Mobile phone gamers have grown bored of casual titles like Angry Birds or Crossy Road and want to enjoy hardcore blockbusters like Fortnite now.
That’s the verdict of Tim Sweeney, Epic Games boss and the man who brought the free shooter hit franchise to iPhone recently.
He reckons the future of mobile gaming is complex titles that resemble their PlayStation 4 and Xbox One cousins.
And he reckons even casual players are now so used to playing games by touchscreen that they’re total experts on difficult-to-control blockbusters.
“You know, these things go in waves,” Sweeney said. “Back in the 1980s when arcade machines came out, for about two years, everyone was a gamer. Men and women, kids of all ages, boys and girls.
“But over time, people got tired of that and they either moved up or moved out. The same thing has happened with smartphones.
“When smartphones came out, everybody started playing casual games like Angry Birds, but over the years, most people have gotten bored of those experiences, and they’re no longer casual gamers.
“They’ve either migrated to not being gamers at all, or come up to being core gamers. And the core gamers now expect bigger and more engaging experiences.”
That’s why Sweeney thinks Fortnite has been such a success on mobile, it’s basically the same complex game as you get on console and you can even do cross-platform multiplayer shootouts with your buddies, not missing a minute of the action even if you’re away from your console.
He told MCV: “The majority of the mobile game industry is serious games for gamers – casual is a small minority.
“This happened as people’s tastes changed.
“These are games with PC and console heritage at the top of the mobile charts and these will go up and down for the next few months as things are tuned.
“But by the end of the year you’re gonna see predominantly major games for serious gamers being at the top of the charts and staying there forever.
“I think this is the future of mobile and it’s not going to change.”
On touchscreen, he added: “A new generation of gamers is growing up with different expectations.
“If you remember Halo, the first really big shooter on console, all the old PC gamers like me looked at it and said ‘Oh, that controller’s not as good as a mouse and keyboard’.
“In truth, if you’re growing up and learning that, it’s just natural.”
Earlier this year Sensor Tower predicted that Epic Games could gross more than $500 million this year if the Android version releases by this summer (which it will).
Currently, Fortnite on iOS has averaged $1 million per day since launch. However, since Season 4 launched, it has more than doubled that, at an average of $2.2 million per day.
Here’s a bit more info, direct from a recent Sensor Tower’s blog post:
“Fortnite was sent soaring over the $50 million mark by the debut of the game’s fourth season of content, which sees its battleground bombarded by meteorite fragments— and which resulted in equally out-of-this-world growth of week-over-week revenue.”
“Player spending in the game on May 1 grew 293 percent, or a nearly four times increase, versus the preceding Tuesday.
“This rapid quadrupling of revenue resulted from a significant number of players laying out about $10 worth of in-game currency apiece for Fortnite’s season four Battle Pass, which unlocks additional content and other perks for completing specific challenges during the season.”