Report: Mobile games generated $79.6 in 2020 thanks to COVID-19 (Sensor Tower)

It was a report yr for cellular gaming, and a number of other genres noticed unimaginable progress. Sensor Tower’s Craig Chapple breaks down the highlights.

Final week, analytics group Sensor Tower launched its first cellular recreation taxonomy report, a group of knowledge on final yr’s largest developments within the cellular gaming area. The most important story was the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a marked influence on revenues and customers within the sector. Most notably, the hypercasual style made up 31%–nearly one-third–of all recreation installs in 2020 and grew by an infinite 123%.

The report notes that the hypercasual area has been steadily rising lately, however the coronavirus pandemic has clearly accelerated this development in a giant method. For Craig Chapple, cellular insights strategist at Sensor Tower, COVID-19 has solid a highlight on a style that was already booming.

“These titles are advert revenue-based, so publishers launch massive consumer acquisition campaigns to make sure these titles attain as huge an viewers as attainable, and therefore earn more money,” Chapple instructed GameDaily. “What appeals to gamers is that, for the easiest hypercasual video games, they’re utterly accessible to a large viewers with a quite simple and enjoyable core gameplay mechanic which might be in a position to retain with restricted options, similar to a excessive rating mechanic.”

It’s unsurprising, then, that lockdown efforts amid the pandemic would end in a large surge of recent cellular gamers. With folks spending extra time on their telephones and tablets, and plenty of of them trying to find new types of leisure throughout quarantine, the hypercasual area has clearly capitalized.

Whereas hypercasual retains the most important participant base amongst cellular recreation genres, there may be one other phase that constantly generates extra income. RPG and technique video games have traditionally commanded essentially the most participant spending, a development that, as with hypercasual video games, has been accelerated by the pandemic; in keeping with Sensor Tower’s report, the highest 100 cellular RPG video games generated $18.7 billion in 2020, marking a 26% year-over-year progress.

“These titles usually monetize closely and appeal to essentially the most engaged gamers whereas making certain they maintain customers busy with a number of standard, recent content material,” Chapple defined. “RPGs are notably widespread in Asia, the place the highest video games similar to Lineage 2, Lineage M, and Destiny/Grand Order, generate tons of of hundreds of thousands to billions of {dollars}. Extra not too long ago, titles similar to Moonlight Blade and Genshin Affect have actually hit the bottom working, with the latter changing into an enormous worldwide success that’s properly on its option to $1 billion from the App Retailer and Google Play mixed.”

One other standout style is style video games, titles like Challenge Makeover and Tremendous Stylist that solid the participant as a designer. In response to the report, the style style grew by 109% final yr, hitting 991 million downloads. For Chapple, this development gives fascinating perception into client developments 

“Having the ability to see which themes are rising quickest gives fascinating insights into the market,” Chapple mentioned of the style’s rising reputation. “ theme progress, we are able to get an perception into what actually pursuits gamers proper now, exterior of simply wanting on the style. By combining the 2, we are able to then get a higher understanding of the driving forces available in the market.”

The regular annual progress of the cellular video games market has been well-noted during the last a number of years, however COVID-19 seems to have accelerated issues, Chapple famous. As an entire, the cellular video games market generated $79.6 billion throughout the App Retailer and Google Play in 2020, a year-over-year enhance of 26.2%. Moreover, complete recreation downloads grew 33% to 56.3 billion.

“The market is on the up every year, so progress would have been anticipated regardless, however what we noticed final yr was very a lot an outsized surge,” Chapple defined. “We nonetheless anticipate additional progress this yr and past.”

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Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of, is a former freelance recreation reporter. He is been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and plenty of extra. When not writing about video games, he’s almost certainly taking good care of his two canine or pretending to know loads about artisan espresso. Get in contact with Sam by emailing him at or observe him on Twitter.

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