Mobile gaming growth attracts interest from nongaming media firms

The news: A new report from Sensor Tower shows that mobile gaming will make up the majority of mobile app spending worldwide in 2021 across Google Play and Apple’s App Store but is on a slight decline overall.

  • Mobile game spending will account for the bulk of revenues for both the App Store (61.5%) and Google Play (78.0%) this year.
  • Despite that, mobile games’ share of all in-app spending is expected to fall, dipping from 71.7% in 2020 to 67.4% this year.

More on this: Though mobile gaming accounts for a smaller share of overall spending due to a rise in the entertainment category, it is still growing.

  • Global consumer spending in mobile games will increase 12.6% this year to $89.6 billion, with Honor of Kings, PUBG Mobile, and Genshin Impact ranking as the top 3 games in App Store revenues.
  • The report also highlighted differences in user behavior on iOS and Android devices. The App Store will contribute a larger share of overall game spending ($52.3 billion in 2021 compared with Google Play’s $37.3 billion), but the majority of new game downloads will come from Google Play (46.7 billion versus the App Store’s 8.6 billion).

Why this matters: The large increase in mobile game revenues is making waves across the broader gaming industry, driving big-budget publishers to invest in mobile content and attracting interest from media companies outside the space.

  • Publishers are paying attention to the mobile gaming boom. Big-budget gaming is starting to bleed into the mobile market with titles like Genshin Impact, and with mobile ports of popular games such as Epic Games’ Fortnite and Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Warzone. Additionally, games like Among Us have proved to be lucrative, viral hits.
  • Netflix and The WaltDisney Co. have also turned to mobile games to diversify their business and create revenue streams. Netflix has stepped into gaming with mobile titles based on popular shows like “Stranger Things,” and it acquired independent game developer Night School Studio. Similarly, Disney partnered with storied mobile publisher Zynga in a multiyear deal to produce mobile games based on the Star Wars franchise.