In research and talking with esports professionals around the world for upcoming episodes of The Gamers Change Lives podcast, the one topic that defines the difference between emerging markets and the more developed economies is one factor: mobile gaming.
In the US, Europe, or parts of Asia, esports competitors play on PC’s or consoles or mobile by choice. I have a PS5 and Xbox Series S because that is what I want to be playing games on at home. My mobile action is limited to Free Fire where I rarely last long in the match. But it is a choice I have. And sometimes I don’t appreciate it.
In so many parts of the world, mobile gaming is the preferred platform. And in some cases, the only platform. Here are some of the reasons I have uncovered:
- Internet connectivity. Statistic reports that “As of January 2021 there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide - 59.5 percent of the global population. Of this total, 92.6 percent (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile devices.” (Link below). Just the fact that almost 40% of the world’s population does not have online access is amazing.
- Cost of devices. PC’s and consoles are not cheap anywhere. So that is always a limiting factor. Mobile devices can be a lot less expensive (although not always) and are used for many other purposes than just playing games. The use of apps on phones for conducting transactions and banking alone in emerging markets is taking off. And a subject for another day.
- Cost of data. In some cases, the cost of the data plan for a non-mobile device is higher than for mobile. Also, the wide variety of options for mobile data can make it easier to shop around for the best price.
- Increasing access to good games. Some of the best games are exclusively or additionally available on mobile. I hear so many people talking about COD Mobile these days.
- At the heart of esports and gaming is the community. Cross platform availability is always a concern. Players want to play with their friends. And their friends are on mobile, so that is an easy call to make to join them.
Question of the day: do you play mobile esports games? If so, what is your favorite?