How are mobile games doing in the larger gaming industry? An analysis with numbers!

From App Annie, an app market data and insights company serving a lot of big apps and games companies every day, we get lots of data and statistics about mobile gaming for 2018. Let take a look at them!

What 2018 was made of?

Let’s start with some numbers: in 2018, Mobile games users spent more (around $75B USD) than all other platforms users (around $65B USD). And this count doesn’t include ad revenue. So mobile gaming is now clearly leading the market, even if this trend started in 2015. No surprise that big editors and studios jump in the mobile arena armed with their beloved IPs.

Here is the list of the Top 10 games of this year (worldwide combined iOS and Android active users):

  1. Anipop (Happy Elements)
  2. Honour of Kings (Tencent)
  3. Candy Crush Saga (Activision Blizzard)
  4. Clash of Clans (Supercell)
  5. PUBG: Exciting Battlefield (Tencent)
  6. PUBG MOBILE (Tencent)
  7. Clash Royale (Supercell)
  8. Pokémon GO (Niantic)
  9. Subway Surfers (Kiloo)
  10. Helix Jump (Voodoo)

When we look at downloads, the trend clearly shows that Battle Royale games and Hyper-Casual games outshine the mobile gaming industry.

Globally, game revenue still grows: +24% in the USA ($14B USD), +7% in Japan ($13B USD), that for the two major markets. They are followed by South Korea (+7% at $4B USD) and Germany (+31% at $2B USD), among others. In China, even if growth decelerates, users spent around $28B USD!!

As you can see, the mobile gaming market is now leading the gaming market, so we really can understand why major studios and editors can’t avoid it (think about Diablo Immortal and the partnership with a Chinese studio).

But let’s take a look at what is anticipated for 2019.

2019, year of mobile gaming

App Annie expects that mobile gaming will represent 60% of the market ($90B USD). Also, casual games will still be the major category when looking at shares of the total revenue (39% in 2018), casual puzzle being a rapidly expanding genre (+60% Average Revenue Per User, +80% Revenue Growth). In almost all categories, the users are spending more (so prepare your in-app marketplaces).

So, even if it’s hard to compare mobile gaming with all other platforms gaming (everybody nowadays has a smartphone, so the audience is billions of people), we can see why the majority of IPs coming on mobile tend to be in the form of casual games or battle royale games: they are the most popular, and casual games promise more revenue with “easier” development (look at all those copy/paste puzzle games on stores).

If you want to develop a game, make a casual game or a RPG game, and target Western countries or China: you might reach the larger audience.

Without being complete or exhaustive, these data are really interesting to look at, and to keep in mind when we will follow trends of 2019 and how the gaming industry will evolve this year, particularly with Stadia coming!

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below!

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