The runaway success of augmented reality smartphone game Pokémon Go has inspired much commentary around its ability to merge the digital world with the physical. But beneath the phenomenon’s technological and economic layers is a much simpler observation: the vast new size of the global mobile gaming audience.

Gaming has been a consistent part of the mobile phone story. The nostalgic will remember Snake, a staple of almost every Nokia device sold from the late 90s onwards. However, things didn’t really take off until the smartphone.

Drawing on a 2015-16 study of Facebook users around the world, this infographic from Facebook’s IQ blog highlights trends in the mobile gaming space, including the smartphone’s lead over computers and consoles, the gender breakdown of gamers, and the role of mobile gaming as a family activity.

Ultimately, while Pokémon Go was undoubtedly a smash hit, it pays to remember that it needed a large and readily captive audience to achieve such heights in the first place. As these trends show, the smartphone revolution has been quietly gathering a diverse and enthusiastic crowd for quite some time.

Other insights include:

  • Global gaming spending is nearing the US$100 billion mark, with mobile gaming taking a dominant US$36.9 billion proportion.
  • Females are approaching parity in smartphone gaming, accounting for 47% of the audience compared to 54% of males.
  • Gamers in developing markets play for longer periods and more frequently than those in developed markets.
  • Social connections and a sense of community are important factors in driving the gaming experience.
mobile gaming trends