In terms of revenue, the category accounts for 4.5 per cent of all mobile games earnings in the US, via the App Store. Furthermore, the sports side accounts for 70 per cent of revenue while driving titles make up the rest.
However, of the top three markets for the sports and driving genre, Japan, the US and China, the former has proven to be the most lucrative. In Q3 2020, Japan generated $80 million in revenue through the category.
There are two types of sports and driving games, realistic and arcade. In the US, with $11.9 million in revenue, compared to $5.3 million, realistic driving has proven more popular. Meanwhile, on the sports front, the country prefers arcade sports, which grossed $21.3 million while realistic sports made $19.7 million.
However, the opposite is true in both Asian countries. In Japan and China, Arcade driving far outweighed the pull of the realistic style. However, realistic sports proved to be considerably more popular in Japan and China as they generated $57.1 million and $24.9 million, respectively.
In the US, there are 22 sports games across its top 500 iOS games, across 10 categories, including wrestling, football, baseball, basketball, American football, tennis and more.
However, in China and Japan, local sports have proven to be popular in digital form. On the Chinese App Store, 22 of the top 500 titles are sports, of which 14 are football. Meanwhile, in Japan, 23 sports games have cracked the top 500, with nine being football and eight being basketball.
Round the track
"Sports and Driving have been subjects of video games as long as the medium has existed," said GameRefinery chief game analyst for the US Erno Kiiski.
"They have always had their audience of fans that want to interact with their favourite sports also in a digital format. Currently this category, however, only generates about 4.5 per cent of revenues on mobile (Q3 2020 US iOS) and its overall share of the market has been on the decline over the past few years.
"The driving genre has especially struggled in the US market recently. Only a handful of games in this genre have been able to find their way to the top. Most top driving games hang around the 250-to-500 grossing ranks on US iOS."
Recently, GameRefinery rolled out automatic tagging for over 100,000 iOS titles.