Home   >   Features

The geographic fault lines of mobile game art style

GameRefinery on which games appeal where
The geographic fault lines of mobile game art style
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

Erno Kiiski is Chief Game Analyst - US at leading mobile game feature data provider GameRefinery.

Game art genres describe the world and the era/age in which the game takes place.

For example, the artistic genre of a game about knights, castles, and catapults set in a realistic world would be Realistic – Historic.

But if there are also wizards, trolls and dragons, the genre would be Fantasy.

First, let’s get an overview of the 200 top grossing games in three key markets; Japan, China and the US.

In the US, the market is dominated by the Realistic – Modern art genre which takes a 43% share of top games, followed by Fantasy and Other art genres.

In comparison, the Fantasy genre dominates the Chinese market with almost half of top grossing games falling into that category.

Japan is almost a mix of the two in terms of art genre popularity, with Realistic – Modern and Fantasy both holding a near even share of the market.

Breaking down game art genres into categories

Let’s now look at art genre stats in terms of our categories to see which art genres are popular in what kinds of games.

Casual is bigger than Mid-Core in the US (in terms of the number of games in the top 200), but Japan and China are dominated by Mid-core games.

Around 40% of Mid-core games in the US and Japan are Fantasy themed, but in China the number is even higher with over 60%.

What about game art styles?

Game art styles describe the visual style of characters, buildings, items, etc. within the game.

Let’s take another look at the top three markets.

The US market is evenly split between Realistic and Cartoon game art styles, but Manga hasn’t been able to attract that much attention.

The Chinese market is more equal in this regard, where the most significant share goes to Realistic with Manga and Cartoon following closely.

In Japan, there’s one clear winner, Manga. It is the art style of choice in 62% of the top 200 games. The last 40% is pretty evenly shared by Realistic and “western” Cartoon styles.

Breaking down game art styles into categories

The Cartoon style dominates the US Casual market with over 71% share, whereas the Realistic style is the most popular in other categories.

In China, Manga and Realistic game art styles are near equally represented in Mid-Core.

But in Casual games, Cartoon and Manga are dominating and Realistic style art is almost non-existent.

In Japan, Manga is easily the most prominent art style in the two biggest categories.

To find out more details about how GameRefinery uses its methodology to create actionable insights, please visit GameRefinery and try the service for free.