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Why the Future of Gaming will be Powered by Voice

The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other…

The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Beyond digital forms of communications like email and instant messaging, much of our daily communications are powered by the internet. Internet-enabled voice calling through apps like WhatsApp and Skype connect us to friends, family, and colleagues all around the world, and enabled calling features on smartphones help boost call quality and reliability.

Despite its prevalence in our everyday lives, voice chat functionality is surprisingly underutilized in mobile gaming, especially in a major market like the United States where mobile gaming revenue is expected to reach over $9 billion this year.

Within the past decade, the player experience has shifted from offline singleplayer to online multiplayer. Gamers all around the world are embracing team-focused gameplay where real-time voice chat and team collaboration are paramount to the overall experience. eSports and mega-popular PC games like League of Legends and Overwatch wouldn’t be where they are today without native voice chat.

The annual World Championships, the pinnacle of League of Legends eSports

And while voice functionality is still primarily seen in console and desktop gaming, we’re starting to see a shift within mobile gaming as well. This is especially true in Asia, where voice chat is a key feature across the hottest mobile games from companies like Tencent and Xiaomi.

So why is live voice chat so popular in Asia when it hasn’t found its footing in the States?

Partly because Asia is at the forefront of mobile gaming. Established markets like China, South Korea, and Japan have been contributing to the growth of mobile gaming for years, but now emerging markets like Southeast Asia are following suit. Thanks to the widespread availability of internet connectivity and inexpensive smartphones, Southeast Asia is seeing unprecedented growth, with revenue from mobile gaming expected to surpass PC gaming revenue this year.

Simply put, Asia is ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile gaming — but not for long.

Mobile now accounts for 65% of total digital media consumption in the States and that number is on the rise. With personal desktop use slowly fading away, more consumers are looking for ways to entertain themselves on-the-go. Social apps like Instagram and Snapchat are dominating the download charts, and gaming apps like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans aren’t far behind. As consumers seek collaborative, community-driven social experiences through their smartphones, mobile gaming will continue to grow in popularity.

Popular mobile game Mobile Legends recently added in-game voice chatting

With this surge in mobile gaming, players will take advantage of interactive features like in-game voice chat, and they’ll want to do it without relying on third-party voice apps like Discord. This is good news for gamers and game developers. Native voice chat is more convenient for players and it boosts engagement, which is critical for mobile game developers that rely on advertisements and in-game purchases to generate revenue. The increase in engagement can also lead to an increase in player stickiness, or long-term play, meaning players will come back to the game time and time again.

With mobile gaming usage on the up and the gaming community becoming more interactive, it’s only a matter of time before in-game voice chat is the norm as players fully embrace the social side of mobile gaming.