A decade ago, no one would have ever thought that mobile gaming would be where it’s at right now. Mobile games back then were nothing more than just something to pass the time with on the subway, or when you get bored reading your book on a flight.
Now things are different. Different mobile gaming statistics are showing that the segment contributes the most revenue to the video game industry. In the USA alone last year, the digital video games revenue was at $41.49 billion. $35 billion off that revenue was generated by the mobile gaming industry. This year, the mobile gaming industry is expected to generate $41.7 billion in revenue alone, more than the entire video game revenue for the entire year of 2021 (1).
But what else are the mobile gaming statistics showing for the USA and on a global scale? How many people play mobile games on a weekly or daily basis? How much are people spending on mobile games?
We’ll get those questions answered, and more in this article.
Key Mobile Game Industry Statistics
- Genshin Impact is the highest earning mobile Gacha game, earning $567 million for Q1 2022, followed by Lineage W with $272 million (28).
- APAC , Americas, EMEA, and Korea are the biggest regions with the highest share of revenue generated through in app purchases or IAP (29).
- The mobile game revenue share of the entire video gaming industry is 57% (3).
- The mobile games market value in North America is $25.2 billion (3).
- F2P games or free to play games generated a revenue of $13.2 billion in North America (3).
- The mobile games market value globally is $131.2 billion by the end of 2021, and is expected to be valued at $140.2 billion b the end of 2022 (4).
- More than 209. million people are playing games on their mobile phones in the USA (17).
- More than half of mobile gamers (57%) are male gamers, while 42.9% of the mobile gamers are female gamers in the USA (18).
- Tencent Mobile is the biggest game app publisher in terms of revenue and mobile-game downloads with $580 million and 53 million downloads, respectively as of April 2022. (23),(24).
Mobile Game Statistics Around The World
- As of 2021, there was a total of 82.9 billion game downloads (2).
- The same year, consumer spending on games reached $116 billion (2).
- In the Apple App store alone, there are more than 4.7 million apps and games available for download
- The mobile gaming share of revenue for the entire gaming industry is 57% (3).
- The market value of mobile gaming content in North America is $25.2 billion (3).
- Revenue generated by F2P mobile gaming in North America reached $13.2 billion (3).
- Mobile gaming market value worldwide is worth $131.2 billion as of 2021. It’s projected to be worth $140.2 by the end of 2022 (4).
- In 2026, the market value for mobile gaming will reach $173.4 billion, which is a 200% increase in revenue after 15 years (in 2011, mobile gaming market value was only at $8.6 billion) (4).
- The RPG (role-playing game) genre generated the highest revenue for the mobile gaming industry in 2019 and 2020 ($18.3 and $19.1 billion respectively), followed by the Strategy genre ($11.71 billion for 2019, and $15.1 billion for 2020) (5).
- United States generated the highest revenue share for the mobile gaming industry for three years running (2019,2020,2021) at 26%, 28%, and 29% respectively. Japan follows in second place with 23%, 22%, and 21$ for 2019,2020, and 2021 respectively (7).
Japan and United States will continue to generate the highest revenue share this year. In Q1 of 22, revenue share for the United States alone is at 27% and Japan with 20%. That means these two regions will almost have earned more revenue for mobile gaming than the rest of the regions combined for this year alone.
Mobile Gaming Statistics for Apps (Apple Store and Google Play)
- Google Play dominates Apple App Store over number of mobile game downloads for Q1 2022. Google Play recorded 12.1 billion downloads, while Apple App Store only had 2.3 billion (6).
- In 2021, Roblox generated the highest number of downloads with 41 million, followed by Project Makeover and Among Us with 33 million and 32 million, respectively (8).
- King is the top game app publisher according to revenue in the Android or Google Play Store, generating $18.67 billion in revenue as of June 2022. King is also the top game app publisher in the Apple App Store, generating $12.24 billion in revenue the same year (9).
- As of June 2022, the top gaming apps from the Google App Store in terms of daily active users are Subway Surfers, Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush Saga. Subway Surfers has 2.3 million DAU (daily active users), while Clash of Clans has 1.87 million DAU, and Candy Crush Saga with 1.4 DAU (10).
- In contrast, the top gaming apps from the Apple App Store in terms of DAU or daily active users are Subway Surfers, Roblox, and Minecraft with 715,378, 448,186, and 198,870, respectively (10).
King.com Limited, or known as King Digital Entertainment, is the developer between the most popular game, Candy Crush. Candy
Mobile Gaming Demographics for In-Game Spending And Ad Revenue
- Despite the title, Free-To-Play games or F2P games are the highest monetizing games globally as of 2021 (11).
- In the USA alone, IAP or in-app purchases of virtual goods has the highest revenue share for 2020,2021, and 2022 compared to revenue generated by subscriptions (12).
- The top mobile games that have the highest consumer spend in Q4 2020 are Arena of Valor, PUBG Mobile, and Pokemon Go (13).
- Gaming apps have the highest consumer spending recorded amongst mobile app categories for three quarters of 2021 (14).
- Tencent Mobile is the biggest game app publisher in terms of revenue with $580 million in in-app purchases and mobile game downloads with 53 million for April 2022 (23),(24).
Mobile games are free to download and free to access, but don’t be fooled into thinking that these gaming companies aren’t earning a single cent from their users. The gaming statistics have shown and proven that people have spent more money on mobile gaming apps than on any other apps on mobile phones (Entertainment apps, food and drinks apps, etc.) (14).
How Many Gamers Are There Worldwide?
- There are 2.96 billion gamers worldwide as of 2021. By the end of 2022, the projected population for gamers worldwide will be 3.09 billion (15).
- Asia Pacific has the highest share of gamers in the region, with 55% of the gaming population (16).
- In the USA alone, there are 209.5 million people who play mobile games (17).
- 57% of mobile gamers are male and 42.9% are female gamers in the USA (18).
- 43% of smartphone use is for gaming (19), and 62% of people who get new phones will download at least one game within a week after purchase (19).
- China’s mobile game actual sales revenue for 2021 was 225.54 billion Yuan (or US$33 billion) (20).
- China is also leading in video games sales revenue worldwide with $56.92 billion for this year alone, followed by the United States with $55.28 billion (21).
- There are 656 million mobile gamers in China as of 2021 (22).
It’s worth noting that the number of gamers, (PC gamers, mobile gamers, and console gamers) skyrocketed during the on-set of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Several gaming statistics have shown dramatic increases in gaming population on all fronts and segments due to the pandemic.
During the lockdowns, people took to gaming to entertain themselves and to socialize with other people. But even before the pandemic started, the mobile gaming industry was the dominant segment of the video game industry in terms of revenue generated. In 2020, mobile games generated $73.8 billion in revenue, followed by F2P PC games with $22.3 billion and premium console games with $17.8 billion (25). Even if you combine the revenue for the other segments, mobile games still have the highest revenue by a margin. This was proof that mobile games really took off during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the gaming statistics can also prove this claim.
Key Mobile Gaming Statistics For Global Market
- In 2020, 45% of the video game industry’s entire revenue came from mobile gaming revenue (26).
- 51% of the market share for the global games market comes from smartphone games and tablet games (mobile games in general) (27).
- Genshin Impact is the highest earning mobile Gacha game for Q1 2022 with $567 million. This is followed by Lineage W with $272 million and Usuma Musume Pretty Derby with $236 million (28).
- APAC (Asia and Pacific), Americas, EMEA, and Korea have the highest share of revenue for IAP (in-app purchases) in mobile games (29).
- 22% of video game publishers use their own in-game currency as a way to monetize their games (30).
- 45% of video game publishers monetize their games by using the “pay to download” business model. This meant you had to purchase the game first before you can access them (30).
Mobile Game Industry Analysis and Trends
Play-To-Earn is a Growing Segment
P2E or Play-To-Earn is the most popular business model compared to pay-to-play and free-to-play. Mobile games such as Axie Infinity have allowed people to earn money just by playing their game.
Axie Infinity made the headlines back in the early 2020s when mobile gamers from the Philippines are reportedly earning six-figure income just by playing games (31). The premise of the game was simple. Axie Infinity had you composing a team of three pets and having them fight with other players.
With their tournament system and their single-player features, Axie Infinity allowed players to generate and collect SLP or Smooth Love Potion, which was the game’s cryptocurrency. Players earned these tokens for trade when they accumulated enough in the market. Game developers down the line were quick to see what Sky Mavis was doing with Axie Infinity, and more games offering cryptocurrency/NFTs followed soon after.
These mobile games are developed with blockchain technology, so the income generated by their players is sent straight to their cryptocurrency wallets. Players can even use these currencies to trade or sell whenever they want. However, P2E business model is still relatively new and the 0bstacles and challenges have yet to be really discovered.
Getting Your Brand Out Is Always The Key To Success in Mobile Gaming
There’s no open secret with this claim. A company that doesn’t get their brand out will never be able to succeed, and the mobile gaming publishers are proof that they have to get one foot in the door or else.
We take a look at a certain game like Raid: Shadow Legends, developed by Plarium. You might have heard about the game once or twice from your favorite Youtuber or Twitch Streamer. The premise was simple. Raid: Shadow Legends awarded their influencers with in-game rewards when people use their redemption codes. And the awards from each code were also very enticing for the mobile gamers, so you’re always incentivized to be on the lookout for these codes. However, their aggressive marketing and branding have also turned them into one of the biggest memes in gaming platforms.
What are they doing right here? Now, Raid: Shadow Legends isn’t as big as Genshin Impact or Roblox or any of the paid mobile games. Their player-base isn’t nearly as impressive either. In the USA, only 5% of their mobile gaming population play Raid: Shadow Legends (32).
But what made Raid: Shadow Legends one of the biggest names in mobile gaming industry is how they marketed themselves. They reached out to big streamers and YouTube content creators to promote the game, even if they didn’t play the same gaming platform (mobile devices). They had these insane codes that gave you free in-game currency, boosts, and even new heroes. And of course, people ended up becoming curious with the game itself and started to download and get into the game.
Now, mobile game advertisers are following what Raid: Shadow Legends did and have reached out to bigger influencers and celebrities.
Top Mobile Games Right Now
Garena Free Fire bags the number #1 spot as the most downloaded mobile game as of January 2022, coming in with 24 million installs (which was a 51.6% increase from Jan 2021). India also happened to be the country with the most installs for this time period, accounting for 25.5% of total downloads. Brazil comes in a close second with 11.7%.
Subway Surfer is the second most installed game, coming in with 23.7 million installs. Mobile gamers from India accounted for the highest number of downloads at 20.7%, followed by mobile gamers from the USA at 7%.
What’s The Next Step for Mobile Gaming?
The mobile gaming statistics have shown and proven just how big the industry is, and how fast it is currently growing. Mobile games revenue globally and regionally are still higher compared to other segments (PC gaming and console gaming). Free mobile games will also continue to earn more money within the next few years, as seen with the mobile gaming industry statistics.
Mobile games are being downloaded mostly because they’re casual games in nature. They don’t require a lot of commitment to begin with, and you don’t really spend a lot of time playing mobile games as you would with PC or gaming consoles. People played mobile games just to pass the time or when there’s nothing to do. This behavior was amplified during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Puzzle games like Candy Crush: Saga are just some examples of how these casual games are dominating the market right now because of the number of active mobile gamers worldwide for that game alone. Casino games and Gacha games are also quite popular with mobile gamers because they give you the gambling fix that you need.