2022 was a year of big news and even bigger industry movements. Mobile gaming was no different. Here are the stories that set the scene in November 2022.
Tencent on Trial
Tencent has had a tumultuous year, thanks in part to China’s strict regulations and the imposition of new restrictions on young gamers. As a result, while Tencent remains the world’s most profitable gaming company, it lost its status as China’s biggest company in October.
Not helping matters is the quick growth of ByteDance subsidiary, Moonton, which Tencent failed to acquire. The bitter dispute has seen both Tencent and Moonton accusing the other of copyright infringement.
The situation led to November 2022’s speculation that Tencent would step outside of China and even the mobile arena even further and head into international markets in the pursuit of new revenue.
Digital future to be led by Mexico, Slovakia and Saudi Arabia
The strength of relative markets continues to be a focus. Mobile is an interesting platform due to its accessibility, meaning that while mobile gaming is popular worldwide, it’s most dominant in emerging markets where low hardware costs and the rise of free-to-play enables easy entry.
China has long been the king of the mobile market due to several factors. The country is one of the biggest economies on the planet, and consoles were banned for fifteen years, allowing mobile gaming to grow into the worldwide leader in the market and providing an interesting case study in the strength of the platform.
However, the country’s ongoing crackdown on gaming has caused Tencent to lose its status as China’s biggest company and could be a signifier of further trouble in the future with development and publishing pastures proving greener and more open elsewhere.
Microsoft and Sony tempt away China's mobile devs
While China’s mobile market was troubled in November 2022, this only marked an opportunity for more ‘traditional’ gaming giants, with Sony and Microsoft making moves to woo Chinese developers to their platforms.
Sony expanded its China Hero Project to accelerate development in the country, with investments of more than $140 thousand in each game participating in the program. For its part, Microsoft partnered with Youyun and Pyou on cloud-based gaming platforms while bringing the NetEase hit Naraka Bladepoint to its Game Pass.
With the world’s most profitable games companies becoming mobile first, Sony and Microsoft are eager to take advantage of any turbulence in the market to gain a larger share.
Netflix is working on an AAA shooter at its new LA studio
Despite mobile’s place as the market leader, it remains only a part of a larger gaming industry more prone to offering flashier, big budget options. As such, even mobile first companies could be wise to explore other platforms, both for additional revenue and to make a splash in the public consciousness.
A report in August showed that Netflix engages less than one percent of its audience with its gaming platforms, giving rise to November’s news that they were hiring to create a new AAA PC shooter.
While the creation of an AAA title may eventually fall short when it comes to revenue, it could boost the public’s knowledge of the company’s gaming catalogue as a whole, increasing knowledge of its growing catalogue and mobile revenue as a result.
Google Play hits PC
While console and PC games have courted more hardcore gamers looking for larger experiences to justify the higher entry barrier, the mobile games market is filled with casual titles designed to appeal to a wider audience.
As such, bringing mobile games to PC may be a risk, but it’s one that Google is willing to take, giving rise to this story from November 2022.
Early tests of the new program in various territories have proven successful. While high-end PCs can be expensive there’s a huge market of less capable machines looking for gaming fun with mobile titles perfectly meeting their capabilities for horsepower while delivering enough gaming thrills to fit the bill.
Do you have a favourite mobile story from 2022? Take to Twitter with the hashtag #PocketGamerYearInReview to tell us your highs and lows of the year.
Want more? Get our pick of the best stories from December here.