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Almost half of all mobile games are axed in development and 83% don’t last three years

SuperScale’s new report reveals the vast majority of mobile games are shuttered by their third anniversary
Almost half of all mobile games are axed in development and 83% don’t last three years
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Nov 22, 2023 report SuperScale
  • SuperScale has released its Good Games Don’t Die report after Atomik Research surveyed 500 developers
  • 32% of developers laid off employees this year and 40% have had to outsource development tasks
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London-based mobile games growth strategist SuperScale has released its Good Games Don’t Die report, revealing the results of interviews with 500 game developers in the UK and US.

Among the findings, SuperScale discovered that 43% of mobile games get the axe while still in development, and a huge 83% of those that make it to release proceed to end of services within three years.

A challenging market

Atomik Research carried out the interviews on SuperScale’s behalf, speaking with these hundreds of devs and learning that 78% prefer working on new mobile games than iterating on existing titles. This creates quite the conundrum for developers when 62% of their most profitable titles are supported through LiveOps and the mobile industry’s biggest hitters overall are mostly long-running titles that have been around for years and continue to excel through updates.

This suggests that creating a new game just isn’t as profitable even if it’s what developers want to work on, especially when so many peter out before release.

The report also notes issues like recessionary pressure and the sheer number of developer redundancies this year all contributing to the growing challenge of making a new, successful mobile game. In fact, 32% of the interviewed developers laid off employees this year and 40% have had to outsource development tasks - especially hypercasual and collectable card game studios. Almost 25% of developers have come close to shutting down entirely in 2023.

"These are volatile times for the games industry. Many mobile game developers are finding it hard to remain profitable in the face of challenges such as ATT, heavy competition in a mature mobile market, and macroeconomic conditions like high inflation," said SuperScale founder and CEO Ivan Trancik.

It all paints a rather gloomy picture, though Trancik did add one note of optimism: "The art and business of making games is often borne from a place of indescribable passion, and not always for pure commercial gain. We believe there is an opportunity for the entire games industry to reflect on the incredible gaming content that has already been created, and to take a second look at what can be done to inject new life into them."

SuperScale’s report also reveals current trends, performance measurements and monetisation methods being used by today’s developers.

TIGA's latest report revealed just how significant a skills shortage the UK is experiencing when it comes to finding new talent in gaming.