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Sonic on the big screen boosts mobile games to new heights

data.ai drills down into the impact of the latest Sonic The Hedgehog movie on the franchise’s mobile games

Sonic on the big screen boosts mobile games to new heights

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from PocketGamer.biz and data.ai (formerly App Annie) highlighting trends in the global mobile games sector using data.ai’s Game IQ analytics.

The release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 in movie theatres around the world had quite an impact on the mobile games market, as fans fresh from the cinema reengaged with the speedy hero’s mobile incarnations.

From movie theatres to mobile games

Despite dating all the way back to 1991, Sonic never seems to go out of style. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 has been hailed as the highest-ever grossing movie based upon a videogame, and the success of the movie refocused attention back upon the various Sonic titles available for mobile devices.

For Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, data.ai found a clear correlation between markets where the movie performed well against the top markets by downloads for the game. These were led by Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and France, which were all among the top 10 international markets by gross box office earnings.

Despite the game being five years old, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle was downloaded 4.6 million times in April 2022 – its highest since launch. Between January–March 2022, the average was 1.85 million.

The game enjoyed a huge boost following the release of the movie:

  • A 160 per cent increase in month-over-month downloads
  • Number one breakout game by worldwide downloads in the Runner (Action) category
  • Ranked eighth by downloads and fourth by consumer spend among games in the Runner genre in April 2022
  • Number three breakout game by worldwide consumer spend in the Runner (Action) category
  • A 135 per cent increase in spend for April 2022 Its highest month for revenue since launch
  • Players accessed the game 24 times per day – the highest among top Action(Runner) genre during the period

Capitalising upon the surge in interest, SEGA SAMMY launched an updated version of the title in April ‘22 featuring characters and a track from the movie. It also confirmed a month of Sonic 2 events based around the game, focusing on the film's key characters: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.

Whole catalogue impact

While Sonic Forces: Speed Battle may have picked up the lion’s share of the attention, the halo effect of the movie impacted all of the Sonic games currently on the market, with Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic Dash, and Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom all getting a boost.

This increase in popularity pushed the Sonic intellectual property (IP) up the global charts from number eight in the first quarter of 2022 to the number two position, right behind Talking Tom following the movie release.
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle lifetime figures are now:

  • 94 million lifetime downloads led by Brazil, the US, Mexico, Russia, and Indonesia
  • $13.2 million in consumer spend led by US, UK, France, Germany and Canada

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