It’s the start of the new year, which means it’s time to take a look at what the top mobile gaming trends are likely to be for 2018.

5 Mobile Gaming Trends Predicted to Make a Splash in 2018

It’s the start of the new year, which means it’s time to take a look at what the top mobile gaming trends are likely to be for 2018.

It’s the start of the new year, which means it’s time to take a look at what the top mobile gaming trends are likely to be for 2018. As an avid mobile gamer, I always like to keep on top of the latest trends, and I’m always curious to discover how many of this year’s predictions will carry over from the previous year.

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What was hot in 2017? Some of the most notable trends included the rise in synchronous multiplayer, mobile game streaming, mobile eSports and AR games. This year, some of these same sectors are predicted to become even more popular, including AR games and mobile eSports.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 mobile gaming trends to watch for this year:

1. Mobile eSports will continue to gain popularity

In a few short years, eSports blasted to popularity, with no signs of slowing down. According to this article by the Holmes report, the growth of the eSports industry is rapidly increasing year-over-year, with advertising, media rights, merchandise sales, sponsorship opportunities, and revenue increasing by double digits annually.

More importantly, while PC games like League of Legends (LoL) and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continue to rule the eSports space, mobile games like Vainglory and Clash Royale are also making a mark in the eSports arena. Some would argue that the advances in mobile eSports really hit a new high back in December 2016, when the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood hosted the first Vainglory World Championships.

The surge in popularity of mobile eSports isn’t surprising considering how mainstream mobile devices have become. More and more gamers (myself included) have opted to make their smartphone their primary gaming device. Combine this with the fact that a game like Vainglory is intriguing, easily accessible, requires less equipment (far less expensive) than a PC game like LoL and is easier to learn, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the future of eSports could easily be dominated by mobile.

2. More cross-platform PC/mobile games

Although the numbers haven’t officially been released, a 2017 Newzoo report expected smartphone and tablet games combined to bring in 42% of the gaming market’s global revenues in 2017. This projection is far higher than the forecasted 31% for PlayStation 4 and 23% for PC games.

With mobile being more affordable and having a much larger reach compared to PC and console gaming, as well as the improved developments of technologies like augmented reality (AR), mobile gaming will only gain more ground in the global gaming industry. This is why we’re going to see more brands starting to make their video games traditionally available for PC and consoles available for mobile too.

Minecraft, the indie sandbox video game, is a perfect example of this. Not only can the popular game be played offline and with others over WiFi, but it’s available for Xbox One, Windows 10, and mobile. Another great cross-platform game example is Crashlands. The story-driven crafting game can be played on your PC and be resumed on your mobile phone.

Additionally, another gaming sector where cross-platform gaming is becoming more prominent is within the iGaming industry. More mobile-friendly gambling sites are popping up, making their casino games available across both desktop and mobile platforms, catering to the growing number of players who prefer to access their favorite games on the go.

3. Harry Potter could be the next Pokémon Go craze

Niantic, the geniuses behind the insanely popular Pokémon Go AR game that became a craze back in the summer of 2016, are reportedly working on a new AR game: Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Just like its Pokémon predecessor, this game is expected to use both augmented reality and location-based features.

Beyond this, very little is known about the game, which is being co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and the company’s new subsidiary Portkey Games. That being said, due to the incredible popularity of the Harry Potter books, movies, merchandise, and theme parks, there’s a very good chance that this new game could become just as popular as Pokémon Go, which to date has passed 1.2 billion in revenue and has been downloaded more than 752 million times.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set to launch this year and is likely to further bolster the augmented reality sector.

4. VR will continue to become more mainstream

Virtual reality (VR) experiences have been improving over the past couple of years, and this means we can expect to see even more adoption of VR in 2018. According to a report by Grand View Research, by 2025, the global VR in gaming market size is expected to reach over $45 billion.

More developments are being made in the industry all the time. This includes the introduction of new headsets and improvements to existing hardware designed for mobile VR, like Google Daydream and the Samsung Gear VR. In fact, Samsung recently showed off that its headset could deliver a whole new explosive experience at the recent CES 2018 held in Las Vegas.

If you’re someone who’s into VR or is thinking about jumping on the mobile VR bandwagon to try out this immersive entertainment experience, 2018 is likely to be the best year yet for this tech.

5. More games with Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, are starting to capture the attention of more than just tech geeks. With the Bitcoin price having reached a record-breaking high of nearly $20,000 back in December, the desire to invest in Bitcoin has soared.

For this reason, it won’t be surprising if in 2018 there’s a rise in games like Bitcoin Billionaire. These games are designed for you to rake in Bitcoins to help you build up your massive fortune. Although these idle clicker apps are certainly not the most stimulating games out there, for those of you who are looking for ways to earn Bitcoin, it’s an option. Just don’t expect to get rich off playing these games.

While the five predicted trends listed above certainly have a good chance of coming true, only time will tell what the future truly holds for mobile gaming in 2018. No doubt, it’s sure to be exciting!

What do you think about my predictions? Do you agree or disagree? What do you think will be the biggest mobile gaming trends of 2018?

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Freelance writer and passionate gamer. She's a contributor at Vegasmaster online magazine, 60SecondMarketer, GadgetHacks and many others.