Top mobile game publishers earn most revenue from in-app purchases, not advertising

Andy Boxall

In App Business. May 3, 2017

New data shows the majority of the top mobile game studios earn most revenue through in-app purchases rather than advertising, and the split is considerable. Apptopia looked at five of the biggest names in mobile gaming, investigating performance over the previous quarter, and gave us a glimpse at the difference between in-app purchase and advertising revenue for each.

Supercell doesn’t use much advertising in its games, and therefore it shows in its revenue breakdown, apparently earning $145m from in-app purchases over the first three months of 2017, and only $542,000 from ads. Glu Mobile is at the opposite end of the scale, and took the most amount of ad-driven revenue of the five companies. However, in-app purchases still returned $35.8m, while ads gave $16.7m.

Activision Blizzard’s titles are also more reliant on in-app purchases, with $114m coming from them, and $1.6m from advertising. Zynga and EA Games both take a higher amount from advertising — $12.3m and $20.3m respectively — but the majority of revenue for them both still comes from in-app purchases. Zynga earned $63.5m and EA Games $91.6m, according to Apptopia.

Other information from Apptopia’s performance report include Supercell earning $45.6m per game during the first quarter of the year, the highest of any publisher, and Star Wars:Galaxy of Heroes has become EA Games top title, accounting for 21% of its Q1 2017 earnings.
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