Within a few short months of its release on July 6, Pokemon Go has become one of the biggest mobile games of all time. The game’s phenomenal success has made millions for the Japanese game pioneer Nintendo, owner of a stake in Niantic, the US-based game studio behind Pokemon Go. Nintendo first introduced Pokemon video games to the world over 20 years ago.
However, for every Pokemon Go success story, there are hundreds of mobile games that crash and burn every week in what has become one of the most competitive businesses in the world.
The global market for mobile games generates around $3 billion a month in revenue, according to William G. Daddi, president of New York-based consultancy Daddi Brand Communications.
“Asia represents roughly half of that (global market), and the Chinese mobile games market earns $700 million a month, just slightly lower than Japan,” he said.
“By comparison, the mobile games market in the United States is worth around $400 million a month.”
Daddi said players have become more sophisticated in their expectations of both game mechanics and production values.
“In the early days of mobile gaming, audiences were happy to play relatively simple games without a lot of abstract thinking or character building,” he said.
“If you compare games from then to the ones we see now, there’s a noticeable increase in what is expected from the player.”
Similarly, production values have increased amid the “pursuit of a greater perceived value of games, particularly in segments where there are many copycats and clones”.
The combination of these market forces has increased the cost of development and marketing for mobile game developers, he added.
The mobile games market has become one of the most competitive businesses in the world, said Jelle Kooistra, head of product development at Newzoo Mobile, a division of research firm Newzoo.
The mobile games market is booming and Asia-Pacific has become the world’s most competitive market, Kooistra said.
The projected revenue for the region this year will account for 58 percent of the global total, with China alone expected to generate $10 billion in mobile gaming revenue.
While there is strong growth in the market, success is unpredictable.
New titles can come from any location to dominate the download mobile gamers in China, around 62 percent of all these in Asia charts, while successful titles can also fall from grace without explanation, according to Nielsen.
In a paper this year, the consumer analysis firm said publishers of mobile games flood the market with several titles and then “retroactively review their download rates and usage to determine which titles to support going forward”.
At the same time, knowing why mobile gamers change their behavior often remains unclear. The dynamics also make “gamers’ future preferences unpredictable”, it noted.
“The nature by which titles in the mobile market grow their owner base and usage is part of what makes predicting success so challenging.
“Some titles achieve this by increasing visibility through promotions,