Mobile gaming leads the Latin American market – 87% of Latam gamers play on mobile devices, much higher than the 67% that play on PCs and the 57% that play on consoles. Usually simpler and more casual than in other platforms, mobile games are also highly diverse, reaching a wide range of Latam gamers and extraordinary levels of engagement.
With lower but frequent purchases, mobile gaming is one of the main verticals boosting gaming growth in Latin America. Even though the average tickets of the region’s gamers are expected to remain low in the next few years, the gaming industry in Latam does grow – by frequency rather than size, as we’ve shown in our white paper The Payment Habits of Latin American Gamers.
What pushes mobile gaming in Latin America and cements it as gamers’ favorite platform? How to make the most of its considerable market share and reach this varied, growing gaming audience? Keep reading to find out.
Smartphone penetration opens the market
One of the main reasons why mobile gaming rises higher than consoles and PCs in Latin America is the prevalence of mobile phones in the region, alongside lower levels of PC and console penetration, compared to North America and Europe.
All Top 6 Markets in Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, in order of total e-commerce volume – have significant smartphone penetration rates, with Peru being the lower (64%) and Brazil the highest, with an impressive 90%. For most Latin American consumers, smartphones are the main – for a lot of them, the only – internet access channel. Android users make up 91% of Latam mobile gamers, with only 19% using Apple devices.
Indeed, Brazil is a great example of mobile gaming’s Latam prevalence: the percentage of Brazilianss who play mobile games grew by 146% between 2018 and 2022, according to Atlantico’s 2022 Latin America Digital Transformation report. Among the over 2,200 Latam gamers that we surveyed for our white paper, 77% of Brazilians affirmed to play on mobile, higher than the 68% and the 62% shares of console gaming and PC gaming, respectively.
Casual games for a wider audience
Compared to PC and console games, mobile titles tend to be simpler and more casual – after all, smartphones and tablets have simpler hardware and less processing power than the other gaming platforms, and internet connection is not always the fastest. On the other hand, this also makes mobile games highly accessible and ideal for playing anywhere.
Thus, among mobile gamers, it’s very common to just open a favorite game and play it for a while on the bus, waiting for an appointment, etc., be it for a couple of hours or for just a few minutes. Mobile gaming is the preference among both female and male Latam gamers – among survey participants, 54% of mobile gamers are male and 46%, female.
Consequently, there is also greater diversity among the preferred mobile gaming genres. Among the most popular in Latam are casual games such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds, strategy games such as Lords Mobile, sports games such as FIFA Mobile, as well as Battle Royale games, with titles such as Free Fire and PUBG being hits in the region.
In-game purchases leading sales volume
Differently from other gaming platforms, mobile gaming makes up most of its online sales volume from in-game purchases. Frequently made by 84% of mobile gamers, in-game purchases include the purchase of currencies, customizations, game expansions, and health and strength items within games, during play. Usually with lower tickets – ranging anywhere from USD $1-$50 –, they take place during play and are often made impulsively, demanding an even more rapid, frictionless experience.
Meanwhile, game titles – the purchase of the game itself – are made by 69% of mobile gamers, and most often relate to upgrades from free to paid versions, since most titles are free, with ads, for mobile devices.
Payment variety and agility is key to unlock the market
Due to its lower average spending, mobile gamers are the only ones that don’t have credit cards as their favorite payment methods: if 37% of console gamers and 36% of PC gamers selected credit as their preferred way of paying for online gaming-related purchases, only 31% of mobile gamers agree.
For them, the number one payment method is the debit card, elected by 31% of survey participants as their favorite way of paying for mobile gaming purchases. Credit cards come in close second (31%), followed by digital wallets (20%).
Among all the payment methods mobile gamers use, not only the one they prefer, 55% of them use credit cards, followed by 49% that use credit cards, and 39% that pay through digital wallets. If agility and speed in payment confirmation is a must for gamers in general, the mobile platform requires it even more – with spontaneous spending and agile titles, approving payment and delivering the purchase for the user to be able to play with it as soon as possible is a key element in accessing it the wide, growing range of Latam mobile gamers.
Mobile gaming encapsulates many of the most fascinating aspects of Latin American gamer culture: a diversified audience, titles that are able to break the barriers of lack of access – to fast internet, to powerful PCs, to modern consoles –, varied titles that showcase the varied interests of this audience.
To know even more about mobile gaming, the segment in general, and how to reach Latin American gamers, click below to download our full white paper for free: