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Home Blog Mobile Game & App Insights 2021 Mobile Game Development to New Heights: This Year's First Quarter Mobile Game Consumption Exceeded Last Year by 25%

2021 Mobile Game Development to New Heights: This Year's First Quarter Mobile Game Consumption Exceeded Last Year by 25%

7 days ago

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Data from the Mobile Gaming Market Report 2021 once again shows the dominance of gaming in the mobile app business, especially in terms of revenue.

In 2020, user spending on apps is $143 billion. Of that amount, $100 billion is spent on games. In other words, for every $1 users spend on iOS and Google Play, games account for 70 cents of that.

Games also have the upper hand in downloads, but not by as much. 36% of mobile apps downloaded by users in 2020 will be games, or 80 billion of the 218 billion downloads.

In 2020, users will spend 296 billion hours on mobile games, up 35% from 222 billion hours in 2019.

Mobile game market is divided into two: hardcore games and casual games


There are two distinct categories of games in the mobile game market. One is casual games, most of which are free to download and casah in through advertising. These games are "favored" by a large number of casual players.

The other category is "hardcore" games. These are games that are more likely to have in-app purchases as part of their hardcore gameplay and thus cash in.

They attract a more loyal user base, which typically spends more time playing games.

These differences are clearly reflected in the metrics of the Mobile Games Market Report 2021.

Casual games lead the way in terms of downloads, accounting for 78% of all game downloads, while hardcore games account for 20% and gaming games for 2%.

In contrast, hardcore gamers generate 66% of total revenue. That means that two-thirds of revenue comes from hardcore games, which account for only one-fifth of all downloads.

This compares to 23% of revenue from casual games and 11% of revenue from gaming games.

In addition, hardcore gamers also contribute 55% of mobile game time.

Top 10 global popular mobile game downloads in march 2021


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Sensor Tower store intelligence data shows that Supersonic's "Join Clash 3D" received 27.6 million downloads on the global App Store and Google Play in March, reaching three times the number of downloads in the same month last year, reigning at the top of the global mobile game download chart.

India was the top market for the game, contributing 36.6% of the downloads, followed by Brazil with 7.6%. Please see the chart above for the complete list of the Top 10 most downloaded mobile games worldwide. Note: Downloads are only counted on App Store and Google Play, excluding China and other regional third-party Android markets.

King "Crash Bandicoot: On the Run" ranked No. 2 with nearly 27 million downloads. 25.7% of the downloads were from the U.S., followed by 11.7% from Brazil.

The other three games in the top five were Garena's Free Fire, Zynga's High Heels, and InnerSloth's Among Us, in that order.

Crash Bandicoot, published by King, is one of the latest mobile games to hit the market this year. The game was launched on March 25 and received 27 million downloads at the end of March.

As of April 13, its downloads have exceeded 37 million. Based on the classic console IP adaptation, "Crash Bandicoot" shows a strong appeal in the mobile terminal.

Among Us" mobile terminal recorded 82.8 million downloads in September last year. In the past six months, it still received 15.2 million downloads in the current period, despite its new additions having fallen back.

With the launch of the game's new map Airship in March and the recent Jimmy Fallon live stream on the Twitch platform, this 2020 firestarter remains one of the most popular games.

User spending in gaming activities more than doubles to $53 billion


Freemium model is the mainstream mobile game cashing model. That is to say, most games can be downloaded for free and cash out through in-app ads or in-app purchases.

One of the most common forms of in-app purchases is in-game activities. Usually, in-game events present new content or challenges.

They may be periodic or may appear at specific times. Some events offer rewards that allow players to gain a gameplay advantage or access to higher levels.

Our report shows that in-game activities are the main driver of average revenue per user (ARPU) growth for games in 2020. Other major real estate models are customization (e.g., custom characters) and leaderboards.

Breakthrough hit casual games in 2020: Among Us


Without a doubt, the standout game of 2020 is Among Us - the #1 downloaded casual game in 2020 and #3 in average monthly active users.


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Among Us had a very fortuitous, barely-there success, released in 2018 by independent studio InnerSloth, which didn't attract much attention at the time.

The game's main mission is aboard a spaceship where the crew must find impostors before they are wiped out.

Among Us was initially mediocre until July 2020, when a well-known internet personality on the gaming TV channel Twitch started playing the game. This made the game an overnight success.

According to our research, by October 2020, the app had about 295 million monthly active users.

As a result, Among Us dominated the "breakthrough" games list in 2020. In terms of downloads, the game ranked #1 in Argentina, Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Australia, South Korea and the U.K. in terms of year-over-year download growth.

Hardcore games


Pokemon GO had a good year, coming in second on the list of user spending for hardcore games. Given that playing the game usually requires getting around outdoors, this was not an easy achievement in a year when home segregation was enforced around the world. 

Of course, U.S. developer Niantic was quick to introduce a way to collect Pokemon without having to travel.

Mobile games’ spending in Q1 this year exceeded last year by 25%


According to a new report released by market analyst Sensor Tower, consumers spent $22.2 billion on mobile games in the first quarter of this year, a whopping 25 percent more than the same period last year.

Most of the growth came from Google Play, which saw a 31 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2020, reaching $9.2 billion.

Apple's App Store was not far behind, although not as high as Google's, at 21 percent year-over-year, but totaling $13 billion. According to the report, spending grew in all game categories because of the epidemic, and handheld games were no exception.

Home to avoid the pandemic caused the growth of the entire game industry


Craig Chapple, an analyst at Sensor Tower, told GamesBeat, "The global epidemic coupled with home shelters are clearly having a significant impact on the handheld gaming industry, increasing both revenue and downloads in 2020.

We predict that player spending and downloads will continue to climb in 2021, meaning that this will be a lasting positive for the industry.

However, while player spending is expected to increase in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter of 2020, downloads are likely to decline in the current quarter due to the high number of downloads last year. Downloads are expected to return to growth after the third quarter," he explained.

He explained, "But it's not just the home-based epidemic that's causing growth in the entire game industry. The top publishers have become experts in online operations, providing a lot of new content and activities, and keeping players fresh and sticky is also the reason.

According to a new report released by market analyst Sensor Tower, consumers spent $22.2 billion on mobile games in the first quarter of this year, a whopping 25% more than the same period last year.

Most of the growth came from Google Play, which saw a 31 percent increase to $9.2 billion compared to Q1 2020.

Apple's App Store was not far behind, although not as high as Google's, at 21 percent year-over-year, but totaling $13 billion. According to the report, spending grew in all game categories because of the epidemic, and handheld games were no exception.

Craig Chapple, an analyst at Sensor Tower, told GamesBeat, "The global epidemic coupled with home shelters are clearly having a significant impact on the handheld gaming industry, increasing both revenue and downloads in 2020.

We predict that player spending and downloads will continue to climb in 2021, meaning that this will be a lasting positive for the industry.

However, while player spending is expected to increase in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter of 2020, downloads are likely to decline in the current quarter due to the high number of downloads last year. Downloads are expected to return to growth after the third quarter," he explained.

He explained, "But it's not just the home-based epidemic that's causing growth in the entire game industry. The top publishers have become experts in online operations, providing a lot of new content and activities, and keeping the players fresh and sticky is also the reason.

The number of handheld game downloads had 14 billion in the first quarter, also reaching a 5% increase for the first time.

The top download chart winner was Supersonic Studios' Join and Clash 3D, followed by the werewolf game Among Us, and the puzzle-breaking game DOP 2.

Craig Chapple said, "Over the past few years, we've been seeing consumers turn to smartphones for all aspects of life, from entertainment to shopping and health.




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