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More games are making millions as player spending on 2023 releases soars

The US, UK, China and other markets all show an increased willingness to spend on new releases
More games are making millions as player spending on 2023 releases soars
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Feb 21, 2024 report data.ai New game spend up $7 million
  • data.ai’s latest State of Mobile Gaming report reveals increased momentum in consumer spending on new releases
  • A total of 1,511 apps reached $10 million in revenue last year

While the mobile games industry has been going through some turbulence in recent years, in addition to revealing some downturnsdata.ai’s latest State of Mobile Gaming report also highlights where things are going well and are on track to improve.

A total of seven mobile games reached the $1 billion lifetime earnings milestone in 2023, the second-most in any one year after nine games reached the achievement in 2021. 2023 tied with 2020 in fact - with seven each - and safely beat the pre-pandemic average of four per year since 2017.

And even setting those goliaths aside, 2023 proved the most successful year on record for those mobile apps surpassing $10 million in earnings - a modest sum by comparison, but no mean feat either. 1,511 apps reached $10 million in revenue last year, beating the 2021 record of 1,426 apps.

Of those apps, 924 were mobile games in 2023, just one shy of the 925 recorded in 2021.

This is an impressive achievement considering most regions have returned to pre-pandemic spending levels, if not lower due to economic troubles. Consumers have "become more comfortable spending on mobile", the report suggests, and this has proven especially true in South Korea.

On Apple’s App Store the average South Korean user’s spending has increased year-over-year, up to $7.29 on mobile games every month in 2023. This marks an increase from $6.47 in 2022, $6.33 in 2021 and $4.89 in 2020.

Meanwhile, on Google Play, South Korea has become the biggest market in the world for individual player spending, at $11.38 per month on mobile games. This was a return to form after 2022’s $9.49, which proceeded 2021’s $10.81 and 2020’s $9.86.

New games, new numbers

"Established games continue to lead in revenue, maintaining stability, while consumer spending on new releases gains momentum in key markets," data.ai’s report notes.

This is observable in the US market particularly, where new releases saw far greater support from players in the past year. Comparing 2022 to 2023, the US’s average spending on new releases increased from approximately $8 million to over $15 million, of course helped in large part by the biggest new games Monopoly Go, Whiteout Survival and Honkai: Star Rail.

As for old games going strong, the US spent the most on Candy Crush, Royal Match and Roblox.

Canada followed the same trend in increased spending on new games, up from $0.5 million in 2022 to around $0.75 million in 2023; the UK saw a rise too, from around $0.6 million to $1.2 million. And with something of a return to form for China, its spending on new releases climbed from roughly $6 million to $7.5 million.

While Japan stayed at a consistent $7.5 million across the two years, South Korea’s numbers are once again noteworthy for a stark rise from $4 million to approximately $6.75 million. In fact, South Korean players spent more money on new releases than old ones in 2023.

[img id="125644" caption="South Korea's spending on mobile games in 2023"]

data.ai’s full report also explores which genres proved the most successful in 2023.