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UK Mobile Gaming Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Mobile Gaming market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report looks at games available on mobile devices (ie smartphones and tablets). Games on handheld consoles (eg Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita) are not within the scope of this report.

Market size data represents the value of app purchases made through Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play app store, plus the value of in-app purchases made through those apps, based on data supplied by App Annie (see below). Other terms used in this report:

  • Freemium – games that are downloadable for free but offer IAPs (in-app purchases). Subscription/membership fees that unlock content for a certain period of time are included under the term ‘freemium’.
  • Casual games – video games with simple mechanics and controls typically played in web browsers, through social media or on mobile devices.
  • Core games – video games with deep mechanics and more complex controls that are typically played on PCs or dedicated games consoles (eg PS4, Xbox One).
  • Paid apps/games – apps that users pay an upfront fee to download.
  • In-app advertising – advertisements found within apps such as banner ads, video ads, etc.

Key questions explained

  • Will more games choose to bypass the Play Store?
  • What is the effect of cross-play and cross-progress?
  • Do purchasable cosmetic items translate from core gaming platforms to mobile?

What you need to know

Mobile gaming is the largest segment of the mobile device app market, and is expected to remain that way in forecasts up to 2023. Games are becoming increasingly more advanced, with some offering high-quality graphics, online real-time multiplayer, and gameplay that closely resemble PC (Personal Computer) and console gaming.

Whilst these have created new revenue opportunities in the form of in-game purchases, advertising, and eSports, the growth of high-spec gaming might be restricted simply because people value their phones too much – if mobile gaming is too battery intensive it will lose its casual “dip-in” nature. Despite this, developers are flocking to mobile as a viable platform for game releases, either as spin-offs to established franchises or as stand-alone games based on established intellectual property.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Andrew Moss, a leading analyst in the Consumer Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Although it is possible that the app store model will face disruption from developers choosing to offer their products outside of established stores, revenue from games is expected to show strong growth and remain the dominant app category on mobile. In-game purchasing has remained an effective monetisation method, and has been boosted by the effective use of in-game currencies, loot boxes, and cosmetic items to craft a perception of value for these digital items. Andrew Moss
Technology Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Gaming forecast to reach £2.03 billion by 2024
              • Figure 1: Forecast for the value of the UK mobile gaming market, 2014-24
            • Gaming continues to be the largest app category for purchasing
              • Mobile advertising spend doubles in the space of a year
                • The emergence of 5G, cloud and AR technologies will power mobile gaming market
                  • Streaming services to compete to who can be the Netflix of gaming
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Pokémon Masters launches early on Android and iOS to a deluge of demand
                        • Top freemium titles still leading the way on App Store and Google Play
                          • Tencent leads investment and acquisition activity
                            • Activision Blizzard eyes up new advertising and marketing activity
                              • AR genre gets two new marquee releases
                                • The consumer
                                  • Puzzle trivia and word games continue to be the most popular
                                    • Figure 2: Types of game played on mobile device in the last six months, July 2019
                                  • Smartphone predominately the go to device for gaming
                                    • Figure 3: Devices used to play mobile games, July 2019
                                  • Mobile gaming is most popular in the home environment, but other settings prove popular gaming occasions
                                    • Figure 4: Locations of mobile gaming, July 2019
                                  • Virtual and augmented reality games are not yet seen as the holy grail by consumers
                                    • Figure 5: Appetite for VR and AR games, July 2019
                                  • A paid for subscription service for mobile gaming could attract a variety of audiences
                                    • Figure 6: Interest in paid for streaming service for mobile games, July 2019
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                    • Technological infrastructure and developments will power the mobile gaming market to new heights by 2022
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Gaming subscription models will be the next gold rush for content platforms
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Mobile advertising spend doubles in the space of a year with Gameloft overtaking Niantic as the number one spender
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Mobile gaming continues its upward growth trajectory
                                                        • Gaming is the most popular category on revenue on both the app store and Google Play in the first half of 2019
                                                          • 2019 looks set to be a ground-breaking year for the mobile gaming genre
                                                            • Beyond 2019, Mintel forecasts that the mobile gaming market will continue to see further growth until 2022
                                                              • Gaming continues to be the largest app category for purchasing
                                                                • The cloud set to unlock mobile gaming potential as tech giants scramble to be first mover
                                                                  • Augmented Reality looks set to surpass Virtual Reality in developer’s agenda and AI set to influence game development and gameplay
                                                                    • Investment in mobile gaming hits record highs in 2019
                                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                      • Mobile gaming continues its upward growth trajectory
                                                                        • Figure 7: Forecast for the value of the UK mobile gaming market, 2014-24
                                                                        • Figure 8: Forecast for the value of the UK mobile gaming market, 2014-24
                                                                      • New technologies to drive further growth over the next five years
                                                                        • Player acquisition and retention remains challenging
                                                                          • Forecast methodology
                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                            • Gaming continues to be the largest app category for purchasing
                                                                              • Figure 9: App purchasing, July 2019
                                                                              • Figure 10: In-app purchasing, July 2019
                                                                            • 5G set to enhance mobile gaming experience
                                                                              • Cloud gaming set to unlock mobile gaming potential
                                                                                • AR looks set to surpass VR on developers’ agendas
                                                                                  • Continual improvements in AI technology set to drive the market forward
                                                                                    • Analysing player behaviour
                                                                                      • Identifying potential revenue streams
                                                                                        • Enhancing other new technologies
                                                                                          • Speciality gaming phones will drive user experience and provide infrastructure for innovation
                                                                                            • Mobile esports continued their upward trajectory
                                                                                              • Freemium games still lead the way in revenue generated
                                                                                                • Loot boxes continue to be monitored by government
                                                                                                  • Investment in mobile gaming hits record highs in 2019
                                                                                                    • Direct to consumer propositions – The next gold rush?
                                                                                                      • Blockchain’s impact on the gaming landscape
                                                                                                        • Companies from outside the gaming sphere, look to make an imprint by gamifying their stable of brands
                                                                                                        • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                          • Tech giants set out their cloud gaming vision
                                                                                                            • Call of Duty: Mobile – Breaks records on release of its free-to-play app game
                                                                                                              • Mario Kart Tour September release hits 4.1 million downloads in its first month
                                                                                                                • Pokémon Masters launches early on Android and iOS to a deluge of demand
                                                                                                                  • Konami Slates October release for flagship PES mobile title
                                                                                                                    • New AR titles released
                                                                                                                      • Developers continue to capitalise on the global esports phenomenon
                                                                                                                        • Mobile advertising spend doubles in the space of a year with Gameloft overtaking Niantic as the number one spender
                                                                                                                          • Niantic makes use of cinema to support Harry Potter: Wizard Unite
                                                                                                                            • In-game advertising creates its own opportunities
                                                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                              • Apple Arcade and Google Stadia set to be the marquee launches of 2019
                                                                                                                                • Other tech giants launch their own cloud mobile gaming services
                                                                                                                                  • Microsoft enters the arena with xCloud
                                                                                                                                    • Pokémon Masters launches early on Android and iOS to a deluge of demand
                                                                                                                                      • Konami Slates October release for flagship PES mobile title
                                                                                                                                        • Mario Kart Tour September release hits 90 million downloads in its first week, but monetisation strategy dogs the success
                                                                                                                                          • Mobile versions of cult classics to launch at the back end of 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Board Games to become mobile apps
                                                                                                                                              • Final Fantasy… gets multi-player treatment
                                                                                                                                                • New AR titles released
                                                                                                                                                  • Call of Duty: Mobile – Breaks records on release of its free-to-play app game
                                                                                                                                                    • Developers continue to capitalise on the global esports phenomenon
                                                                                                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                      • Mobile advertising spend doubles in the space of a year with Gameloft overtaking Niantic as the number one spender
                                                                                                                                                        • Niantic makes use of cinema to support Harry Potter: Wizard Unite
                                                                                                                                                          • In-game advertising creates its own opportunities
                                                                                                                                                            • In-game influencers
                                                                                                                                                              • Activision Blizzard invests in mobile gaming advertising
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure, August 2018-July 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Nielsen Ad Intel
                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                • Gaming app usage static, but overtaken by finance/payment category
                                                                                                                                                                  • Puzzle, trivia and word games continue to be the most popular
                                                                                                                                                                    • Male bias remains in key genres but with signs that change is coming
                                                                                                                                                                      • Older generations are engaged with mobile games
                                                                                                                                                                        • Smartphone the go to device for gaming
                                                                                                                                                                          • 5G set to underscore mobile gaming’s dominance
                                                                                                                                                                            • The smartphone could be a proxy for the console
                                                                                                                                                                              • Mobile gaming is most popular in the home environment
                                                                                                                                                                                • VR and AR games not seen as the Holy Grail by consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Genre drives varying levels of in-game expenditure
                                                                                                                                                                                    • A paid-for subscription service could attract a variety of audiences
                                                                                                                                                                                    • App Usage

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gaming app usage static, but overtaken by finance/payment category
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Regularity of app usage by category, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Genres Played

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Puzzle, trivia and word games continue to be the most popular
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Male bias remains in key genres but with signs that change is coming
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Types of games played on mobile devices, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Older generations are engaged with mobile games
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Devices Used to Play Mobile Games

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Smartphone the go to device for gaming
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Devices used to play mobile games, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                          • 5G set to underscore mobile gaming’s dominance
                                                                                                                                                                                            • The smartphone could be a proxy for the console
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Devices utilised for gaming, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Locations for Mobile Gaming

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mobile gaming is most popular in the home environment
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gaming on the go set to get a 5G boost
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Locations of mobile gaming, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Augmented and Virtual Reality Gaming

                                                                                                                                                                                              • VR and AR games not seen as the Holy Grail by consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                • The rules of gameplay design still apply to AR/VR titles
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • AR can connect seniors with online communities
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Appetite for VR and AR games, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Spending on Games and Additional Content

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Genre drives varying levels of in-game expenditure
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Arcade micro-transactions and multiplayer enhancements
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • In-game gifting can create a virtuous circle
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Spend on smartphone games and additional content or access, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Interest in Game Streaming Subscriptions

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • A paid-for subscription service could attract a variety of audiences
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Families could be key targets
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Broadening access beyond traditional gaming audiences
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Interest in paid for streaming service for mobile games, July 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Market forecast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Forecast for the value of the UK mobile gaming market, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Forecast methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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