In 2021, worldwide consumer spending on mobile games reached $116 billion, according to App Annie.
Detailed in the firm’s recent State of Mobile 2022 report, this represents an increase of 15 per cent year-over-year.
Furthermore, the report highlights that mobile games make up the bulk of mobile consumer spending, which reached $170 billion across apps and games in 2021, an increase of 19 per cent year-over-year. The figure exceeded the firm's previous prediction of $135 billion, setting new highs for the mobile industry.
The highest-grossing mobile game genre was 4X strategy, which generated $9.7 billion in consumer spending, a rise of approximately 25.3 per cent year-over-year.
The second-highest earning genre was MMORPG at $8.43 billion, followed by the team battle RPG genre at $8.02 billion.
Industry-leading games such as Roblox and Genshin Impact were big contributors to the increase in spending, as well as recently released games based on popular IP, such as League of Legends: Wild Rift and Harry Potter: Magic Awakened.
Hypercasual drives downloads
Hypercasual games were a key driver for spending, occupying the top spots for worldwide downloads across the different hypercasual subgenres, including action, puzzle, simulation, and .io games. In total, hypercasual games generated over 12 billion downloads.
"Mobile is the Greatest of All Time and the go-to device of the future," said App Annie CEO Theodore Krantz.
"The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category - time spent, downloads and revenue.
"Mobile brings us closer together whether virtual or in person. The future will be based on an immersive entertainment experience you create. You won't watch movies, you'll star in them."
The report also sheds light on audience demographics across different parts of the world. In the US, France, and Japan, female consumers show a preference for match-three titles, such as Candy Crush Saga, whereas male consumers are more likely to play strategy games, such as Clash of Clans.
In line with the increase in consumer spending, over 900 new apps and games generated their first $1 million in 2021, with games publishers making up the majority of first-timers.