Traditional esport fans tend to look down on mobile games, as they're seen as inferior and lower quality to PC and console titles. They might have to sing a different tune sooner than later, however, with the recent revelation that mobile esports raked in $15.3 billion dollars in revenue last year.
According to the 45-page Niko Partners report, mobile esports bring in about a quarter of mobile game revenue. If the firm's estimates prove to be correct, mobile esports will wind up being the fastest-growing part of the esport scene.
A large part of this has to do with install base. More gamers have easier access to mobile phones than dedicated gaming PCs and consoles. As per the report, there are somewhere around 2.53 billion mobile gamers throughout the world as of 2019. By contrast, there are an estimated 1 billion PC gamers and 500 million console gamers. Because more people have access to smartphones than other devices, it's just simple math that it would be a larger scene.
A natural consequence of this is that, due to the more open scene, more players are widely able to participate. Niko speculates that we may see an influx of smaller, more open tournaments popping up over the next few years, and that there will be a downturn of larger, higher-profile competitions.
At this rate, mobile esports are going to be impossible for the more elitist fans to ignore. They're gaining more and more legitimacy, especially with companies like Blizzard, Valve, and Epic paying serious attention to getting their games on smartphones. With the rise of the auto battler, a game having a mobile version has proved make or break success in that genre, with Team Fight Tactics' mobile version still MIA and Dota Underlods finding success on the platform. While it's unlikely that games like CS:GO will ever seen smartphone versions, the future likely belongs to publishers who push for esports with the mobile market in mind.