Mobile games saw a total of 11.2 billion downloads in the second quarter of 2019, mostly from Google Play. This accounts for 35% of all global downloads for mobile apps but a whopping 75% of total consumer expenditures.
Curiously, the difference between downloads on Google Play compared to the Apple Store was significant, with the former responsible for 265% more than the latter. The largest markets for download were the United States, Brazil, and India, where the most popular games were of the Arcade, Action, and Casual genres. China and Japan were also large areas of consumer downloads, though the focus in those countries were Arcade, Action, and Puzzle games.
Meanwhile, Hyper casual games are seeing strong growth in their download numbers, while Role Playing, Strategy, and Action bring in the most revenue. For those who are unfamiliar, "hyper casual" is a relatively new genre that often contains most of the following attributes:
- Mass Market focus in mind, attempting to appeal to all.
- Focus intensive.
- Simple design, often 2D flat design with a simple but alluring color pallet.
- Short game loops that can be played anywhere.
- High replay value through the simplicity of design.
- Numerous ads to help generate revenue.
So, what does this all mean for the future of mobile gaming? Well, as with everything, it depends. Although the data indicates continued growth for downloads, it says nothing of how long players engage with an app once it has been downloaded, what proportion spend any money, or the numbers of users who delete the game soon after acquiring it.
The fact that the majority of revenue also comes from game downloads is also not surprising, since there are both high-quality premium games for mobile devices, as well as many exploitative games that engage in shoddy practices which allow players to pay-to-win or contain often-detested devices like loot box mechanics. These mechanics are a topic of major discussion when it comes to mobile and console gaming, extending to heated debate between lawmakers.
While 11 billion games may seem like a lot, further context and information would be necessary before we can draw any significant conclusions from the report. For now however, it is clear that mobile gaming is a significant draw to consumers, since so much consumer spending goes towards these types of apps.