Korea shoots and scores with huge surge in soccer-themed mobile game sales

Despite the FIFA rebranding, EA FC Mobile continues to dominate the soccer-themed mobile games market

Korea shoots and scores with huge surge in soccer-themed mobile game sales

In a game-changing trend, soccer-themed mobile games are experiencing an impressive rise in sales within the Korean market, with notable contributions from FC Mobile and EA Sports FC Online M.

FC Mobile has now surpassed its counterpart EA Sports FC Online M in 2023, claiming the top spot in soccer-themed mobile game sales.

According to data from market research company Sensor Tower this surge is not just a short-term success; it reflects a sustained growth trajectory, with combined sales of the two games accounting for an impressive 92% of total soccer-themed mobile game sales in 2023. This year, soccer titles also secured the fourth position in sales among all mobile game themes, constituting 4.4% of total mobile sales and reaching its highest ranking in the last five years.

Unaffected by FIFA rebranding

While there were speculations that the rebranding from FIFA to EA FC would negatively affect the brand, Sensor Tower's data shows that the marketing and rebranding strategies also played a key role in the success of FC Mobile. Despite the rebranding from FIFA Mobile to FC Mobile in September, the game continues to maintain a strong presence in search results for the term ‘FIFA' and attracting existing FIFA series fans.

The licensing agreement change did not hinder the game's popularity; instead, it solidified FC Mobile as a top mobile soccer game within the FIFA IP.

Strategic updates and events linked to real soccer games further boosted player engagement and profits. Noteworthy instances include the coupon event held in conjunction with the U-20 World Cup and international friendly game in March 2023, which according to Sensor Tower, led to FC Mobile achieving its highest monthly sales in the Korean market at approximately $10 million.

Cumulative sales and market contribution

The game's success extends across the globe with EA Sports FC Online M achieving cumulative sales of $440 million worldwide, with the Korean market contributing the most at 91.7%. Meanwhile FC Mobile reached cumulative global sales of $1.3 billion, solidifying its position as a major player in the mobile gaming industry.

The significance of the Korean market is further highlighted by its emergence as the country with the second-highest proportion of FC Mobile's cumulative sales at 15.9%. China leads with 24.7%, while the Korean market surpasses the US market at 15.1%. This underscores Korea's role as a major revenue generator for mobile games based on the FIFA IP, with FC Mobile sales in Korea exceeding $94 million this year, surpassing both the Chinese iOS and US markets.

Diversity in play

The popularity of FC Mobile and EA Sports FC Online M can be attributed to several factors, starting with the integration of sports and simulation elements and years spent honing the gameplay while under its FIFA guise. FC Mobile also stands out with 46% female player percentage, surpassing other popular mobile soccer games.

The success of FC Mobile and EA Sports FC Online M in the Korean market reflects the growing importance of diverse voices, engaging gameplay, and strategic marketing in the mobile gaming industry. As the soccer-themed mobile game genre continues to thrive, these games set a benchmark for inclusivity, captivating a broad audience and contributing significantly to the overall success of the gaming ecosystem. 

Staff Writer

Isa Muhammad is a B2B writer and video games journalist with 5+ years experience covering games, interviewing industry professionals, tracking industry trends and understanding the market.