Mobile gaming and console gaming are both popular forms of entertainment for people of all ages, however in recent years the number of mobile gamers has overtaken console gamers at a rapid pace. In 2018, the mobile gaming share of the global total gaming revenue was 51 percent and has continued to grow year on year.
Console gaming is nevertheless still a huge market, the industry is now estimated to be worth over $153 billion US dollar, with some of the biggest markets being China and the United States. Since its release in 2013, the PlayStation 4 has sold over 100 million units worldwide.
Deciding which type of gaming is better is no easy feat, there are a number of pros and cons to both mobile and console. Which device you choose to play on can depend on your preference in games, your budget, accessibility, and ease of use.
Here is a rundown of the upsides and downsides that should be considered for each of these devices:
Mobile gaming – what is so great about it?
It is easily accessible
One huge benefit of mobile gaming is that it is highly accessible, there are over 3.5 billion people in the world with access to a smartphone. Every smartphone has access to a games app store where you can download a wide variety of free or paid-for mobile games, these stores are regularly updated with new games for users to enjoy.
You don’t even need an internet connection to play mobile app games. Once downloaded from the app store, many games have offline modes so you can play even without Wi-Fi or 4G.
You don’t always need to download an app to enjoy a mobile game. Many of the online games you play on PC can also be played in browsers on your phone, many but not all websites are optimized to display across all device types.
Smartphones vary significantly in price; however, they are accessible to most people as on the lower end of the scale they can be very cheap. For those with bigger budgets, there are gaming phones such as the Asus ROG Phone 5, the OnePlus 9 Pro, or the Oppo Find X3 Pro.
There is an incredible amount of choice in games
Another reason to game via mobile is the sheer amount of choice in games on offer. You can play everything from casino games like mobile poker and online slots to action and strategy games.
One of the top games genres on mobile is puzzle game, with 57.9% of all games played being this type. The top mobile game in history is the Pokémon Go app released in 2016, this augmented reality game has been played by nearly one billion people around the world.
In terms of revenue, the top mobile game is PUBG. This battle royale type game made over $225.2 million dollars in revenue. This just goes to show how lucrative the mobile industry can be for games developers.
As the mobile gaming market has grown and demand increased for new games, more and more developers are working on titles specifically for mobile. Consequently, the amount of choice in games is growing at an impressive rate.
On mobile you can play on the go
Another clear advantage of mobile gaming is that these devices are highly portable and fit right into your back pocket. This means that you can play on the bus commuting to work, while waiting in line somewhere or even just at home on the sofa.
Of course, there are some portable consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, however the most popular models such as the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 need to be stationary and plugged into a TV or monitor.
On the other hand, there can be some quality issues with mobile games
New games are constantly being released onto app stores; more than 6,000 apps are published every day on the Android store alone. This does mean that more poor-quality games make it to consumers in comparison to consoles.
For mobile releases, 0.01% of apps that make it to mobile stores are considered to be successful and profitable.
So, what about console gaming?
Well, there are also many pros to gaming on consoles. In 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey was the first console to be released that could be played at home via a player’s television screen.
Since then, many more consoles have come to the market and over the decade the capabilities and quality of the graphics and gameplay has come a very long way.
Consoles give you access to exclusive games
Many console game developers create games that are exclusively for one device type, for example the highly popular God of War game can only be played on PlayStation. By doing this they can put a lot of time and investment into perfecting the game specifically for that console.
Of course, there is also a downside to game exclusivity. You might not be able to play all the games you wish to if some are Xbox releases and some are PlayStation only, not only would you need to pay for both consoles but you’d also need space for their setup.
In comparison to mobile, the quality of console games is often far better. Generally, console games go through a much more rigorous quality testing process, including player testing, and therefore fewer games are released.
There are also some genres of games that are much more popular on consoles. Esports are a good example of this, as players enjoy the larger screens and greater tech capabilities for running these games.
On balance, both device types have their merits when it comes to gaming. What you define as the better option will have a lot to do with your game preferences, lifestyle, and your budget.