children on smartphoneDirect spending on mobile games exceeded the combined spending total on home console, PC/Mac, and handheld console games by more than one third in 2017, up from a single-digit margin by the same measure in 2016, according to a new report from App Annie and International Data Corporation (IDC).

Games also generated nearly 80% of total worldwide consumer spend for combined iOS and Google Play, while accounting for roughly 35% of worldwide downloads, according to the findings of “Gaming Spotlight, 2017 Review.” The report analyzes the mobile games market in 2017 from several vantage points and puts it in a broader, global gaming industry context.

The report features examines mobile gaming’s relatively large scale and faster growth rate in terms of direct consumer spending compared to home game consoles and PC/Mac gaming; the ascendance of live player vs. player (PvP) or co-op multiplayer games to the top of the grossing charts last year; and Asia-Pacific’s ongoing rise to dominance not just in terms of spending but, increasingly, in game origination and gameplay innovation.

“Mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2017; mobile game spending was 2.3x PC gaming and 3.6x game consoles last year,” said App Annie SVP of research Danielle Levitas, in a prepared statement. “With billions of mobile devices in the world, apps are the mass market gaming platform for casual and serious gamers, enabling them to play whenever and wherever they want to.”

The top two grossing games worldwide on both iOS and Google Play in 2017 featured live PvP gameplay. The ascent of titles like Honour of Kings (published by Tencent and known as Arena of Valor in Western markets), Lineage 2 Revolution (Netmarble), Fantasy Westward Journey (NetEase), and Lineage M (NCSOFT) to the top of the mobile grossing charts demonstrates that live multiplayer games are an important trend in gaming that has clear esports implications. Last year appears to have been the one in which three different live PvP titles took the top grossing slot on iOS, Google Play, and handheld game consoles (Pokémon Sun / Pokémon Moon, published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for Nintendo 3DS/2DS, was the top grossing handheld title last year, and features live PvP battles).

Image courtesy of flickr user Kyle Mahaney.

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