There used to be a time when desktop computers and consoles were the exclusive gaming platforms. What’s more, gaming was more of a niche, reserved for the “hardcore” crowd.
The advent of smartphones shook things up big time. Today, in 2023, mobile gaming is a $70 billion global business, and estimates show continuing growth for years to come.
The statistics show that 3/4s of every dollar spent on Apple’s App Store was for gaming purposes. This makes Apple a gaming giant in itself.
On a global scale, there are close to 2.3 billion mobile gamers. Over 60% of new smartphone owners install a game within a week of buying their device and said smartphone users spent 40%+ of their mobile use playing games.
In 2018, mobile games such as Fortnite, Pokemon Go, and Candy Crush generated combined daily revenue of USD$3+ million. These numbers are staggering, and what’s interesting is that 80%+ of mobile gamers don’t identify as “gamers” at all.
Of course, the graphical fidelity, complexity, and depth of mobile games still have ways to go to reach the desktop crowd. However, numerous innovations make their way regularly, which closes the gap even further.
Let’s have a look at the top 7 types of mobile gamers you will meet in 2023.
1. Casual Gamers
Casual gamers make up the majority of mobile gamers. This should come as no surprise, as the main benefit of smartphones is convenience. On the other hand, hardcore players tend to stick to their desktops and laptops.
The average mobile gamer will look at a mobile game as a way to pass the time. This can be on the commute home, during a coffee break, waiting in line at the doctor’s office, and so forth. Puzzle Games, Tile Games, Racing Games – they all pretty much fall into this spectrum.
2. VR Gamers
Virtual Reality is slowly taking off. Initially, though the Oculus Rift was designed for high-end desktops, it now has a relatively accessible platform for mobile gamers.
Android and iOS users can take advantage of the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google’s Cardboard platform, and similar VR headsets to dive deeper into mobile gaming.
The number of VR apps across these platforms is impressive, and we expect those numbers to keep rising in the future. Games such as Serious Sam, Everest, Arizona Sunshine, Hoover Junkies, and Elite: Dangerous are some of the most popular mobile VR titles on the market, but dozens of others are on offer.
3. Social Gamers
The social aspect has always had a strong influence on gaming. Ever since the days of the original Quake in the ‘90s, gamers enjoyed facing off against each other in LAN and online multiplayer modes.
In the mobile gaming world, social gaming has taken many different forms. Players can engage in co-op activities, share their achievements with peers, and show-off their bases in base-building games.
Top Eleven Football Manager, Smurfs’ Village, Animal Crossing, Coin Master, and similar titles top the charts on Android.
4. Hardcore Gamers
We mentioned that hardcore gaming was a desktop-exclusive luxury for a long time. To a certain extent, it still is, as smartphones are far from being able to accommodate this gaming crowd adequately.
However, as technological advancements make way for more powerful mobile devices, we’re starting to see several hardcore titles make their way to smartphone gaming.
Games that mostly identify with this category are complex, feature-rich MMORPGs. Titles such as Black Desert Online Mobile, Lineage 2 Revolution, Villagers and Heroes, and Albion Online already boast excellent player bases of hardcore gaming enthusiasts.
The hurdle for hardcore gamers is that most mobile games look to capitalize on microtransactions, and thus limit the potential of an authentic MMO experience. Though, this may change for the better as mobile devices continue developing technical capabilities.
5. Real Money Gamers
When it comes to making real money via mobile gaming, eyebrows will be raised. Of course, that is entirely possible in today’s age of online casinos. Internet casinos have been a thing for over two decades, and most casino wagers today are placed through mobiles. There are so many options, so websites like 5bestcasinos.com exist to help players find where to play money online.
This is because the vast majority of online casinos are optimized for mobiles and tablets. What’s more, many of them feature native apps that can be found on Android’s Google Play store or iOS’ App Store. Players can bet on slots, table games, live casino games, sports matches – and much more – from virtually anywhere in the world.
6. Free to Play Games
Free to play games overlap with pretty much every category we can think of. These games can attract a massive player base, for obvious reasons, and many of them top the charts on both iOS and Android.
Gachas (hero collector action games) are highly accessible, though titles such as RAID: Shadow Legends, Epic Seven, Marvel Strike Force, and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. Many of these have probably popped up in YouTube ads while you were browsing videos.
A ton of casual F2P games, alongside F2P MMORPGs and shooter games, are also on the menu.
The downside of many of these games is that they are designed to attract the interest of gamers through the F2P model, capitalizing via microtransactions once a notable time-sink has been experienced. Exceptions always exist, but so far, they are now and few between.
7. Battle Royale
Battle Royale games are the rare exception we mentioned. These games, even on desktops, are famous for their F2P micro transaction-oriented model. However, the difference is that microtransactions in Battle Royale games are purely cosmetic and have no impact on gameplay.
As such, gamers can get the full experience for free. Fortnite, the most popular BR game by far, is now standard across smartphone devices. Players can enjoy limitless matched with no restrictions whatsoever.
More true-to-life Battle Royales such as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is also a massive hit on the mobile market. Then, we have Call of Duty as its main competitor. One downside is that these games can be a bit taxing on your hardware, and an upper mid-range or high-end phone is required for smooth gameplay.