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Mobile gamers are one of the biggest audiences in the industry, and understanding them is key for lots of game developers and publishers. At GamesBeat Summit 2022, Lexi Sydow, head of market insights at Data.ai (formerly App Annie) gave a talk called “The State of Mobile Gaming” and the recent trends on the platform.
One of the highlights Sydow mentioned is that mobile gamers enjoy a more diverse selection of games. While old favorites like Candy Crush Saga still reign, new games such as Genshin Impact are making waves as well. Mobile gamers are more willing to try different genres and styles of gameplay, and the mobile trends match those interests.
Mobile gaming genres and who plays them
“We are seeing strong expansions in the types of gamers and types of games they’re playing… We’re seeing lots of interesting areas emerge, new genres,” said Sydow. She said that it’s a mix of both established favorites and new hits. In particular, she noted Subway Surfers, which was the second-most downloaded game in Q1 2022. “They are about to hit 2 billion downloads lifetime, which would make them the most downloaded mobile game ever. We see that there are still some games doing very and have been doing well for a very long time. Subway Surfers is definitely one of them.”
Sydow also noted that several of the top games in the U.S. — sis out the top ten, specifically — had an audience that skewed female. These included Roblox, Homescapes, and Candy Crush Saga. “Oftentimes people think of gamers as skewing much more male, which can be true… but on mobile, what was really interesting, is that we actually saw in February: Of the top 10 games in the U.S. by spend, six of them skewed female. That’s really impressive to see.”
Certain demographics did favor certain kinds of games over others. “You see matching and word puzzles games skewing a bit more towards the older demographic base. But we do see that it’s not just young gamers, and, as we saw before, it’s not just male. It’s cross-demographic and they’re growing very quickly.”
The impact of IDFA
In addition to general trends, Sydow also commented on Apple’s move to oust IDFA — supposedly in a bid for consumer privacy. She said this didn’t have as much of an impact as you might think on mobile gaming advertisements. In fact, they brought in more money than ever.
“We saw $295 billion spent on mobile in 2021, which is 23% growth YoY, and it’s poised to reach $350 billion globally this year,” said Sydow. “That includes branding ads vs. in-app install ads, so sort of the whole ecosystem. We really didn’t see an impact there from IDFA in terms of total placements. I think you’ll see a little bit more on the individual basis how ads are performing. But there’s still really strong demand to place them to capture some of that mobile attention.”
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