Unity Report: More players are turning to mobile, but paying less

The median game saw an 8% increase in daily active users worldwide in 2022

Unity Report: More players are turning to mobile, but paying less

More players are turning to mobile than ever before, with the median game seeing an 8% rise in global daily active users in 2022 compared to 2021.

Unity’s new 2023 Unity Gaming Report notes an 8% decrease in average transaction value in the 50th percentile worldwide, while the 75th percentile saw a 10% decrease and the 90th percentile saw a 17% fall.

Interestingly, while the average number of transactions also fell across all three percentiles, there seems to be a reverse correlation. On average, the 50th percentile saw an 11% fall in number of transactions, while the 75th percentile saw a decline of 10% and transactions in the 90th percentile fell 6%.

The percentage of daily active users watching ads showed more mixed results, falling 2% for the 50th percentile and 5% for the 75th, while rising 7% for the 90th.

Taken together, this data suggests that while more people are turning to mobile, these players are less inclined to spend money on mobile gaming than in previous years, with a preference for watching ads to earn any bonuses.

More attention for mobile

More and more studios are developing mobile titles, with large studios seeing a 44% increase in mobile game development. Unity attributes this to the increasing power of smartphone hardware which is making it easier for mobile developers to live up to the expectations of players looking for AAA-quality mobile titles.

The report also highlights the growing ubiquity of mobile phones, as well as the markets increasing familiarity with the shorter core loops of mobile, allowing them to bring already successful IPs to phones.

Only one category of studio saw a decrease in mobile development in 2022, midsized studios, which decreased around 1%.

2022 also saw large studios continue an ongoing trend of bringing their games to multiple platforms. The year saw large studios creating more than eight thousand multiplatform titles, helping to bring their titles to the attention of a wider player base while capitalising on the financial benefits of bringing already successful content to new platforms, which requires less investment than than creating new content for an existing audience.

Multiplatform games also benefit players who can access their favourite games on their platforms of choice. The report also highlights the potential benefits of multiplatform development for multiplayer games, as allowing cross-play can help create a larger and more stable user base for matchmaking.

Under 50% of desktop games with multiplatform functionality are also developing mobile versions, compared to under 40% of console games and under 30% of browser game. 20% of VR games are working on mobile releases, and around 19% of social network based games are doing so.

In contrast, mobile developers seem less concerned with attracting players on other platforms. Around 41% of mobile games seeking expansion to other platforms are making a move towards browser games, while 39% are targeting desktop audiences and 30% are working on console releases. Less than 5% of mobile game developers are targeting VR audiences.

For more from Unity, and commentary on the report, take a look at our accompanying interview with Unity's senior vice president and general manager Marc Whitten here.

We listed Unity as one of the top 50 mobile games of 2022.


Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.