Mobile role-playing games (RPGs) share much of their mechanics with traditional tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. In both forms, players are able to explore game worlds while completing quests, battling opponents and evolving their characters.
Taking inspiration from tabletop, as well as wargames, simulation games, and historic literature, role-playing video games emerged on mainframe computers in the 1970s. These were mostly loose adaptations of Dungeons and Dragons. Early console games were more story-based than computer releases and a number of widely popular games were launched, including the Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.
As technology evolved multiplayer modes became possible and expanded further with internet access. Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPGs) are now common and games such as World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online have a strong and sustained fanbase. With the move towards RPG apps, fantasy themes were retained.
[WEBINAR] Scaling subscriptions from web to mobile
Join us for an exclusive webinar to discover how harnessing subscriber data, creating personalized experiences at scale, and implementing retention strategies can make your brand an industry giant.Register here
RPGs was the top grossing game sector from 2019 to 2022. The genre is particularly lucrative in Asia, where 39 percent of all mobile game revenue stemmed from RPGs, according to figures from Sensor Tower. Many of the top apps were developed in Asia; Honor of Kings, Genshin Impact, and Mobile Legends were created by Chinese companies, Fate/Grand Order, Pokemon Unite, and Monster Strike were launched in Japan, and South Korean company NCSoft are behind the Lineage franchise.
RPGs lead the table in consumer spend, according to Data.ai. MMORPGs have been performing particularly well, which may be helped by the rise in cross-play features. Users can play against people using different platform versions of the same game.
Downloads of some of the biggest RPG apps have been impacted by India’s ban on games originating from China. Other games, such as Japanese game Monster Strike, have expanded to other media including anime series and film adaptations, or form part of a bigger series like Pokemon.
We have collected data and statistics on the role-playing game sub-sector. Read on below to find out more.
Key role-playing game statistics
- The role-playing games sub-sector earned $20.2 billion in revenue in 2022, a fall from $23.5 billion the previous year
- Downloads of role-playing games hit 8.8 billion in 2022, a 114% increase from 2019
- Honor of Kings and Genshin Impact generated the most revenue in 2022, at $1.7 billion and $1.3 billion respectively
Top Role-Playing Game Apps
|https://www.honorofkings.com/global-en/||Honor of Kings||Based on the video game League of Legends, Honor of Kings was launched in China in 2015. The international version, Arena of Valor, was released in 2020|
|https://genshin.hoyoverse.com/en/||Genshin Impact||Genshin Impact is an anime-style open-world with a battle system, available on mobile devices, Windows, Playstation 5 and due for release on Nintendo Switch|
|https://lineagew.plaync.com/sg/index?redirect=false||Lineage W||The Lineage franchise is a medieval fantasy multiplayer online game developed by South Korean company NCSoft with 7 released titles. Lineage W is the fifth major installment and it supports cross-platform interaction between mobile, computers and consoles|
|https://fate-go.us/||Fate/Grand Order||Inspired by the visual novel Fate/stay night, the game involves turn-based combat within a story narrative|
|https://m.mobilelegends.com/en||Mobile Legends: Bang Bang||Mobile Legends sets 2 teams of 5 against each other in a multiplayer online battle arena. The game has been banned in India due to security concerns|
|https://unite.pokemon.com/en-us/||Pokemon Unite||The cross-platform Pokemon Unite is available on Nintendo Switch and mobile devices. Users play in 5 against 5 team battles to defeat opponents' Pokemon|
|https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.lunime.gachaclub&hl=en_GB&gl=US||Gacha Club||Gacha Club allows users to create anime styled characters, dress them, and style their background. Characters can talk to each other and a narrator can be introduced|
|https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.mixi.monsterstrike&hl=en&gl=US||Monster Strike||Japanese game Monster Strike is a physics role-playing game which has an anime series and 2 film adaptations based on it|
Role-Playing Game App Revenue
The genre’s revenue has fallen slightly from 2021, from $23.5 billion to $20.5 billion, but this remains above pre-pandemic levels.
Role-playing game app sector annual revenue 2019 to 2022 ($bn)
Role-Playing Game Revenue by App
Honor of Kings and Genshin Impact both earned more than $1 billion in 2022, topping the revenue chart.
Role-playing game revenue by app 2022 ($mm)
|Honor of Kings||1652|
|Fantasy Westward Journey||367|
|Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle||339|
|League of Legends: Wild Rift||273|
|RAID: Shadow Legends||229|
Role-Playing Game App Usage
Honor of Kings hit 100 million daily users in 2020, mostly within China, and has an estimated 300 million monthly average users. However, its Western version – Arena of Valor – only has around 250,000 daily users in Europe and North America.
Role-playing game average monthly users by app (mm)
|Honor of Kings||300|
Role-Playing Game App Downloads
The number of downloads of role-playing mobile games jumped significantly in 2020 and 2021, followed by smaller growth last year. Since 2019, the number of downloads has more than doubled from 4.1 billion to 8.8 billion.
Role-playing game downloads 2017 to 2022 (bn)
Role-Playing Game Downloads by App
Online battle arena game Mobile Legends was the most downloaded app in 2022, despite being banned in India over security concerns.
Role-playing game downloads by app 2022 (mm)
|Honor of Kings||24|
|Dragon Ball Legends||19|
More Games App Data
- Puzzle Games Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Shooter Games Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Strategy Games Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Free Fire Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Subway Surfers Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Roblox Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Genshin Impact Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Gardenscapes Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- Among Us Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)
- PUBG Mobile Revenue and Usage Statistics (2023)