The rise of mobile gaming in the UK is forcing developers to change tack
Mobile gamers are becoming an ever-larger fixture of the wider gaming market in the UK. Not only are increasing numbers of mobile device owners downloading games, but when they do so they are spending longer and longer engaging with these games. According to June 2013 research from comScore, among UK mobile gamers, 43% spent 3 hours or more per week playing these games.
Date from Deloitte, meanwhile, highlights the general popularity of gaming apps among smartphone and tablet owners in the UK. In a May 2013 survey, conducted by TNS, 43% of respondents indicated that they had downloaded a mobile gaming app in the past 12 months. This was the second most popular response, behind only social networking apps, which were cited by 48% of respondents.
This consumer behavior is having a major impact on game developers in the country. In September, the UK games developer Blitz Games Studios announced that it was closing up shop following 23 years of relative success in the mid-range gaming space. It cited the disruptive influence of the mobile gaming market, and the negative influence that this was having on the firm’s revenue stream, as one of the main reasons for its demise.
Mobile gaming brings with it a completely different revenue framework than the traditional gaming model. First and foremost, many games are free, relying on ad-supported models for revenue generation. According to a study from comScore MobiLens, approximately 6.8 million UK mobile gamers had downloaded free games as of April (based on a 3-month average).
While UK game developers are still performing well on the whole—and the country remains one of the largest gaming markets in the world—those that are having the most success are either making top-tier “blockbuster” hits or else are mobile-first in their outlook. Those that sit somewhere in the middle, such as Blitz, are finding the going tough.
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