Opinion Pieces

State of Gaming Report 2022 by a16z - Mobile Gaming Dominates the Industry

The a16z Games Fund One report presented interesting data on platform preference, the most played genres, the different motives to play video games, and how age plays a role in them all.

Mostafa Salem author picture}

Mostafa Salem

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The entire gaming industry as a whole is continuously developing, with new trends emerging, new games trying to reshape the industry, and in our case, new technologies that can change how we see digital ownership of in-game assets forever. However, at the same time, they are not completely two mutually exclusive industries, as gaming will forever be a singular topic of discussion with both web3 and traditional games under its umbrella.

The latest Games Fund One's 2022 Gamer Survey report from a16z gives a very insightful look into the current state of the gaming industry overall and how it all trickles down to web3 gaming. The report has been produced after collecting the inputs of over 2,000+ gamers with a split of 59% male and 38% female surveyors to make sure the data is as accurate and spread as possible. All the results act as an indication of what direction the industry is heading towards and how game developers are slowly shifting their focus towards new technologies and innovative ideas.

The data here might be a bit skewed considering the social and economical status of having the results gathered from only US residents, but while consoles are the stated "primary" device for 50% of gamers, mobile is clearly where gamers are more frequently playing with 58% of them reporting they play games everyday on their smartphones. The platform of choice for those who play games 1 to 3 times a week goes back to being consoles at 39% of the time. Having said that, the more you go down in terms of frequency of hopping a gaming platform to enjoy video games, the more the PC as the preferred destination increases.

All of this data is definitely linked to the age groups of those who took the survey. At first glance, you would think most younger gamers would be mobile-first, but they seem to be pretty cross-platform with 37-45% of gamers aged 13-17 playing across console, PC, and smartphone platforms. As the age groups rise from 13-17 to cover those between 45 and 54, the dominance of consoles and PC decreases while mobile gaming clearly sees a rise for its ease of access and friendlier tech for the older generation without the know-how of turning on a console or PC and going through all the steps and installations to play a game.

One of the most common debates is how games from different genres fair up against each other and how personal preference comes into play into recognizing certain games as the best to come out in the industry. Nonetheless, there seems to be a relative consensus the most popular genres tend to be ones like shooters, battle royale titles specifically, adventure games, and sandbox-style titles that allow for more creative moments. These particular genres typically enjoy a 40%+ share among players. 

On the other hand, certain games may not suit specific demographics as much even though they do well in terms of revenue. For example, if the game is evergreen, referring to titles who have withstood the test of time like World of Warcraft and League of Legends, then its monthly average revenue per user might be higher than that of an increasingly "popular" genre with bigger marketing budgets. However, it's difficult to ascertain exactly how ARPDAU would compare across these two types of titles because of demo biases from the survey playerbase being US-focused as mentioned prior.

Although the genre preference statistics shown above reflects the industry as a whole, the disparity between each age group’s choices as the best genre varies massively. While popular titles such as Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft may dominate among millennials, different games tend to be more popular among people in their 30s and 40s. Older age groups also gravitate towards puzzle games like Monument Valley, where "73% of moms ages 45-59 played at least one mobile puzzle game in the past four weeks."

To close it off, we all play video games for different reasons. Each one of us sees gaming as an outlet for something in their lives. Certain people enjoy spending their free time going on epic adventures in RPGs, while others take it way more seriously and play consistently trying to make it as an esports pro player and prove they are the best to ever touch that said video game. Socialization, relaxation, competition, and monetization are all motivations for play. The latter specifically ties in perfectly with the web3 gaming ethos where your time and progress is rewarded.

What is your preferred platform to play video games? Do you think your taste in video games changed as you got older? Share this article and tag us on any of our socials to let us know.

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updated:

December 24th 2022

posted:

December 22nd 2022