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RPGs have the most loyal fans, but how do different genres drive monetisation?

Mistplay’s 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report assesses which genres and models are working best
RPGs have the most loyal fans, but how do different genres drive monetisation?
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Oct 30, 2023 report Mistplay RPGs have most loyal fans
  • The 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report is built from an analysis of more than 500 mobile games and millions of players.
  • RPGs have the most loyal fans overall, but in terms of pure retention rates, puzzle games are king.
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Mistplay has released a new report on loyalty in the mobile gaming sphere, highlighting the elements that keep players engaged and loyal to mobile games in 2023’s competitive landscape.

Of the 13 genres explored, Mistplay discovered that RPGs have the most loyal playerbase, scoring 75 out of 100 on its Loyalty Index. Strategy games followed with a score of 70, while the simulation genre placed third with a 67 rating.

Gaining loyalty

The 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report is built from an analysis of more than 500 mobile games and millions of players across Mistplay’s platform. Through the analysis, a Loyalty Index was made to quantify how loyal players are to different genres, how responsive they are to advertisements and how much they’re willing to spend.

In terms of pure retention rates, puzzle games are king in 2023, coming out on top for day 30 retention but in the lower half of overall rankings. Shooters and sports games had the lowest overall loyalty ratings with scores of only 40 each.

Square in the middle right now (ranking seventh) is the geolocation genre, which Sensor Tower recently revealed is reaching new potential in Japan.

Mistplay’s report reveals that one of the greatest motivators for continued play is new and enjoyable content being released, though it presents a gamble for developers, as 39% would uninstall if a game’s update is poorly received and not improved promptly. The single biggest motivator among players is a desire to keep progressing, and roughly half will carry on playing if they’ve invested enough time that they’re reluctant to abandon progress.

"Player loyalty is perhaps the single most important element for mobile publishers to focus on as the industry continues to evolve," said Mistplay CEO Jason Heller. "It's the lifeblood of strong LTV and long term enterprise value for gaming publishers. Loyalty can be a challenge to measure by just a single metric, and its complexities must be carefully considered within the context of each game.

"It’s no secret that acquiring users has become more difficult and expensive year over year, and maximising retention and LTV of existing users has become even more essential to drive growth of every mobile game."

Mistplay’s findings suggest that loyalty "begins from the very first ad impression", and the accuracy of an advert is crucial; if it shows actual gameplay footage, over 70% of potential fans are more likely to engage and download the game.

Monetised by genre

RPGs accounted for 31% of in-app purchases in 2022 and have the most loyal fans in 2023, but it’s lifestyle games that have players jumping in the most times per day. The latter also drives monetisation, coming first for share of spenders and third for repeated purchases - working on a model that pulls players back in rather than relying on one long play session.

Players spending on RPGs meanwhile don’t make up so great a share, but do tend to make more high-value purchases, "giant leaps" ahead of most other genres. Mistplay suggests this is because of the long-term objectives often seen in RPGs that require hours of time - or currency - to progress through.

In the strategy genre, repeat purchases are prevalent as models tend to encourage buying gifts that benefit a team - creating a community-based incentive to spend. There are also customisation systems, upgrade trees and more encouraging regular spending.

Interestingly, high-value spenders are distinct in their play habits and motivations. Those who spend more than $100 on a mobile game are also 28% more likely to play eight or more games every week and 55% more likely to spend to keep up with other players. This suggests that tapping into competitive elements works to a game maker’s advantage when monetising willing spenders.

"When studies show that as little as 2% of a mobile game’s player base can generate up to 95% of its IAP revenue, ensuring that you’re developing player habits and fostering loyalty is crucial to maximising sustainable long-term success," Mistplay added.

The full report explores a breadth of other topics from in-game advertising to publisher loyalty.