Mobile Game Market in 2022

What does the mobile game market look like in 2022? What are the key trends you should pay attention to?

To find the answers to these questions, don’t rely on guesswork and assumptions.

Instead, rely on data.

We’ve gathered some of the most interesting market data provided by data.ai (formerly App Annie) to arrange this unit of 2022’s highlights. All the numbers in the article come from their latest Gaming Spotlight report and Market Pulse Index.

On top of these numbers, we’ve added some of our own insights and observations.

Let’s get started.

The Mobile Game Market is on A Constant Rise

Mobile Game Market 2022 increase
Worldwide consumer spending on games by device group. Source: Data.ai

It’s no secret that the mobile game market has been booming for years already. After the pandemic surge, there were predictions that the growth trend would slow down. However, this didn’t happen.

It’s 2022 and the mobile game market is continuing its rapid growth.

Here come the numbers that prove it.

In 2022, the mobile game market is projected to reach $ 136 billion. This is quite an increase from $ 120 billion in 2021 and $ 100 billion in 2020.

At the same time, the gaming industry as a whole is expected to surpass $ 222 billion in 2022.

This makes it more than clear – mobile is the driving force in gaming, with an approximate 60% market share. Mobile gaming is 3.4x bigger than console gaming (its strongest competitor), which stands at “only” 42 billion in consumer spending.

Okay, so what is it about mobile that makes it so superior?

One of its main strengths is the affordability of mobile gaming devices. Another big factor is how versatile mobile gaming is. All the different mobile game genres and subgenres make mobile gaming enjoyable for very different people.

Mobile Games Consumer Spend

mobile apps consumer spend app stores
Worldwide app consumer spend by store in Q2 2022. Source: Data.ai

Mobile games aren’t dominating the gaming industry only. They are also leading the way in the app industry.

In 2022, mobile games are expected to contribute to:

  • 72% of consumer spend in the Google Play store
  • 62% of consumer spend in the iOS App Store
  • 65% of consumer spend in both app stores combined

Let’s put this into the language we all understand best – the language of money.

dollars and cents

For every $ 1 spent in the app stores, 65 cents is spent on mobile games.

Leading Markets in Mobile Games Consumer Spend

The biggest contributors to mobile game consumer spend in the app stores in 2022 are the US, China (just iOS), and Japan.

Regionally, the fastest-growing region in consumer spend is APAC (Asia Pacific). Here, we can see impressive growth in iOS consumer spend, which is driven by markets like China, Japan, and Taiwan.

On Google Play, the main drivers of consumer spend are the US, Japan, and South Korea.

Traditionally, iOS users are bigger spenders than Google Play users, and this is continuing to be true. In Q2 2022, the iOS spend hit 13.3 billion, while Google Play is expected to reach $ 8.2 billion.

Geopolitical Situation Affects the Mobile Game Market in Eastern Europe

In 2021, Russia was the world’s 11th biggest mobile game market by consumer spend.

Therefore, when both app stores decided to freeze payment processing in this country, this affected consumer spend in Eastern Europe. In April 2022, Russia’s share of game consumer spend in Eastern Europe dropped from 50% to 10%.

This has had a more significant impact on Google Play than on the App Store. The thing is, 68% of total consumer spending in Russia used to come from Google Play.

Fastest Growing Subgenres by Consumer Spend in Q2 2022

Fastest Growing mobile game Subgenres by Consumer Spend
Top five subgenres by quarter-over-quarter growth in consumer spend in Q2 2022. Source: Data.ai

Mobile game market trends change rapidly. What’s trending one year can become old news the next year already.

For this reason, it’s good to analyze trends in shorter time periods. For example, quarters.

Looking into quarter-over-quarter consumer spend trends, we can single out five subgenres that dominate the mobile game market:

  1. MMORPG (up 20% from Q1 2022)
  2. MOBA (up 55% from Q1 2022)
  3. 4X March Battle (up 15% from Q1 2022)
  4. Battle Royale (up 10% from Q1 2022)
  5. Action RPG (up 30% from Q1 2022)

As you can see, the two leading positions are taken by multiplayer games. Obviously, multiplayer features give players strong motivation to spend money on games.

Why is that?

Both MMORPG and MOBA are genres where cooperation and competition between players are the main focus of the gameplay. This creates an environment where users become more committed to spending time and money.

Gen Z – The Most Lucrative Gaming Audience

gen z mobile game market consumer spend
Share of Gen Z-oriented games among top 1000 games by consumer spend. Source: Data.ai

The data from all the major markets shows that Gen Z gamers are the biggest spenders among the big age groups.

For this reason, developers are making more and more games tailored specifically for them.

Among the top 1000 top games by consumer spend, more than a half leaned towards Gen Z. Precisely, 60% of games in Japan and France, 55% in South Korea, 54% in the UK and Germany, and 47% in the US.

This probably left you wondering – what kinds of games does Gen Z spend money on?

Some of their favorite games in 2021 were ROBLOX, State of Survival, Cookie Run: Kingdom, Brawl Stars, etc.

As you can see, there is no particular pattern here. There’s Roblox, a virtual universe, two strategy games, and a multimedia franchise simulation game. This generation enjoys different types of games but craves unique and relatable features.

The +45 Age Group Grows in Consumer Spend

baby boomers generation x consumer spend
Share of Gen X / Baby Boomers-oriented games among top 1000 games by consumer spend. Source: Data.ai

The US is a mobile game market where trends are born. For this reason, it is frequently quite different from the other regions.

In this market, it is noticeable that older users are starting to spend more on games. More precisely, Gen X and Baby Boomers.

For this reason, the share of top games by consumer spend geared towards these generations grew to 25% in 2021. This is increasing yearly, making them the fastest-growing category of spenders in the US!

The elderly folks are mainly into match-3 titles . This includes games like Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, and Toon Blast.

Mobile Game Market in Q2 2022: Top Games

Mobile Game Market in Q2 2022: Top Games
Top games worldwide in Q2 2022. Source: Data.ai

Let’s review the chart-topping games in Q2 2022 by downloads, consumer spend, and monthly active users.

Hyper-Casual and Casual Games Lead in Downloads

The top five games in Q2 2022 by downloads were:

  1. Subway Surfers (Casual)
  2. Free Fire (Action)
  3. Ludo King (Board)
  4. Bridge Race (Hyper-casual)
  5. Candy Crush Saga (Match-3 Puzzle)

It’s not surprising to see games from the casual genre dominating the downloads category. It’s also not surprising that most of the titles on the list are games that have been on the market for years.

Subway Surfers is a game that has been on the # 1 spot in this category for a while now. However, in this quarter, it reached a significant milestone. In April 2022,  Subway Surfers hit 2 billion downloads and became the most downloaded mobile game in history. Just a reminder – this game was released back in 2012!

On the other hand, the newest game on the list is Bridge Race. This multiplayer hyper-casual game was released in February 2021, and it remained a hit ever since, which is a big success for a game in this subgenre.

Besides the game itself, a big factor in download numbers is a proper UA strategy. If you’re looking to boost downloads for your game, make sure to use the right ad networks.

To find out which ad networks dominate the market, you can check out AppsFlyer’s Performance Index. In its latest edition, MyAppFree ranked as the world’s 6th fastest-growing mobile ad network.

Mid And Hardcore Games Dominate Consumer Spend

The top five games in Q2 2022 by consumer spend were:

  1. Honor of Kings (MOBA)
  2. Genshin Impact (Action RPG)
  3. Game For Peace (Battle Royale)
  4. Three Kingdoms Tactics (Strategy)
  5. Fantasy Westward Journey (MMORPG)

As you can see, all the games on the list are made for mid and hardcore gamers. These users are known to be highly engaged and big spenders.

After reaching a record of $ 530 million in consumer spend in Q1 2022, Genshin Impact has lost the 1st position to Honor of Kings. These games have been on top for a while, and just switched positions.

The biggest surprise on this list is Fantasy Westward Journey. This game has climbed 13 positions since Q1 2022. As we mentioned earlier, MMORPG games are the fastest-growing subgenre by consumer spend, and this proves it.

No Major Changes in Monthly Active Users

The top five games in Q2 2022 by monthly active users were:

  1. ROBLOX (Creative Sandbox)
  2. Candy Crush Saga (Match-3 Puzzle)
  3. Subway Surfers (Casual)
  4. Free Fire (Action)
  5. Ludo King (Board)

As you can probably tell, this list includes a lot of the same titles as the downloads list . Out of all three lists, this list is the most stable one. While ROBLOX keeps captivating young audiences, Candy Crush Saga, another 10-year-old game, is keeping its influence.

Mobile Game Market: Player Preferences

10 top-grossing mobile, handheld, and PC games by platform in Q2 2022. Source: Data.ai

A peek into the top-grossing charts can tell us a lot about what gamers like in games today.

It’s especially interesting to see how the top-grossing chart on mobile compares to other platforms.

The top 10 chart for mobile games is the most diverse of allit features 8 different subgenres. This tells us that mobile games are able to capture different types of gamers.

Genre-wise, there is nothing that stands out here. However, feature-wise, we can see a pattern. There are two features that appear in many games on this list, so make sure to consider them for your game:

  • PvP (player-versus-player) features
  • Cross-play (accessing the same game on different devices)

These two features have something important in common – they can both greatly improve the multiplayer experience.

PvP features are one of the most common social features found in multiplayer games. They are an exciting form of player interaction and have a great effect on engagement rates.

On the other hand, cross-play has the potential to drastically increase the number of players for the same title. For example, by allowing a group of friends who use different gaming devices to play the same game together.

With multiplayer games becoming more popular, the importance of multiplayer-focused features is increasing too.

Wrapping up on the Mobile Game Market in 2022

Hopefully, this article helped you understand the state and the trends in today’s mobile game market. We will continue analyzing and researching the mobile game market for you, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter! 

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