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Mobile Games: A report on Q1 2019

May, 14 2019

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Our partner, IHS Markit Technology have produced an in-depth report on the performance of the mobile games market in the first quarter of 2019. Following their maiden report in February, IHS’s analysts have once again produced a fascinating insight into what is sure to be another bumper year of growth for the category. Get the full report.

 

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When mobile games were popularised in the early days of smartphones, many serious gamers dismissed the format as inferior to the PC or console. Several years on and mobile gaming is the highest growth segment of the entire gaming industry. 

This is reflected in the industry revenue of Q1 2019. Despite a marginal seasonal decline in Q1 versus Q4 2018 (to be expected following the holiday period), the minimality of this drop suggests another year of growth. 

 

Q1 v Q4

 

This revenue decline affected Apple App Store and Google Play almost equally, with decays of 2.3% and 2.4% respectively. However, on a country-level, USA bucked the trend and saw significant growth. Titles such as Bandai Namco’s Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle and social casino disruptor Coin Master, from Israeli developer Moon Active, drove revenue. The USA generated a mammoth 69% share of Coin Master revenue for Q1 on Google Play, and showed over 132% growth versus Q4 2018. Be sure to refer to the full report for a more detailed country breakdown. 

For new apps, hopes of climbing app store rankings are slim, with the top 10 dominated by mature titles. A huge 7 out of the top 10 mobile games by net revenue for Q1 2019 are more than 3 years old - with 4 of those launching over 6 years ago. 

However, the share taken by the mature titles does begin to dip when moving into the top 20, and further declines into the top 30. The top 10 is perhaps reserved for them, but the marginally lower tiers look far more youthful – and revenue generation in these tiers is still in the tens of millions. 

 

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Despite this, the battle royale game format has caused some disruption in the last 2 years. PUBG Mobile, launched in 2018, has joined Fortnite in the small list of new titles that have managed to break the top 10 seen above. The presence of Fortnite is made even more impressive when you consider that these figures are made up from their iOS downloads alone. Developers chose to exclude the game from the Google Play store, instead using an external website to download the app and therefore avoiding the GP store charges. 

Despite the success of battle royale, it is still hyper-casual games that continue to dominate downloads. Color Bump 3D came out on top last quarter with 131m downloads, with PUBG Mobile managing less than half of that with 64m.  

As previously mentioned, this only scratches the surface of our full report on Mobile Games in Q1 2019. Be sure to download the full report for more; this includes the effect of the freeze in China, which publishers are seeing the most success, and cross-platform play. 

Download Full Report

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