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Casual Genre Leads Mobile Gaming Industry with 80% Global Downloads in 2020

Nica San Juan
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According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, casual games held the dominant position in the global mobile gaming market during the first half of 2020. They accounted for 80% of all downloads by the gaming genre.

In stark contrast, core games accounted for 19% of the total while casino games held a mere 1%. This means casual games are four times as popular as the other two categories combined.

Under the casual gaming genre, hyper casual games took the day, accounting for 30% of total downloads. Puzzle games came in second with 15% while arcade games were third with 12%. Simulation games were a close fourth with 11% and racing games took the fifth spot with 3%.

On the other hand, the core games genre was split into action, first-person shooter and racing games. Action games, which include the popular battle royale and MOBA games were dominant in this category with 7%. Shooter games accounted for 4% while racing games took 3%.

According to Game Luster, casual games had a 58.86% market share during the first half of 2020. Puzzle games came in second with a market share of 56.5% while arcade games were third with 55.08%.

Although puzzle games often fall under the casual games genre, the difficulty levels of some puzzle games take them beyond casual. It also highlights the fact that action games are not as popular on mobile as they are on the console.

Similarly, racing games had a relatively low market share of 30.83% as a result of hardware constraints associated with mobile gaming.


Hyper Casual Game Installs Double Globally as China Records 300% Increase in Gaming Sessions

The hyper casual games category is one of the fastest growing in the casual genre. According to research data from Adjust and Unity, hyper casual games had been on an uptrend even before COVID-19 struck. In 2019, it accounted for 78% of the most downloaded new games.  Furthermore, the hyper casual games category recorded a 70% increase in IPM (Installs per Mille) in the same year. The trend carried on into 2020 and ballooned at the height of pandemic-related lockdowns.

During the period between December 2019 and March 2020, the number of hyper casual game installs rose by 103% globally. China took the lead, with installs growing at least 3.5 times during the same period.

With the increase in installs came a remarkable growth in sessions. Once again, China led the pack with a 300% increase. Notably, sessions had exceeded 1 billion globally by December 2019 but in March 2020, they rose by 72% more.

Japan saw an increase of 137% in March compared to December 2019, while Korea grew 152%. Germany, on the other hand, had a 69% increase in mobile gaming sessions.


Consumers Spent $19B on Mobile Games in Q2

Mobile gaming overall is rising to new heights in 2020. According to Newzoo estimate, the industry will be worth at least $77.2 billion in 2020. It would make it worth almost half (48%) of the global gaming revenue, estimated to reach $159.3 billion.

Notably though, mobile gaming is the fastest growing gaming segment, at 13.3% YoY, compared to console’s 6.8% and PC’s 4.8%. This growth rate is also bigger than that of the overall gaming industry, which is set to grow at 9.3% YoY.

Mobile games are, in fact, the most popular app category on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. On the App Store, games account for 21.86% of all available apps according to Statista. On Google’s Play Store, they have a share of 13.56% of all available apps.

Translating that into numbers, games account for at least 800,000 out of 3.3 million apps. Not surprisingly, they account for over 74% of gross spending on Android and iOS devices.

During Q2 2020, App Annie data reveals that there were over 14 billion mobile game downloads. Furthermore, consumer spend on games increased by 65% on the App Store and 85% on the Play Store. In total, consumers spent $19 billion on mobile games during the quarter, 15% higher quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).

However, the popularity of casual and hyper casual games partly stems from the fact that there are no payments to be made. Rather, a majority of the games under the genre are dependent upon ad-based monetization.

It is worth noting too that in-app ads are a significant part of app monetization. According to data from Statista, mobile ad spending is expected to surpass $280 billion by 2022, up from $190 billion in 2019.

Nica San Juan
Nica San Juan

Nica is a BA Political Science graduate, startup founder and financial expert. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and started several startups from a young age, eventually becoming fascinated with stocks, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain economy. She specializes in financial tech and her expertise is in writing detailed tutorials and guides on how to invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies.

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