The FINANCIAL — Leading mobile app analytics company App Annie and International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier provider of technology market intelligence services, on June 11 unveiled a special report ahead of E3 entitled, Gaming Spotlight, 1H15: How Online Multiplayer Is A Game Changer. The report analyzes recent trends in online multiplayer (OMP) gaming and its impact across portable gaming platforms and beyond. The report’s findings are based on gaming user data worldwide across major app stores, including Google Play and the iOS App Store, as well as home game consoles and PCs.
“It’s a very interesting time for the mobile gaming business,” said App Annie VP Marketing Communications & Community, Fabien Nicolas. “This past year we’ve seen major shifts from the traditional gaming companies, with Nintendo investing in mobile over handheld devices through its partnership with DeNA. Meanwhile, Activision, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. are extending their IPs reach via mobile platforms. With these examples in mind, we expect to see even more focus for the gaming industry to invest heavily into mobile to create revenue streams at scale and offer a high-quality, unified gaming experience to users on a variety of devices. This report helps underscore the gaming market’s continued growth and demonstrates the impact quality multiplayer features can have on engagement.”
Within the global installed base for smartphones and tablets that are used for gaming, which exceeded 1.1 billion in Q1 2015, Google Play experienced relatively strong traction over the iOS App Store:
Android devices alone accounted for nearly 75 percent of the worldwide installed base, while iOS and other types of devices have lost share in a relative sense since Q1 2014.
Consumer spending on iOS remained higher overall, but the percentage of Google Play revenue attributed to games remained higher and rose relative to 1Q 2014; worldwide spending also grew 50 percent on Google Play compared to 30 percent on iOS over the same period of time.
In 1Q 2015, games were about 30 percent of all downloads on iOS and about 40 percent of all downloads on Google Play.
Asia-Pacific gained in market share for game spending within the iOS App Store, while North America outpaced the market within Google Play.
Multiplayer games on mobile and handheld devices saw dramatic growth over the past year across Google Play and the iOS App Store, and have driven higher engagement, retention and spending among gamers. Similar trends are evident on consoles and PCs. For example:
Among the Top 50 mobile games, multiplayer games accounted for 60 percent of consumer spending despite only contributing 30 percent of all downloads in Q1 2015.
Consumer spending growth for mobile multiplayer titles outpaced download growth from 1Q 2014 to Q1 2015.
Six of the Top 10 grossing mobile games in Q1 15 supported multiplayer, with Supercell’s Clash of Clans, Mixi’s Monster Strike and Machine Zone’s Game of War – Fire Age leading the way.
Among U.S. home console video game players, those who played OMP games averaged an additional one hour and 45 minutes of gameplay per week over the past 12 months compared to the typical U.S. console gamer, a 15 percent uplift in time commitment.
On Valve’s Steam service in May 2015, 70 percent of the Top 50 games, as measured by peak daily concurrent users, supported online multiplayer (35 of the Top 50 titles); only about 12 percent of Steam gamers who played a Top 50 title in May didn’t engage in online multiplayer.
Seven of the Top 10 Steam games in May (measured, again, by peak daily concurrent users) supported online multiplayer gameplay, with Valve’s eSports mega hit Dota 2 leading the way and Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive a vitally important runner up.
“A decade ago, online multiplayer games were the exception to the rule and were practically a novelty,” said Lewis Ward, research director of Gaming at IDC. “Given the recent rise of eSports, it’s clear that online multiplayer has become central to many of today’s most popular and lucrative franchises. One can imagine a time in the not too-distant future when story modes and single-player experiences become the exception to the rule. It’s time-consuming and expensive to develop and support online multiplayer, but when they’re done right, these features often drive up the time commitment, loyalty and spending of gamers—and it’s happening on practically every platform.”