In the past year, the growth of game users has brought tremendous changes to the game industry. One obvious effect of this change is that the industry is raking in more billions in revenue. Consequently, there is a vast opportunity for operators in this space, such as game developers, marketers, and so on.

If you are looking to capitalize on this, it will do you a world of good to be informed of relevant trends and statistics. With these in your grasp, alongside knowledge of the industry, you will be able to make smart decisions and catapult your business to success.

The Epidemic drove the growth of the Mobile Game industry in 2020

2020 will forever be known as the year of the pandemic. It was the year when everything was ground to a halt, and humanity faced dark times.

Even though the raging pandemic destroyed many businesses across several industries, the reverse was the gaming industry’s case. One of the most famous avenues people chose is mobile gaming. The reasons include mobile gaming being simpler and more convenient than other channels while providing just as much fun.

Mobile Game statistics for 2020

To illustrate how fast the mobile gaming industry grew in 2020, we will examine its statistics. As you will see, many gains occurred.  We have grouped these statistics into different categories to make things easy for you.

Revenue Statistics

  • 77.2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue for 2020

The mobile game industry is one of the highest performing industries globally in 2020. With a massive turnout of $77.2B in the just concluded year, there is no sign of slowing down in 2021.

  • 12% increase in the number of players

The mobile gaming industry recorded 12% more players in 2020 than in 2019, with over 2.5 billion players. With movement still restricted and people confined to their homes, it’s predicted that the number will only go higher this year.

  • $19 billion spent in the 2020 second quarter alone

Lockdown sparked a surge in the number of gamers during the second quarter of the previous year. Gamers spent more than $19 billion on mobile games in 2020’s second quarter.

  • 25% iOS downloads and 21% Android Apps

Mobile games constitute about 21% of all Android app downloads and 25% of all iOS app downloads. With many investors and developers coming out with outstanding games in 2021, this percentage is expected to increase in 2021. 

Mobile game media buying trends

2020 was a good year for mobile game media buy as it experienced massive growth. For instance, mobile game advertisers increased by 9% from the prior year to 60,000. These advertisers made up a large chunk of mobile app advertisers at 24%.

Top 10 mobile games ranked by impressions

Mobile Game creative trends

Statistics point to puzzle games as one of the 2020’s biggest winners. For instance, we at SocialPeta, the world’s leading advertisement analysis platform, experienced the creation of 12M creatives within the year. 25% of them were puzzle game creatives. After this came role-playing game creatives and then arcade.

Ad creatives production, by app category in 2020

Moreover, while strategy games had the 4th most creatives on the platform, advertisers in this segment have the most purchasing power. The average strategy game advertiser runs 359 ad materials in one year.

Cost intelligence

The mobile gaming industry presented many business opportunities in 2020. This was most evident in CPM, which rose by 166.27% between January and December of the year.

This points to one thing: mobile game marketers sensed these opportunities and scrambled to take advantage of them. The mobile game market’s growth led to more advertising investment as marketers tried to attract more customers; hence, the sharp increase.

Mobile ad campaigns costs in 2020, by model

As usual, the United States topped the charts on the increase. The country still has the highest advertisement costs, with a peak CPC of  $3.41 and CPM of $40.09.

Mobile ad campaigns costs in 2020, by country

For more exclusive advertising intelligence on mobile apps and games, please check the 2020 White Paper on Media Buying in the Global Mobile Market by SocialPeta.

Mobile Game trends prediction in 2021

Over the course of 2020, many changes occurred in the mobile game development department. Consequently, game brands have spent more on advertising investment to attract more users and corner sufficient market share.

However, suppose the operating costs exceed generated revenue. In that case, this decline in revenue can occasion a crisis for the mobile game industry and hamper its survival.

To battle this, mobile game companies track three 2021 mobile game trends with a plan to capitalize on them and shore up their revenue.

Trend #1: Simplify the operating model and reduce unnecessary costs

One of the mobile game trends companies are jumping on in 2021 is simplifying the current operating model. Besides improving their game development process and working more efficiently, this will rid them of unnecessary costs.

By doing this, mobile game developers will be able to do more with fewer resources. Catering to the growing mobile game consumers will lead to an increased bottom-line and help them preserve and develop their business.

One effective way to reduce the cost of your development process is to conduct an early CTR test. This is especially true if you are in the hyper-casual game sector of the mobile game industry.

What is a CTR Test?

CTR stands for click-through rate. Conducting this test on a game idea you have will enable you to determine whether it will succeed or not. It will help you answer questions like:

  • Will this game appeal to gamers?
  • Will it retain them? In other words, will they keep playing it after their first experience of it?
  • Will it generate revenue?

Providing answers to these questions will inform whether you go ahead and commit the resources to that game idea or not.

Trend #2: In-game ads, the key to monetizing gaming apps

Another trend among mobile game developers in 2021 is game monetization through in-game ads. Several statistics support this approach. Some of them are:

  • 74% of the United States mobile gamers would watch an in-game ad if they get an in-app perk in return;
  • 82% of mobile gamers prefer free mobile games with ads to paid mobile games without.

These statistics clearly show that free mobile games with in-game ads have more chances of success than paid mobile games.

Besides, a mobile game is free and raking in revenue via in-game ads does not mean there are no chances to derive directly from it. About 95% of user spend among mobile gamers can be attributed to in-app purchases.

As a result, mobile game developers can attract gamers by offering free games with in-app games. After this, they can generate more revenue by offering some of their in-game content for a price.

Trend #3: Invest in marketing intelligence tools

The final trend we will cover in this article involves mobile game developers investing in marketing intelligence tools. This tactic aims to improve distribution efficiency and, consequently, increase game firms’ long-term savings.

As a result, these developers will ensure the revenue generated exceeds their operating costs and keep in business.

Gametech helps games grow

Gametech refers to the different things mobile game developers use to manage a game’s lifecycle. These include software programs, tools, and services.

The mobile gaming industry has attained its current heights largely because of Gametech; this trend will not change anytime soon. In fact, we expect Gametech to improve and generate more success for the sector.

  • In 2021, expect to see game development engines like Unity and Unreal improve their offerings. This will result in the empowerment of game developers who will take the ball and run with it. Such an improvement will enable them to take more control of the game development process, explore their creativity, and develop more engaging products.
  • We can also expect to see top game platforms like Epic Games and Roblox make gaming more entertaining and immersive. Expect them to exhibit more innovation by infusing more music and film into games, thereby making the experience more fun and exciting.
  • Finally, we expect to see improvements in ad-tech and other monetization tools. With this, developers will be able to derive more profit from their products.

Gametech is the power behind the mobile gaming industry, and we expect to see more of its transformative power in 2021.

Final Thoughts

2020 was a golden age for the mobile gaming industry that witnessed more people participated and played games on their phones than in previous years. However, the mobile games market is set for even more growth. By examining the industry’s trends and adopting them, developers can take advantage of this opportunity to increase their market share. 

Do you need reliable hands to help you optimize your return on revenue for your mobile games? Click here to download the 2020 White Paper on Media Buying in the Global Mobile Market for free, which will help you to better understand the trends and data of the mobile game industry, and make your products stand out in this increasingly competitive market.