Betas, events, and releases: How did mobile gaming do in March?

GameRefinery examines the performance of the market over the month

Betas, events, and releases: How did mobile gaming do in March?

March proved to be yet another successful one for the mobile games industry, with a host of events and launches attracting hosts of players, and GameRefinery has broken down the performance of the market over the month.

PUBG Mobile’s fifth anniversary saw the game debut the beta for its new creative mode, giving players the ability to create their own experiences and custom PVP games. However, this creativity comes with a notable caveat - while any players can play the creations, only those who meet the developer’s strict requirements, such as social media clout and map customisation experience, are able to create games, at least so far. Should their creations prove popular, approved creators will unlock more rights, although specifics haven’t been confirmed as yet, and at present, it’s unclear whether all players will eventually be given access to these creative tools.

The month also marked the beta launch of Survivor!.io’s local co-op mode, allowing players using the same router or mobile hotspot to play together, sharing an experience pool while bringing their own unique selection of skills to the table. Players taking part in the beta were rewarded with exclusive decorative items in order to incentivise participation.

Royal Match introduced a new recurring event, Lava Quest, tasking players to beat seven levels in a row with no losses. At every stage, players will see how many of their competitors managed to win, with all those who successfully complete the challenge winning a share of the grand prize.

The global release of Call of Dragons drew immediate praise thanks to its high production values, season-based approach, and impressive characters and narrative, propelling it to the top 20-50 highest grossing games in the American market.

Street Fighter Duel, a new idle RPG based on the hit franchise, also saw success, with the game peaking as the American market’s 25th highest grossing title.

Success in Asia

In China, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened debuted a clothing competition event, with players picking cosmetics to meet with each day’s requirements in the hopes of winning awards, including event currency which could be used to purchase various items. GameRefinery notes that the game’s monetisation strategy has “traditionally focused on a cosmetic economy,” so the focus on monetising customisation in the new event falls in line with the game’s previous approach.

Life Makeover proved to be successful in China, ranking in the top 15 highest grossing titles for the month and topping the download charts. Although the game is currently only available in China, GameRefinery notes that the existence of an official English name “suggests a global release might be around the corner.”

Goddess of Victory: NIKKE had perhaps the month’s most surprising event, the dog-themed Bow Wow Paradise, which propelled the game to the number three spot in Japan’s top-grossing charts. The game has been the subject of significant criticism - and become a global hit - for its sexual imagery, however the new event takes a different approach with a focus on new character, Biscuit.

Biscuit is what GameRefinery calls a “moe-inducing character”, moe being Japanese slang for a character intended to inspire feelings of affection and protectiveness, often due to their innocence. Players are tasked with helping Biscuit find her runaway dogs, and using her as part of the event can help players boost their event currency.

Haikyuu!! TOUCH THE DREAM, based on the popular anime series Haikyuu!! was released on February 28, and immediately proved to be a strong performer in Japan, peaking at number 18 in the country’s highest-grossing charts, averaging within the top 60. This highlights, once again, the potential for leveraging the success of existing IPs in game development.

Last month, Royal Match developer Dream Games opened a new office in London.

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.