Emerging Markets Drive Social and Mobile Gaming Growth
By Jessica Oaks
Anyone who travels overseas regularly, whether for business or pleasure, can tell you that smartphones are a worldwide phenomenon. Though the devices have long had a presence in the United States, Western Europe, and East Asia (these things are relative; we’re still talking about less than a decade), new consumer markets are emerging, and these new markets are helping spur tremendous growth in mobile gaming and social media.
Russia, India, the Middle East, South Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia are among the new markets in which mobile device usage is growing most rapidly. With this growth comes new consumers and the promise of increased revenue for both hardware and software. Of course, there are only so many hardware companies in the marketplace; the same can’t be said of app developers, game developers, and software companies.
So how do these companies stand out from the crowd and capitalize on these new consumers? That’s the magic question. And companies that figure out the answer to this question stand to gain tremendously.
How Do Companies Tap Into Burgeoning Markets?
The emergence of new markets around the world would seem, on paper at least, to be easy money for industry insiders. Like the old saying goes, “The money is out there. All you have to do is go out and get it.” But it isn’t quite so simple. While it’s unequivocally true that these new markets are helping boost revenue numbers to unprecedented levels – the Asia-Pacific region alone accounts for more than half of all mobile games revenue at $12.2 billion – there’s still work to be done if gaming and social media companies hope to piggyback off of this new consumer interest.
Thankfully for these companies, some clear patterns have emerged since smartphones hit the market in 2007. When it comes to mobile devices, MMO titles still reign king and social platforms still rank right up there as the number one incentive for having a smartphone. And though there’s success to be found in selling a title online through Google Play or Apple’s iTunes store, the freemium model works as well. Businesses can incentivize individuals by offering their title for free, and then sell content and offers to them as part of the gaming process or via traditional advertisements. Ultimately, developers and app companies need to consider what these emerging markets want. It’s dangerous to assume that the same old approach that worked for consumer A will also work for consumer B.
So it’s been established that no two markets are the same, and companies need to make a concerted effort to understand their clientele by “thinking local.” One other reason that seasoned players need to be on their toes if they hope to capitalize on emerging markets is that businesses are popping up in these markets – and they’re quickly claiming a foothold.
Companies like Peak Games have made a business of developing apps specifically focused on emerging markets. By operating in the very markets that they’re developing titles for, businesses like Peak can get a better sense of what consumers are demanding, and quickly react to these consumer demands, get a product to market, and advertise it effectively. How effectively? The company claims 30 million monthly active players as of 2015, and has secured as many millions in venture funding.
Where Smartphones Go, Mobile Games Will Follow
Mobile devices with octa-core processors are now commonplace, and tablets and smartphones continue to become more affordable. In other words, the mobile device market has been democratized. And that’s a good thing, as it brings the world to more people’s fingertips. The end result? The mobile gaming and social media marketplace is bigger than ever. There are literally billions of potential consumers across the globe, and these new consumers have a voracious appetite when it comes to gaming titles and social platforms.