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RPGs, puzzles, idle games… Who's on top as 2023’s biggest mobile genre?

Mobile has a clear winner but top revenue earners vary greatly across mobile, PC and console platforms
RPGs, puzzles, idle games… Who's on top as 2023’s biggest mobile genre?
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According to market data specialist Newzoo, the biggest revenue-generating genre on mobile in 2023 thus far has been role-playing games. The popular genre is then followed by puzzle, adventure, strategy and idle games.

Interestingly, the broad topic of 'adventure' has proven to be the most consistent of the genres across platforms, being the only gaming classification to feature in the top three on mobile, PC and console.

Role-playing games, meanwhile, top the mobile list but only come fifth on console, increasingly demonstrating that the platforms people play on determine what they play. Then, with even greater disparity is the puzzle genre, finding its home on mobile but not appearing anywhere in the top five on PC or console.

Just last week, Zynga revealed a new mobile RPG puzzle game utilising the Game of Thrones IP.

Markets and players

The top mobile markets - China, Japan and South Korea - are largely responsible for the success of role-playing games on mobile, which have so far accounted for 23% of all 2023 mobile revenues. Among the RPGs out of China, Honkai: Star Rail puts this into practice as a new RPG with the greatest consumer spend in Japan and its home country.

However, even after a big year for RPGs with Honkai: Star Rail and the continued success of Genshin Impact - dethroned only by miHoYo’s own newcomer - role-playing revenue is set for a 1.6% YoY decline. Newzoo suggests this is a result of user acquisition difficulties in part, citing challenges arising from Apple privacy changes that echo throughout the mobile market.

The strategy genre is expected to suffer this year too, remaining in the top five mobile revenue generators but still falling in overall revenue year-on-year. RPGs and strategy games in particular are suffering from Apple’s changes - moreso than the puzzle genre - because of their reliance on a small-but-monetised player base.

"Games are everywhere, and the market is growing. This year’s packed release schedule across every platform and impressive slate of successful media drawing from game IP support this claim (and bolster our excitement at where the market’s headed)," Newzoo blogged.

Thanks to the success of its RPGs, we crowned miHoYo at the top of our Top 50 Game Makers 2023 list.