

“The advancement of the mobile industry has totally changed the entire gambling sphere. Back in 2010, when internet gambling started to become popular, rarely anyone was gambling on their mobile device. The vast majority of slot machines couldn’t even be played on phones as the technology of the time required game developers to make specific slots for mobile devices, something they didn’t bother with.

Fast-forward to today, and mobile gambling is dominating the industry. Today, everyone puts mobile users first as these are in the majority. I do, too, when designing my review site. About 70% of all visitors I receive are visiting from a mobile device. Any type of gambling game is playable on any type of device, and thanks to HTML5 technology that has replaced Flash, developers don’t need to make mobile-specific games any longer. The popularity of gambling from a phone is no surprise; it’s incredibly convenient.

If serious first-person shooters and other games that are heavy on graphics and mechanics can become widely popular mobile games, it only makes sense that the gambling industry, which is far less demanding, is following the same increasing mobile pattern.

The Future of Mobile Gaming

As already covered earlier, projections show that mobile gaming will further increase in market value and possibly continue to steal shares from PC and console gaming. Playing a key role in this is 5G which is rarely used today but is being rolled out more and more.

Indifference to 4G, which allows for internet speeds of 15 MB per second, 5G will make it possible to connect with speeds of 1 – 10 GB per second. This means a couple of things for the mobile gaming industry.

First of all, you won’t be required to download any games as cloud gaming will emerge. This will allow you to play the game from a server where all files are hosted, as opposed to having the files stored on your phone.

Secondly, latency will be heavily reduced; from 200ms with 4G to 1ms with 5G. This will benefit all multiplayer games, as well as the mobile eSports scene.

Thirdly, 4K gaming, which Google recommends using a 35 MB connection for, will become an option. The same can be said about VR. Many mobile phones can already be used for a VR gaming experience but aren’t because VR is very heavy on internet connections.

With the above in mind, it should also be mentioned how cheap mobile phones are compared to PC and consoles. When buying a modern phone, it’s not only a powerful gaming device that you’re getting but also a camera and communication tool which can be brought with you anywhere.

How Developers Go About Mobile Gaming

For those of us who love PC and console gaming and find it difficult to play on mobile devices, the sad truth is that the gaming industry isn’t longer prioritized towards us. Game developers go where the money is, and this is among the mobile users. Of course, as long as there is a market for it, PC and console gaming will never disappear, and it isn’t likely that mobile phones can replace this. At least not for now.

However, from a business standpoint, making mobile games in favor of PC and console games can make a lot of sense. Many times, they are cheaper to develop, easier to distribute through Google’s and iOS’ app stores and reach a much wider audience since almost everyone has a phone. This is why we see many cross-platform games where popular titles become available on PC, console, and mobile devices. 

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