Wondering what’s the state of the global gaming market?
In this article, we bring you all the latest information on trends, top markets, and top gaming genres by consumer spend, downloads, and time spent. We also go over the top-performing games across three main markets (AMER, APAC, and EMEA).
(Data source: AppAnnie State of Mobile Gaming 2021 report.)
Let’s start off with the top mobile app and game markets by consumer spend and downloads. It will show you how much the mobile market has boomed in the previous year.
Overall, the global app market reached $143 billion in consumer spend.
The top two global markets by consumer spend in 2020 were China ($48 billion) and the United States ($32 billion). We expect these two markets to stay on top throughout 2021 as well.
Interestingly, none of the other markets come even close to that. For example, the United Kingdom is now in third place, but with only $3 billion in consumer spend.
China is also the number one market by downloads. In 2020, 96 billion downloads came just from this country. Overall, there were 218 billion downloads across all markets in 2020. That means that 44% of all downloads came from China.
The United States was in second place with 13 billion downloads.
Gaming Genres by Downloads, Consumer Spend and Time Spent
In this section, we’ll break down core, casual, and casino genres by downloads, consumer spend, and time spent.
Casual games dominate downloads (78%). This comes as no surprise considering the popularity of titles like Among Us, My Talking Tom, and ROBLOX.
While casual games generate the most downloads, core games generate the most spend (66%). According to AppAnnie, APAC drives a significant portion of consumer spend among core games.
Furthermore, mobile gaming is predicted to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend this year, capturing 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined.
Players spend the most time playing core games (55%). However, casual games are pretty close with 43%.
YoY Growth in Global Hours Spent by Gaming Subgenres
Above, you can see year-over-year growth in global hours spent ordered by year-over-year market share growth.
Simulation sandbox games have the biggest global market share out of all 112 subgenres.
Arcade experienced the biggest growth in overall time spent year-over-year growth (300%) during 2021.
Share of Mobile Game Revenue by Ad Format
Above is a graph of global revenue share by ad format on MoPub ad network. Throughout 2020 and in Q1 2021, fullscreen video ads had the biggest revenue share, followed by rewarded video, and banners.
From that we can conclude that fullscreen and rewarded ads will continue to be the most profitable ad formats for mobile games. They also seem to be key growth areas.
US Game Ad Impressions per Daily Active User
The graph above shows US game ad impressions per daily active users across IronSource’s mediation platform from 2017 to 2020.
It shows that, in 2020, players engaged with more ads than ever before. Impressions per daily active user went up 51% year-over-year.
Because the mobile app market is so saturated, it’s hard for publishers to stand out. That’s why many turn to influencer collaborations to cut through the noise and acquire more users.
Above, you can see how many average global downloads were achieved by four collaborations events in 2020.
- Fortnite ft. Travis Scott concert
- Calm ft. Harry Styles
- Dunkin’ ft. Charli D’Amelio
- PUBG ft. BlackPink.
Interestingly, collaborations span across categories – there’s everything from gaming to food apps. That means influencer campaigns are effective for all mobile app genres.
You might be wondering what caused this growth?
According to AppAnnie, “Sophistication in ad placement strategies contributed to this growth, with ads being increasingly incorporated as part of the core game loop.”
Top Mobile Games of 2020
Finally, I’ve put together a list of top games of 2020 by downloads, consumer spend, and time spent across three major markets.
Global Gaming Market: Top Mobile Games by Downloads
Above, you can see top breakout mobile games in the American market by downloads. Everywhere, except in Brazil, Among Us was the most downloaded game in 2020, and Brain Test: Tricky Puzzles was second.
In Asian-Pacific market, the most downloaded games were quite diverse.
Among Us was the most downloaded game in Australia and South Korea in 2020.
In China, it was Love Matching, in India, it was Hunter Assassin, in Indonesia WormsZone.io, and in Japan Dragon Quest Tact.
This shows you how gaming preferences and tastes differ from country to country, as well as from market to market.
The most downloaded games of 2020 in EMEA were Coin Master (France), Brain Test (Germany and Turkey), My Talking Tom (Russia), and Among Us (United Kingdom).
As all of this list shows, Among Us was dominating in terms of downloads.
Top Mobile Games by Consumer Spend
The top games in AMER by consumer spend in 2020 were Roblox (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the US), Coin Master (Canada), and Call of Duty: Mobile (Mexico).
Other games in this list include Garena Free Fire, State of Survival, Saint Seiya: Awakening, PUBG Mobile, Lords Mobile, Pokémon Go, and Gardenscapes.
In the APAC market, the games that rose to the top in terms of consumer spend were State of Survival (Australia and Indonesia), Sangokushi Strategy (China), Garena Free Fire (India), Disney: Twisted Wonderland (Japan), and Lineage 2M (South Korea).
In EMEA in 2020, players spent the most money on Coin Master (France), State of Survival (Germany), Brawl Stars (Russia), MapleStory M (Turkey), and ROBLOX (United Kingdom).
Top Mobile Games by Time Spent
If we take time spent metric into consideration, the top mobile games in AMER in 2020 were Garena Free Fire in Argentina, and Roblox in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
As data shows, Roblox was extremely successful in 2020, being one of the top games by both consumer spend and time spent in AMER.
In the APAC market, players spent the most time by playing Among Us (Australia), Honor of Kings (China), Garena Free Fire (India), Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (Indonesia), Dragon Quest Walk (Japan), and ROBLOX (South Korea).
In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, players spent the most time on ROBLOX (Germany, Russia, UK), as well as Coin Master (France) and Brawl Stars (Turkey).
Final Thoughts on Global Gaming Market
The global gaming market has been growing rapidly year-over-year and we can expect that to continue throughout the second half of 2021 and the years to come.
However, that also means that the market is getting more saturated every minute and many developers find it difficult to stand out. If you need any help with user acquisition and advertising, make sure to reach out – it’s what we do best!
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