With nearly half of all mobile gamers coming from emerging markets, the mobile gaming economy is flourishing.

According to market research firm Newzoo, the number of mobile gamers is expected to increase to 1.82 billion in 2017. The report also estimates that mobile games take up nearly a quarter of the total global gaming market. It is now projected to surpass $41 billion by 2017, making up for almost 40 percent of the overall market.

The growing adoption of smartphones across emerging markets is one of the key reasons for the rapidly expanding mobile gaming economy. To reach audiences, mobile marketers and game developers much remember a few things.

Traditional marketing rules do not apply

Gaming on mobile has by far been one of the most popular uses of these devices and has in fact, been rated as one of the most enjoyable activities on smartphones, second only to bonding with family and friends on social media. Marketers must ensure that their outreach doesn’t encroach on that enjoyment.

Preferences are diverse, but MMOs are driving growth

A mobile gamer’s preference fits many (and sometimes more than one) genre: arcade, racing, puzzle, action, adventure, and strategy. But massively multiplayer online games, the best-performing sector in PC gaming, is today gaining mass appeal among mobile players Games such as Clash of Clans, Call of Duty, and Teen Patti bring together mobile gamers from across the globe in a multiplayer environment, where they go up against each other.

MMO interest and smartphone use each driving the other

MMO gaming is so popular today that it registers the highest growth in terms of mobile gaming revenues. To put things in perspective, mobile gaming revenues globally touched the $25 billion mark in 2014. With an estimated $11 billion in revenues for 2014, MMO gaming on mobile made up for 21 percent of the global digital games market. For most consumers in emerging markets, the smartphone is also their primary way of accessing Internet. Therefore, MMO gaming has now become even more accessible to this population. It is no surprise then that Asia is the highest contributor to the growth of MMO gaming. According to a SuperData Research estimate, Asia has contributed close to $4.2 Billion in 2014 in terms of MMO gaming revenues.

Gaming is more social than ever

MMOs are highly social in nature, wherein gamers from around the world come together, interact and often team up to play with each other. While these have been highly popular on PCs for years, smartphones have given this format of gaming the mass reach it could not have achieved before.

Forget the old ‘location, location, location’ adage

Mobile gamers prefer smartphones because as opposed to a desktop or a console, their devices are not bound by location. The portability and the always connected, on-the-go nature of smartphones means they can enjoy gaming content anywhere and at their own time. Smartphones also offer seamless integration with social networks, which makes engagement with other gamers and gaming communities much easier.

Freemium works

Most of MMO gaming revenue growth is driven by the freemium model, with games featuring in-app purchases. With an estimated $3.3 billion in revenues, Asia also is the biggest market for free-to-play MMO games. Freemium has always been the most preferred way of consuming content in emerging markets. This is also why free-to-play is so popular among publishers, given its capability to reach and monetize new markets. This gives marketers the opportunity to unlock a new level of monetization in these markets.

By understanding these trends and opportunities, marketers and game developers can create games and campaigns that are truly global, with users that engage with ads, in-app purchases and effective marketing campaign strategies.

Dippak Khurana is the Co-founder and CEO of Vserv, a leading mobile marketing platform that delivers smart data led results to marketers, app developers, telcos and data partners.