By Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo

Mobile will dominate the future of gaming because of its high penetration rate and portability, according to experts in the field.

“All gamers will have mobile phones. Not everybody’s going to have PCs, not everybody is going to have consoles,” said DC Dominguez, head of games and esports for Globe Telecom, during a September 17 session in the online convention All That Matters.

According to Nielsen’s SuperData Research, mobile games generated $64.4 billion in 2019, close to 60% of the video game industry’s total revenue. This was attributed to the popularity of free-to-play games such as Fortnite and Dungeon Fighter Online, which made $1.8 billion and $1.6 billion respectively in the same year. Mobile versions of Triple-A titles such as Call of Duty and Mario Kart also proved attractive to gamers.

A separate report by Golden Casino News, a gambling and digital gaming publication, places Asia as the biggest part of this market, with China as the biggest revenue generator. Japan and South Korea also made it to the top five, along with the United States and the United Kingdom.

There is also a huge potential for growth in South and Southeast Asia because of increasing rates of smartphone adoption. Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), an organization that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, projects 89% smartphone adoption for Indonesia in 2025 and 78% for India in the same year.

Cloud gaming, also known as gaming-as-a-service, adds another dimension to the portability of gaming. Through this solution, games can be loaded from a remote server, eliminating the need for a download or to bring a specific console or personal computer. Since the games will be run from the Internet and not on the device’s central processing unit (CPU) or random access memory (RAM), it also makes cloud gaming a mobile-friendly alternative.

However, the service is heavily reliant on 5G, since high internet speeds and low latency are needed for the game to run smoothly. This is already possible for countries like China and South Korea but has yet to be seen in countries like the Philippines where 5G is not yet widely adopted.

While the mobile setup poses barriers to full game immersion, gaming phones, such as the recently launched Asus ROG Phone 3, have been improving graphics and processors for smooth and crisp gameplay. Mobile gaming controllers, such as Razer Kishi and SteelSeries Stratus Duo, allow users to play on their phones with a console feel.

“It’s just a matter of time before the experience on the phone, with additional goggles or devices, catches up, and [the device] doesn’t really matter,” said Quentin Staes-Polet, general manager for Southeast Asia and India at Epic Games, a video game software developer and publisher, in a separate All That Matters session held on September 16.