Since the invention of smartphones, mobile gaming has reached great heights and continues to grow into the 2.6 billion-player-strong industry predicted for 2021. In 2019, it is expected to become more diverse, with more adult players dominating the arena.

Over the years, the best mobile games have gone through numerous improvements and revivals. This then begs the question: What will happen next in 2019 and beyond?

To answer this billion-dollar question, experts have been trying to predict the flow of the trend – from what players want to what game developers are going to deliver. Below are some mobile gaming trends expected to emerge in 2019:

1. Players will favor IP-based games

Mobile games that capitalize on nostalgia will continue to become stronger and take the larger chunk of the market. Since the players’ demographics are leaning more on the older generation, this should come as no surprise.

With that in mind, one expert predicted the bigger role of recognition compared to discovery in mobile gaming. This means that IP-based games (or those that are crafted around a well-known franchise) are expected to take the lead.

Aside from banking on an already existing fan base with games linked to movies and other franchises, 2019 is expected to see more players wanting to move inside the world their favorite fictional characters live in through their smartphones.

2. Hyper-casual games will reach their saturation point

Hyper-casual games are those that provide instant gameplay using simple mechanics. These games tend to become extremely engaging and addictive since they are uncomplicated with the literal “tap-to-play” mechanics – something that most casual mobile gamers want.

This type of mobile games has already reached market saturation point and started to decline since reaching its peak in 2018. But, considering that casual games do tend to experience an erratic rise-and-fall trend in ranking under the free games category, it goes without saying that these games will still have significant popularity as they become more minimalistic and easier to develop.

3. AR and VR will continue to change mobile gaming

While augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) continue to expand their reach through different industries like hospitality and medicine, they remain some of the major game-changers in mobile gaming. Thanks to the phenomenal triumph of the release of Pokemon Go, more enthusiasts are using the AR technology in social gaming, with developed apps becoming more innovative every single time.

As for VR, there is still a lot of unexplored ground, which makes it an innovation with the highest potential in mobile gaming. This, and the expected new twists to AR, will definitely continue to alter the core of mobile gaming, albeit gradually.

4. Competition-based games will increase in popularity

Man has a natural love for competition. Banking on this fact, many developers see a heightened demand for mobile games that are competitive in nature in the coming years. From shooting games to multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), more players will want to take advantage of the portability of smartphones in their quest to become the best of the best.

Combined with the increasing processing power of the latest mobile devices in the market, the more immersive competition-based games are bound to become commonplace in this industry.

5. Playing mobile games will feel more like playing on a console

While there have been significant advances in mobile gaming, many traditional players still prefer playing using their consoles and PCs because of the quality of the graphics. 

This is about to change. Gaming experts predict that 2019 is the year when many mobile games will provide a playing experience similar to that of consoles in aspects like graphics, interface, and usability, specially ever since the addition of the Autobattler games like Teamfight Tactics, Auto Chess & Dota 2 Underlords. However that also increased the amount of services that do provide TFT Boost which made it easier for the market to grow and more challenging.

In fact, big players in the industry and their game developers have started to deliver a couple of these traditionally console-based online games at high-resolution, right in the palm of the players’ hands. And with the help of the ever-improving capabilities of mobile devices, this seems like a credible prediction for 2019 and beyond.

From Portability to New Technologies

When mobile gaming was invented, many players immediately took advantage of the portability of smartphones to enjoy their games wherever they want. From there, the trends in this industry are expected to maintain focus on the newest available technology while coinciding with what the consumers need and want.


Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.