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New releases, new modes, and new events: Here's what's new in mobile gaming

A new GameRefinery report analyses the gaming market to identify September's top performers
New releases, new modes, and new events: Here's what's new in mobile gaming
  • Diablo immortal introduced a permanent MOBA side-mode, Alley of Blood.
  • Location-based games proved successful in Japan.
  • Honour of Kings made its debut at the Asian Games.
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GameRefinery has released its latest report, analysing the state of the mobile gaming market in September 2023.

In the USA, Royal Match saw massive success with the mastermind-style Magic Cauldron event, where players could collect elixirs in levels and attempt to guess their correct order, with doing so correctly earning them a variety of rewards.

September also saw Diablo Immortal dive deeper into the world of hybridisation, following its experiments with a battle royale mode in August. Last month saw the game launch its Dark Rebirth Update which introduced a permanent MOBA side-mode, Alley of Blood.

The mode was first introduced through a limited-time event held between September 21 and October 5, and has since been implemented into the games overarching seasonal faction mode, Cycle of Strife, replacing Battlegrounds as the primary PvP mode. Additionally, the game has introduced spectator and rewarded prediction to the game mode, helping to make it more inclusive to all players.

The Dark Rebirth update also brought other additions including a new dungeon, Tristam Cathedral, and new monetisation events. Together, these new features led to a 552% increase in daily revenue for the title, peaking at a three-month high of over $80,000.

State of Survival celebrated its fourth anniversary with HopeFest, a three-phased event complete with a unique battlepass. The event included a host of events, mini-games, and updates, including the Future Tycoon game mode, letting players earn rewards by playing an in-game board game.

The update also added the Apocalypse Survival Guide, a talent tree system which will connect all future event seasons together, incentivising player engagement and allowing for continuous development.

Location, Location, Location

There was a distinct trend in Japan towards location-based games in September, with both new and existing games performing well. Among these, 4X title Nobunaga’s Ambition spent most of the month between the 20 and 50 top grossing spots. Monster Hunter Now, meanwhile, saw a blockbuster launch, consistently ranking as the most downloaded game of the month and within the top five highest earning games.

These titles bring the total of location-based AR games’ within Japan’s top 150 highest-grossing charts charts.

Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis, a mobile game which aims to combine the entire Final Fantasy VII universe into one title, has proven to be a success, hovering between number five and number 40 in the revenue charts. GameRefinery notes a significant spike in daily revenue for the title following the introduction of series villain Sephiroth, due to the fact that new weapons and costumes for him are only available through a premium gacha system.

Goddess of Victory: Nikke saw massive success with a collaboration with another Square Enix property, Neir Automata. The event saw 23 new characters introduced to the game, and resulted in a massive 500% revenue spike on September first.

The king of China’s gaming scene

September saw Honor of Kings make its debt on the stage of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou as part of its new esports program. To celebrate the occasion, Honor of Kings has themed its latest season around the Asian Games, resulting in a 200% daily revenue spike.

The title also launched a limited-time game mode, the Asian Gold Medal match, featuring characters from Arena of Valour. Due to the mode’s competitive nature, players were required to book their places in advance in order to take part.

China also saw an interesting new release by Tencent, which released High Energy Heroes, a variant of the now shutdown Apex Legends. The game ranked as China’s most downloaded title, and the 59th highest grossing.

We listed Tencent and Square Enix as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.