Pros & Cons of Mobile-First Entertainment Platforms

When it comes to entertainment, mobile platforms are moving to the front of the pack. In recent years, sectors like gaming and video streaming have stuck to traditional hardware formats that include TVs, consoles, and PCs. However, it’s clear that mobile is shaking things up.

In late 2021, Newzoo research published a breakthrough study about the future of gaming, in particular. The market drew in over $180 billion in worldwide revenue that year, which is over a 1% increase from 2020, and 52% of that was driven by mobile gaming.

Video streaming on mobile devices isn’t far behind in growth. According to Statista, over 87% of American smartphone users had downloaded YouTube as of September 2019. Netflix wasn’t far behind at almost 25%. Meanwhile, Android-based companies like Xiaomi and Nubia have started creating gaming and video streaming-specific products, such as their Black Shark and RedMagic releases.

But will mobile video streaming and gaming be in it for the long haul when it comes to digital entertainment? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of major developers shifting toward a mobile-first agenda?

A Case for Both

Mobile entertainment has traditionally been regarded as a complementary aspect to a browser, console, or PC title. For example, online casino gaming is one of the biggest digital entertainment sectors worldwide. From popular card games like poker to slots titles that transport people back in time, top brands offer seamless browser platforms, proprietary software, and easy-to-use mobile apps.

The idea is to provide gamers with a full suite of gaming opportunities. Some might prefer to stick to browser platforms, which are popular for live casino games that require live video streaming. Others might want to play on the casino’s software, which is a program that can be downloaded straight to a computer or laptop. 

But even more casino gamers are looking for mobile apps that run smoothly on the go and include vibrant graphics. These features are particularly relevant for slot players, who prefer games with strong visual themes, animations, and audio.

High-Quality Games & Videos: Anywhere, Anytime

The above example for mobile-ready slots titles highlights the main pro behind mobile gaming: it no longer sacrifices quality. In fact, popular eSports titles, which were once squarely the domain of either Microsoft and Sony consoles or PCs, are now available for mobile devices.

In the past, developers were unable to translate the quick-moving precision of a first-person shooter like Call of Duty to a mobile device. The same goes for the visual dynamism and gameplay features of multiplayer online battle arenas like PUBG. Now, both have successful mobile iterations.

In fact, PUBG Mobile now has its own eSports league that’s on par with the traditional format. This year, the PUBG Mobile Pro League South Asia Spring 2022 competition has a prize pool of $150,000. The game’s success, built by competitors from around the world, also highlights a pro of mobile gaming: being able to access a title anywhere, anytime.

A Limited Scope of Growth

More people are using mobile phones for gaming and video streaming than ever before—but the potential for growth is limited. Already, some social apps are being counted as part of the mobile gaming boom—if the standards of what makes a ‘game’ change in the next years, mobile gaming will drop. 

While TechJury predicts that half of the world’s population will engage with mobile gaming, the future of digital entertainment will be swayed greatly by other developments in AR and VR. The same goes for video streaming. Though YouTube and Netflix have a solid hold on the mobile streaming market, some companies like Adage (partnered with Tubi) predict that most viewers will have shifted to a free subscription by 2024.

New streaming platforms will likely shift the current landscape of mobile apps. This is largely related to advertising, as streaming viewers are the most receptive to mobile ads (which have since fallen out of favor with consumers on social media apps like Instagram). If mobile streaming lets companies earn extra with ads, then video streaming groups will likely shift their business models to prioritize mobile viewing in some capacity—even if browsers and TVs stay central.

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