Data & Research

Genshin Impact bests Pokémon Go as the top-grossing Core RPG

Crunching the data with App Annie

Genshin Impact bests Pokémon Go as the top-grossing Core RPG

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and App Annie highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using App Annie’s Game IQ analytics.

Game IQ enables mobile game developers to dig into the data and discover not only which games are performing best but what characteristics they have.

In this week’s column, we’re considering the top grossing global Core RPGs.

Fast and slow

And what’s immediately obvious is the longevity of many of the titles on the list, but - crucially - not the game in the number 1 position.

Released in Q3 2020, cross-platform Zelda-inspired Genshin Impact may have cost a rumoured $100 million to develop, but it’s already a highly profitable project for Chinese studio miHoYo.

“The game was the also the #1 grossing game among its peer Core RPG genres, which was an impressive achievement for any game, yet alone one with an original IP and open-world Core Action RPG mechanics that often lead to a deeper level of engagement for a more targeted audience,” comments App Annie’s Director of Market Insights, Amir Ghodrati.

“Core games like these monetise well, but it’s very rare to see one at this scale within its first month of launch.”

Whether it can maintain the long-term pace of the other titles on the chart remains to be seen.

Niantic’s Pokémon Go launched with a bang back in 2016 but crucially has managed to grow its revenues year-on-year ever since.

Core games like Genshin Impact monetise well, but it’s very rare to see one at this scale within its first month of launch.

It remains the only example of a successful location-based game; one that managed to overcome 2020’s quarantine restrictions with surprising ease.

Yet gravity does eventually have its impact, so while games such as Puzzle & Dragons (2012) Monster Strike (2013) and Fate/Grand Order (2015) remain on the chart, their annual revenues have now peaked.

Of course, each remains highly profitable, demonstrating the strong retention of such games, especially in their core Japanese domestic market.

There’s a similar dynamic at play in terms of the South Korea and Chinese markets respectively for Lineage M, and Fantasy Westward Journey, although these mobile versions of old PC titles are more contemporary in terms of release date.

And demonstrating that making successful RPGs is a globally-distributed skill, Finnish developed Empires & Puzzles also sneaks into the list at #10.

Game IQ is a vertically tailored analytics product, developed by App Annie, that provides insight into dimensions such as class, genre, subgenre and tags. Games can now be analyzed by broad category class (tuning), genre, subgenre, and tags (modifiers) such as IP, art style, settings, monetization mechanic, and more.

For more information register for a demo here regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.