The gaming industry is quite unpredictable, but predicting a trend at least approximately correctly can mean the difference between stagnating and thriving.
Mobile has grown exponentially over the last few years, choking the sales of handheld consoles, and leaving its footprint on the console market as well. And real-money online gaming has also shifted toward the mobile platform.
Today, most new games are released in parallel on desktop and mobile platforms. And some developers have even chosen the mobile-first approach. Gamers also show an increased interest in mobile gaming: Canadian gambling site Grizzly has seen record growth in 2015.
>See also: How mobile has changed online gaming
Here are three factors that will fuel the continuing growth of the gaming market in 2016.
1. New markets to open up
Smartphones have pretty much flooded the markets of the more developed economies – their penetration rate is huge in Europe and the US, and recently in China and other Asian countries as well. In 2016, smartphone makers will target new, emerging markets, and quite densely populated ones: India and Brazil.
Specialists predict that these two countries, with a combined population of over 1.4 billion, will fuel the growth of the smartphone business – and the mobile gaming business with it – in 2016.
2. Consolidation of the industry
King.com, the company behind the insanely successful Saga game series, was acquired by the Triple A gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $5.9 billion earlier this year. The transaction was Activision's break into the mobile gaming market, estimated to be worth $30 billion last year.
The consolidation of the market will continue in 2016, with smaller game developers teaming up with larger entertainment companies to keep alive, and Asian game developers buying up Western companies to break into their markets.
Platform owners, such as Apple, Google and Amazon, might also acquire companies to become more involved in online gaming in 2016.
3. Traditional game brands to go global
One of the most resounding game release of last year was Fallout 4, a sequel to the popular open world shooter considered one of the best games of all times.
The launch was preceded by the release of a mobile game, Fallout Shelter, which scored big thanks to the hype (and its own merit).
This will lead to the release of more ‘hardcore’ gaming brands on mobile this year, as well as new alliances between mobile-first developers and Triple-A gaming companies.
After mobile-first game developer DeNA shook hands with Nintendo last year, 2016 will likely see similar deals – further consolidating the presence of hardcore game brands on smartphones and tablets.