Has Live Streaming via Social Platforms driven a $16 billion gaming trend?

By Lisa Gibbons Lisa Gibbons has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on April 13, 2023

Oh how we love to watch people fail. The pleasure that comes with Schadenfreude is real. However, as long as the misfortune isn’t too long-lived, the experience doesn’t have to be vindictive. Gamers watching other gamers fail over and over again via live streaming must be some kind of Schadenfreude on steroids.

Competitive mobile gaming has seen a significant rise in popularity in recent years. According to a report by Newzoo, the mobile esports market is expected to reach $1.1 billion in revenue by 2021. This is in part due to the widespread availability and accessibility of mobile devices, which has made it easier than ever for people to participate in gaming competitions.

The latest reports from Data.ai suggests that mobile gaming’s new normal is a much higher plateau than it was in the pre-pandemic years. The company released both its Q1 Gaming Index and its State of Mobile Gaming 2023 reports this week, and both indicate that the mobile games market is stabilizing in the years after the pandemic-era boom.

The Q1 Index predicts that gamers will spend more than $1.6 Billion a week on games in the first quarter of this year. That’s about a 28% increase in spending from pre-pandemic levels.

Live Streaming Connects Players to Fans Directly

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube, where you can watch gamers battle it out via live broadcasts, is some of the most engaging user-generated content of today, attracting huge numbers of viewers globally.

Alongside the growth of these streaming platforms, gamers have found new ways to showcase their skills and build up a base of fans. This has led to the emergence of professional gamers who make a living by playing games competitively, both on traditional gaming platforms like consoles and PC, as well as on mobile devices.

Mobile gaming has particularly benefited from the rise of live streaming, as it offers an easy and accessible way for gamers to broadcast their gameplay. This has led to a surge in the popularity of mobile gaming tournaments and esports events, where top mobile gamers can compete for significant prizes and recognition.

The direct community engagement that these platforms have helped to fuel has led to increased interest in competitive mobile gaming. Gamers can now build a loyal following of fans who tune in to watch their matches, offer support and engage with other viewers.

Mobile game developers are responding by creating games that are specifically designed for competitive play, with features like new revenue streams with blockchain, matchmaking, and ranking systems.

Also Check Out: Returning to your roots: From Video Games to Blockchain Solutions and Back Again

The Steady Rise of Casual Mobile Games

Casual mobile games have come a long way since the early days of Snake and Tetris. With the rise of smartphones, mobile games have exploded in popularity, with millions of people worldwide enjoying games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and Pokémon GO. But what does the future hold for this rapidly-evolving industry?

One major trend in the mobile gaming world is the move towards emerging technology and more immersive experiences. With the development of blockchain and virtual reality technologies, game developers have more tools than ever to create engaging environments for players to explore. In the near future, we can expect to see more games that incorporate AR and VR elements, allowing players to step into the metaverse and interact with their surroundings in new and exciting ways.


“Mobile is the most popular gaming sector played by the vast majority of players. And competitive games against real opponents have always been the most popular ones as it all comes down to players trying to outsmart and outplay the opponent. The addition of a possibility to play for low stakes makes it even more interesting for the players as it adds an additional layer to the competition. That is the core reason why paid competitive mobile gaming is on the rise.” Matt Koknik, Co-Founder of CoinClash Games 

Another trend in the mobile gaming industry is the increasing emphasis on social and multiplayer gameplay. Games like Among Us and Fall Guys have shown that casual gamers are eager to connect with others and compete in a fun, low-stakes environments. This is slowly filtering into the world of Web3, also. 

Blockchain Offers New Revenue Models for Gamers

One exciting possibility for the future of casual mobile games is the integration of blockchain technology. With blockchain, developers can create games that allow players to truly own their in-game assets, creating new opportunities for monetization and player engagement.

Imagine a game where players can trade rare digital items on a secure, decentralized marketplace or a game that rewards players with cryptocurrency for achieving certain milestones. These are just a few of the possibilities that blockchain technology could bring to the world of mobile gaming.

Martin Spinetto, Founder and CEO of Geopoly, a blockchain game that allows players to rent, buy, upgrade, and sell businesses, believes that the world of blockchain mobile gaming has two central hurdles. One being the walled garden of Google and app store restrictions, and the other is the onboarding process for Web2 players. With the first problem, they have found “it to be a stopper when implementing blockchain features into their mobile application experiences.” In Geopoly, they have created a server-side wallet for freemium games, and after that, they can offer them the opportunity to buy NFTs with credit. 


Spinetto believes that this frictionless experience should be a requirement for all blockchain games positioning themselves in front of Web2 gamers. Although he is optimistic about the future of blockchain gaming, stating that “the concept at the moment is 2.5. The idea is to pair the best of freemium features while also introducing the blockchain elements.” In addition, they have carefully introduced nonlisted tokens that get the users accustomed to playing with tokens without the whole DeFi or trading world. 

This is similar to what we have seen Upland do successfully with their SuperApp for the metaverse. The Upland gaming model is one of the most played in the blockchain world today. With over 3 million players, they have proven that their gaming loops are worthy of more attention. When it comes to mobile, they are the kings of Web3 gaming.

Using blockchain technology, players can have complete ownership over in-game assets and control over the future direction of their assets within a game, as they are stored in a secure digital ledger that cannot be altered or manipulated by game developers or other third parties.

With this mechanic, the risk of losing items or theft is diminished. Although most games are still reliant on centralized marketplaces to facilitate transactions, the beauty is in the transparency of the interactions between players and game developers. 

Using NFTs within games has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for mobile game developers to create unique and valuable in-game items that can be bought, sold, and traded like real-world assets.


“We are already witnessing incredible user generated gaming ideas within the Upland community. Players of blockchain games naturally think about the entire economy when they get involved with Upland. With more people than ever owning smartphones it is natural that this trend of mobile gaming will continue to grow. As we work towards future interoperability, game developers will be provided with new ways to innovate and experiment with gameplay mechanics and we look forward to an exciting future for casual mobile gaming,” notes Dirk Leuth, Co-Founder of Upland. 

As the mobile gaming industry continues to evolve, we can also expect to see more cross-platform integration. 

Gaming Fun at Your Fingertips

Mobile gaming has become a mainstream form of entertainment, with a global audience that includes people of all ages and backgrounds. With the rise of live-streaming platforms, it’s likely that the demand for competitive mobile gaming experiences will continue to grow.

One of the reasons for the growth in competitive mobile gaming is the increasing legitimacy of mobile games as a genre. In the past, mobile games were often dismissed as “casual” or “not real games” by traditional gamers. The gameplay mechanics may not yet rival those of traditional console games, but they do offer easy-to-access opportunities to play. 

Moreover, the accessibility that comes with mobile gaming is a distinct advantage over traditional gaming platforms. This makes it easier to onboard new players and play games on the go without the need for any expensive setup or gaming rigs. 

Additionally, mobile games are often designed to be played in short bursts, making them ideal for competitive gaming tournaments with multiple rounds. Games such as Solitaire, Candy Crush, Sudoku, and more have stipulated casual mobile gaming into one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. 

The opposite of Schadenfreude is freudenfreude and something that isn’t often spoken about in business circles. However, if we are to delight in the joy of others, low-stakes competitive gaming with family and friends could be the perfect way to test the waters.

By Lisa Gibbons Lisa Gibbons has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Lisa Gibbons is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily.

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