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As RPGs and casual genres drastically decline, Monopoly Go! gives casino a 34% revenue surge

Sensor Tower and data.ai’s latest report reveals a 24% revenue decline for RPGs in Japan
As RPGs and casual genres drastically decline, Monopoly Go! gives casino a 34% revenue surge
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Jun 6, 2024 report data.ai Sensor Tower $4.6 billion Q1 RPG earnings
  • Sensor Tower and data.ai’s latest report reveals a decline in casual game downloads
  • The report reveals Monopoly Go! boosted the casino genre's Q1 revenue by 34% on its own

While casual genres remain on top for mobile game downloads, Sensor Tower and data.ai’s latest report reveals an ongoing decline in casual games and a contraction in hypercasual too. In fact, arcade, simulation, and lifestyle games are falling by more than 10% year-over-year worldwide.

RPGs are declining in revenue but are still the most lucrative genre with $4.6 billion in Q1 2024, but falling from $5.3 billion in the Q1 last year.

These genre-based results (and more) come from the Q1 2024 Mobile Market Overview, a new report combining data and research from Sensor Tower and data.ai.

Download downer

In the first quarter of 2024, the arcade genre saw the most downloads worldwide with 2.2 billion installs, but despite coming out on top by a fair margin, this actually represented a 17% year-on-year decline. The result was worse still in the US, with arcade games slipping by 24%.

Ranking second worldwide at 1.8 billion downloads was the puzzle genre. It fell too, however down by 5% overall, despite 35% growth in Japan.

Simulation games came third worldwide with 1.5 billion installs, meaning a 14% decline from last year.

Ultimately, these top three showcase the dominance that casual games have held over the mobile market for some time, as even through ongoing decline they have remained firmly on the top.

At the same time, they were far from the only genres to fall in Q1 - in fact seven of the top 10 genres saw downloads fall at the start of this year.

Racing, shooter, and strategy games were the three exceptions to the rule, growing by 11%, 9%, and 5% respectively.

The shrinking revenue giants

Consumer spending on mobile RPGs fell in the majority of major markets in the first quarter of 2024, including a 24% drop in Japan, 10% in the US, and 9% in China, contributing to a global fall of 13%. Yet even so, with such a strong lead the genre remained the most lucrative in the world, generating over $4.6 billion from player spending in Q1 alone.

It goes to show how effectively RPGs can monetise their players, considering the genre didn’t make the top 10 for downloads but was far and away the biggest earner of the quarter. This is especially true of players in Japan, who spent $1.4 billion in mobile RPGs in Q1 versus only $355 million in the country’s second-biggest earner, strategy games.

Among the most successful RPGs are HoYoverse’s Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, the latter having celebrated its first anniversary in April this year.

Geolocation games also ranked highly in Japan, landing in the top five with $157 million through ongoing successes like Pokémon Go and the more recent hit Monster Hunter Now. The geolocation genre didn’t make the top 10 worldwide, however.

Instead, strategy games ranked second globally with $4 billion in earnings, while casino came third at $3 billion, overtaking the puzzle genre. The hugely successful casino game Monopoly Go! takes a large share of responsibility for this ranking, boosting the genre's revenue by 34% year-on-year on its own.

Casino’s rise over the puzzle genre came even though the latter grew too - just not as dramatically. The puzzle genre climbed from $2.5 billion to $2.9 billion year-on-year and was the biggest earner in the UK, growing 27% to $139 million. Also in the UK, casino came second, growing 64% to $107 million.

These two genres saw close competition in the US too, with casino on top after growing 48% to $1.7 billion, while puzzle games came second at $1.5 billion.

Worldwide, arcade games missed out on the top five despite having the most downloads. Fifth place instead went to the simulation genre, generating approximately $1.3 billion Q1.

Despite the revenue decline in RPGs and an obvious fall in mobile game downloads, Q1 2024 still succeeded in becoming the first quarter in over two years to surpass $20 billion in revenue.