Special Report

The mobile gaming market is on track for a record breaking year

Data.ai delves into the performance of the market throughout the third quarter of 2022

The mobile gaming market is on track for a record breaking year

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.

In 2014, reports emerged that the gaming industry was out-grossing movies and music combined, cementing the potential of video games as a golden goose in the entertainment sector.

A part of this sharp increase in revenue for the already lucrative industry was the growth of mobile gaming, as it evolved from a casual experience to a legitimate sector of gaming in its own right. Projections were made that mobile platforms would take the market to new heights, and data.ai projected earlier this year that the sector would generate 60 percent of the total earned by gaming in 2022. Now, a new report confirms that the projection remains accurate, with mobile gaming set to continue its dominance of the market.

In the third quarter of 2022, gamers spent more than $1.54 billion every week in-game, and downloaded more than 1.1 billion titles. This does represent a slight dip from the same period in 2021, but remains 25 percent above the total for the period prior to the pandemic. This suggests that, whilst the market is normalising following the easing of pandemic restrictions worldwide, many newcomers to gaming have maintained their activity, resulting in increased revenue and downloads despite the fact that previous options for entertainment are, once again, available.

Google Play vs. the App Store

Gaming is much more dominant on Google Play than on the app store. Nearly half of the 30 billion downloads for apps on the Google Play store were for games, compared to just 25 percent on iOS.

Google Play also saw gaming dominate the revenue, generating two thirds of the $11.4 billion generated for the quarter. In contrast, gaming represented just over 50 percent of the $21 billion earned on iOS.

Google Play saw particular success in India and Brazil in terms of downloads, with Iraq, Vietnam, and Bangladesh showing the biggest quarter-on-quarter growth. In terms of player spend the US, Japan and South Korea generated the most revenue, whilst France, Vietnam and Italy saw the largest quarter-on-quarter growth.

The US and China led the way in terms of iOS downloads, with China, Vietnam and France seeing the largest growth since quarter 2. The US and Japan drove iOS the market in terms of revenue, whilst China, Taiwan, and Japan saw significant growth. However, it should be noted that Android devices and Google Play are unavailable in China, and as such iOS devices dominate the market.

Topping the charts

Subway Surfers, Honor of Kings and Roblox continued their domination in their respective categories (Downloads, spend, and monthly active users (MAU)), while the situation in lower slots remained volatile. Stumble Guys proved to be a strong performer this quarter, climbing three spots to number two in the download charts, and entering the MAU charts at number 8.

Diablo Immortal saw massive growth during this period, leaping a whopping 55 spots to enter the consumer spend charts at number seven. The game was first launched at the tail end of quarter two and quickly proved to be a massive success, Topping iPhone’s download charts in 122 markets, and 16 on Google Play. The game also saw similar success in terms of consumer spend, being number one in 27 iPhone markets and 5 Google Play markets. This shows that, whilst gaming remains dominant on Google Play compared to the App Store, the strong revenue potential on iOS shouldn’t be discounted.

Earlier this month, data.ai dived into the mobile market to examine the potential for breakthrough hits across the market’s most successful sub-genres.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.