Data & Research

Which games were played the most in 2023?

The Mobile Gaming Index by Gamelight ranks games and genres by minutes played. If you want to know what gameplay and game design is winning right now, look no further

Which games were played the most in 2023?

User acquisition company Gamelight has shared exclusive data and insights on the state of mobile gaming in 2023. Their Mobile Gaming Index by Gamelight: Most Played Games in 2023 analysis is rather different to what we've seen before in that Gamelight's AI algorithm analyses user behaviour and playing patterns and thus is able to record play time per active user in each gaming vertical and region. Literally 'shining a light' on who's playing what and where.

The result are stats which reveal not which games are simply the most downloaded or are earning the most, but which are keeping their players playing the most (and thereby maximising both joy and potential monetisation opportunities). So if you want to know what gameplay and game design gets players hooked - this is it.

The analysis includes playtime (in minutes) per active user for each gaming vertical, along with Top 10 rankings of the most-played mobile games on Google Play and App Store. Gamelight analysed users in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, and Korea.

Additionally, the findings reveal the average playtime for four distinct categories on iOS and Android: Casual, Mid-Core, Social Casino and Action games.

So let's get stuck in.

2023's most played games

Monopoly GO! is one of the most played games across the United States and Europe, ranking as number one both in the United States and United Kingdom as the game with the highest playtime per active user. However, the game is less popular in Japan and South Korea, not even making the Top 10.

Meanwhile Candy Crush Saga maintains a strong position, showing up in the Top 10 ranking of games with the highest playtime for every single country, being the only title in the report that manages to do so.

SuperPlay’s Dice Dreams also makes it into all countries' rankings except for South Korea, being favoured both by iOS and Android users globally.

Similarly, Royal Match appears high in all country rankings, with one exception being France.

Coin Master is favoured by users located in Europe and the US, while Gardenscapes holds a strong presence in the US, UK and South Korea. Both Clash Royale and Clash of Clans by Supercell also appear on multiple of the rankings.

Leading Genres

Casual titles are dominating Gamelight's rankings being the genre with the highest playtime across all the presented countries, with one exception - the UK’s iOS users. Those users averaged slightly higher on Social Casino instead. The genre has the highest average playtime in Japan by iOS users, landing at 47 minutes with prominent titles in the genre being Coin Master, Candy Crush Saga and Royal Match.

Midcore games see a trend of being by iOS users, with extra popularity in the United States and France. Multiple mid-core titles appear frequently across the rankings, such as Clash of Clans, Dice Dreams, and Genshin Impact. Meanwhile Android users showed a trend across the countries of favouring games of the Action genre. Action has the longest playtime by users located in the United States and the United Kingdom but is the least popular genre overall.

Social Casino has a steady presence across all countries, often ranking second and having similar activity between iOS and Android, indicating a consistent and dedicated user base for this genre. Titles that consistently show up over multiple rankings for Social Casino are Huuuge Casino Slots Vegas 777, Zynga Poker and Slotomania, among others.

The users that accumulated the most playtime were in Japan, showing an average of 45 minutes played. In contrast, France, out of the countries presented, has the lowest average playtime, landing at an approximate average of 32 minutes. Overall, iOS users have an average higher playtime than Android users globally.

Country specific insights

Trends present themselves in multiple countries, showing global similarities between mobile gamers. However, some insights are more tied to a specific country and can help to decipher specific regional trends.

The United Kingdom has a gap between Social Casino playtime between platforms. On iOS, it ranks as the number one most-played genre at 43 minutes. Meanwhile, on Android, it ranks second to last with 31.7 minutes. The United Kingdom's iOS users also show popularity among anime-styled RPG games with both Genshin Impact and Dragon Ball Legends in their leaderboards, which suggests a preference for story-driven mobile game experiences.

The United States users mirror the big trends from over the world of having casual games as their biggest genre and showcasing iOS users having higher overall playtime across genres. Monopoly GO! is the most-played game by Android users and the second most popular on iOS, displaying widespread popularity in the US for the classic board game. Clash of Clans, Roblox and Dice Dreams also appear both on iOS and Android in the US.

German Android users show a lower playtime across all genres compared to iOS. With Android's average being 30 minutes and iOS landing at 40 minutes, sporting one of the largest gaps between Android and iOS from the other countries while supporting the overall global trend.

France's game list showcases one of the most diverse blends of genres, from puzzle titles like Wordscapes to strategic challenges in War Robots and farm simulations like Family Island - Farming Game. You can also find multiple social casino titles and midcore games. This shows that France likes a wide array of mobile games.

Japan showed an interesting trend, having its top four games be the same in different orders across both platforms. These titles are Genshin Impact, Monster Hunter Now, Royal Match, and Monster Strike. Royal Match shows up in the rankings of most countries, and Genshin Impact appears in multiple rankings too. The two other titles, however, are exclusive to Japan, showing their strong popularity in the country.

Korea’s list shows a strong preference for locally adapted or originated titles such as Lineage M, MapleStory M and Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. This indicates a balance between global mobile gaming trends and a strong affinity for games that resonate with Korean culture and preferences.

Key takeaways

So if you want to take away just four things…

• Android users are shown to have a lower average playtime than iOS users across the countries

• The casual mobile genre is dominating the market across the globe

• Monopoly GO!, Candy Crush Saga, Royal Match, Coin Master and Dice Dreams, are the most often recurring titles across the countries, which consistently secure high rankings

• Japan is the country with the highest playtime overall, having the same top four games across both Android and iOS hints at the loyalty of the mobile user base in this country

Want to read the full report? Get your copy here.


Editor -

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest entertainment media brands in the world. He's interviewed countless big names, and covered countless new releases in the fields of videogames, music, movies, tech, gadgets, home improvement, self build, interiors and garden design. Yup, he said garden design… He’s the ex-Editor of PSM2, PSM3, GamesMaster and Future Music, ex-Deputy Editor of The Official PlayStation Magazine and ex-Group Editor-in-Chief of Electronic Musician, Guitarist, Guitar World, Rhythm, Computer Music and more. He hates talking about himself.