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RPGs account for 60% of Korea’s mobile game sales

MMORPG's proved particularly successful, while squad-based RPGs showed strong growth
RPGs account for 60% of Korea’s mobile game sales
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Oct 10, 2023 report Shift Up

RPGs have been identified as Korea’s most popular genre of game, accounting for 60% of the country’s mobile game sales, leading among major countries, according to Sensor Tower data.

MMMORPG’s are identified as the most popular RPG subgenre in South Korea, accounting for 69.5% of sales in 2023. While the genre has consistently held its position as South Korea’s highest grossing subgenre of RPG, this represents a 9.6% decline from 77% in 2019.

Squad RPG’s, such as Goddess of Victory: Nikke and Cookie Run: Kingdom saw a 39% increase in market share between 2019 and 2023, rising from 12.7% to 17.7% over this period, being the second highest grossing subgenre of RPG in the country.

Idle games also saw significant growth over the same period, increasing 159% from 1.7% in 2019 to 4.4% in 2023.

Critical Hit

Goddess of Victory: Nikke is identified as the country’s most popular squad RPG game from January first to August 31 2023. The game proved so successful that it reached the number 10 spot in the country’s overall RPG charts, being one of only two non MMORPG titles, alongside the smash hit Honkai: Star Rail, to reach the top 10.

Squad games’ focus on forming teams of synergistic characters has seen more and more games within the genre introduce character collection as a meta feature, with new character releases and character-based events helping to drive sales within the genre. For example, Goddess of Victory: Nikke saw a 372% increase in daily sales on January 1, following the release of the character Modernia. Similarly, Cookie Run: Kingdom saw a 148% boom on March 9 following the launch of new cookies Stardust and Alien Donut.

Legend of Slime: Idle RPG ranked first in terms of idle RPG sales, generating $77 million in revenue worldwide and $10 million in South Korea alone from its release in August 2022. However, the game topped out at number 36 in the overall charts.

Legend of Slime’s popularity is attributed to several factors including an effective advertising strategy, a unique storyline, and a low entry barrier, easing the onboarding process. The game ranked first in terms of ad share on ironSource, second on TikTok, and seventh on Unity in January 2023.

Another strong contender in the idle RPG market is Five Minutes to Battle, which was released on July 28, 2023. Between its release and the end of August the game reached fourth place in the idle RPG’s year-to-date sales charts, reaching number 65 in the overall RPG charts.

We listed Goddess of Victory: Nikke developer Shift Up as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.