Animoca phases into next stage of mobile gaming market growth

Animoca Brands ASX AB1 mobile gaming Crazy Defense Heroes Asia Pacific

Not even a week since announcing its planned acquisition of Finnish game-maker Tribeflame, game developer Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1) has expanded the rollout of its newly released game for iOS-compatible mobile phones and tablets called ‘Crazy Defense Heroes’ in the Asia-Pacific.

Crazy Defense Heroes is now available in Australia, New Zealand, India and various previously untapped Asian and African countries, with Animoca opting for a phased global launch of its proprietary game.

The next phase for Animoca is to continue its rollout of Crazy Defense Heroes while simultaneously developing an Android version, which is scheduled to be available in Q3 of this year.

Mobile gaming in focus

The stakes in mobile/tablet gaming are growing very quickly with popular games expected to generate substantial windfalls for game developers over the coming years.

Following the release of Crazy Defense Heroes in China last month, Animoca recorded more than 402,000 downloads of the game and earned more than A$467,000 by its second week from launch, from in-app purchases and advertising.

According to Animoca, it currently has one of the world’s largest mobile game portfolios of globally recognised brands, achieving an aggregate total of more than 303 million downloads by mid-September last year.

Given its large (and growing) game catalogue courtesy of both in-house development and selective acquisitions, Animoca is keen to monetise its existing portfolio which includes popular brands such as Benji Bananas, Garfield, Thomas & Friends, Ever After High and Doraemo.

The mobile gaming industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of growth as take-up of digital devices increases exponentially alongside changing consumer habits. Consumers are being drawn to interactive content such as games and videos to a far higher degree than static content such as text and images.

As a result of changing consumer preferences, mobile gaming has become one of the fastest-growing niche markets within the overarching technology sector.

Proof in the pudding of statistics

In 2016, analysts at Statista discovered that between 80-90% of all revenue generated by the Apple App and Google Play stores is being generated by mobile/tablet games.

Its data also showed that Asia remains the most commercially viable region with respect to mobile gaming, accounting for the vast majority of all revenue generated globally.

North America was estimated to be the second largest mobile gaming region having generated US$6.9 billion in total revenue in 2016.

Statista says that there was an average of 2.8 billion monthly active users of mobile games worldwide in 2016 — roughly 30% of the world’s population

In terms of usage, Statista says that US-based gamers are estimated to play 3.6 mobile games per month and 1.3 games daily with “strategy games accounting for the lion’s share of US monthly revenues, generating $194 million in July 2016.”

By some accounts, mobile gaming has become so popular that mobile phones are now the preferred gaming platform in the US, surpassing dedicated gaming consoles such as the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft’s Xbox, as well as dedicated handheld devices such as the Nintendo Switch.

Statista analysts expect mobile gaming penetration in the US to surpass 60% in the near future and grow as high as 64% by 2020.

These estimates effectively mean that mobile gaming is joining the mainstream and shedding its stereotypical label of only appealing to young millennials and children.

Filip has written in both Australia and abroad during his career, covering everything from the global economy, politics and geopolitical issues to commodities and small cap stocks on the ASX.