According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, Japan accounted for 22% of all mobile game spending globally during the first three quarters of 2020. It is worth noting that it was the top country worldwide in terms of mobile game revenue from 2014 to 2018.
During that period, Japan’s market share of global revenue from the App Store and Play Store ranged between 26% and 30%. On the other hand, the US held a market share ranging between 23% and 27% during the same period.
However, in 2019, Japan’s share dropped to 23% from 26% in the previous year. At the same time, the US went from a 24% share in 2018 to 26%, taking the top spot.
Within the first nine months of 2020, the US was once again in the lead with a 28% share. China, which had a 20% share in 2019 has dropped to 18% during that period and took the third spot. Notably though, the data for China’s mobile game revenue is drawn solely from the Apple App Store. It does not include revenue obtained from third-party Android stores in the country.
Japanese Publishers Make Up 25% of the Top 20 Revenue Generating Game Publishers Worldwide
Japanese publishers have been playing a dominant role in the two app stores in terms of player spending. Over the five-year period spanning from January 1, 2016 to September 30, 2020, eight of the top 10 mobile games when it comes to revenue generation in Japan came from Japanese publishers. Seven of the said games accumulated revenues surpassing $1 billion in that duration.
Globally, two of the top 10 publishers in terms of revenue generation in the first nine months of 2020 came from Japan. Bandai Namco was the first of the two, with $1.5 billion in revenue, while Square Enix generated $1.2 billion.
Sony, Konami and Mixi were other Japanese giants featuring among the top 20 grossers globally. As such, Japanese publishers accounted for 25% of the top 20 grossers worldwide among mobile game publishers.
The Japanese market holds a special spot in the history of the gaming industry. Apart from Sony, it is also home to leading console platforms Nintendo and SEGA. World-renowned franchises like Mario, Pokemon, Resident Evil and Final Fantasy have their roots in Japan.
Moreover, Japan is also home to plenty of billion-dollar mobile games. For instance, Puzzle & Dragons was one of the first billion-dollar games in the world under the free-to-play mobile games category. Others include Monster Strike, Dragon Ball Z: Dokan Battle and Disney Tsum Tsum.
Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike are among the highest grossing of these billion-dollar titles. From January 2014 to September 30, 2020, the two generated a cumulative $13.7 billion.
Japan’s Mobile Games Revenue to Grow by 4.9% to $6.85 Billion in 2020
In the overseas market, revenue from the top 10 highest grossing Japanese games crossed the $1 billion mark in 2019 for the first time. Compared to 2018, player spending grew by 3% year-over-year (YoY) for these games. This resulted in a $25 million increase in international revenue, accounting for 2.1% of global mobile games revenue.
For the first three quarters of 2020, total revenue from the top 10 Japanese games in the overseas market is $814.5 million. That represents 1.7% of global mobile game revenue outside Japan.
Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle led Japan’s international growth in 2019 generating $273.6 million outside the Japanese market. Fate/Grand Order was second with $273.3 million.
China is taking the limelight when it comes to game revenue generation courtesy of titles like Tencent’s PUBG Mobile. According to a Sensor Tower report, the game was the top grossing title during the first six months of 2020, raking in over $1.3 billion in revenue.
According to data published by Statista, mobile game revenue in Japan is expected to reach $6.85 billion in 2020. It would translate to a growth rate of 4.9% YoY. The number of gamers in the country is projected to reach 34.4 million, growing 5.9% YoY.
Between 2020 and 2025, revenue growth is expected to slow down to a CAGR of -0.7%. That would lead to a projected revenue of $6.60 billion by 2025.
Meanwhile, Statista estimates that the US, which is the leading country globally, will have a revenue of $10.73 billion in 2020, an increase of 7.6% YoY. The number of US gamers will grow 8.0% YoY to 147.1 million.
The US market will maintain a 1.1% CAGR between 2020 and 2025. By 2025, its mobile games will generate $11.353 billion.