In recent years, apps appear to have overshadowed mobile sites to a significant degree. With a worldwide audience, which has grown ever more impatient for immediate satisfaction, it stands to reason that some users ignore the presence of mobile sites. But the near future may produce some surprising developments in the battle of site versus app.
Gaming pros need 2020 vision
The gaming sector is also set to vastly increase its rate of growth over the next three years. During an excellent 2016, mobile gaming accounted for nearly half of the $91 billion USD generated by the gaming sector itself. This creates a dilemma for companies, who must now decide exactly how much of their resources they should spend on mobile site development over app development. With the competition ever expanding, the stakes are now higher than ever.
Curiously, an IAB-led Harris poll conducted in October 2014, suggests that the importance of apps (over mobile sites) is hugely overestimated.
Image Source: iab.
Across all sectors, including gaming, findings showed that the distribution of usage between mobile sites and apps was surprisingly even. However, with Google already favouring mobile-friendly sites, gaming companies must invest serious time and money into mobile sites over the next three years.
Indeed, Google’s ever-growing favouritism of mobile-friendly sites is also set to become much stronger in the near future. Such will be the increased strength of this trend, that there is even the distinct possibility of sites without mobile-friendly versions being penalised by Google. Today, in the gaming sector, second page in Google search represents the abyss. By 2020, the ‘abyss’ will have extended to any site below third place on the first page.
Form over function?
The iGaming industry offers an interesting case study of when a mobile site can have the upper hand over apps, especially with live casino games. For example, a provider like William Hill offers a variety of games from roulette to blackjack which can be played against live dealers at https://livecasino.williamhill.com/#!/ . This kind of live gaming experience requires larger amounts of processing power so William Hill has created a fully optimised mobile site.
Unlike mobile sites, apps usually boast far shorter loading times. They may not even require an internet connection to be fully functional. For simpler games like Fieldrunners, a tower defence game, or the classic beat-em-up Street Fighter 4, apps are still, therefore, very much the go-to agent of entertainment. Some apps have even become more sophisticated to integrate several elements of online gameplay. For example, an app may allow bitcoin expenditure, social media sharing and affiliate purchases simultaneously.
However, once any app is selected and downloaded, the holy commodity of phone storage can often decrease sharply. The downward trajectory of space remaining continues, with the inevitable, relentless slew of updates and upgrades. With a mobile site, this ceases to be a long-term issue. For the time being, only mobile sites can give the user unlimited access to their favourites games and programmes – without making it necessary to sacrifice any apps for the mere sake of updates.