Mobile Games Statistics: Unveiling Growth and Revenue Insights

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Mobile games are at the top of the charts compared to all other gaming industries. They make up roughly half of the profits and much more installs than console and PC games combined and are expected to grow at rates of around 12 to 16 percent every year. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get your game noticed on the mobile platform. You need to understand that while these games make a lot of money, it’s usually only the top few games that actually turn a profit. Many games are lucky to just break even, if not fail entirely. 

Read more about the statistics of mobile games below and see if you want to get in the market, or maybe just relax and play a few more mobile games this year. 

Want more details on Hyper Casual Games Statistics Check out this article.

How Much Do Mobile Games Make

In 2021, mobile games as a whole made over $89.6 billion on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Out of this, Apple generated $52.3 billion while Google Play revenue was $37.3 billion.

Mobile games made up a total of 50 % of all the gaming revenue from 2022 from mobile, PC, and console games. 


A chart showing the quarterly game revenue from 2016 to 2023 in billions for the Apple store from BusinessofApps and created with Data.ai and Sensor Tower. 

A chart showing the quarterly game revenue from 2016 to 2023 in billions for the Google Play Store from BusinessofApps and created with Data.ai and Sensor Tower. 

While Apple makes up the most revenue, around 65 percent of total gamers between the ages of 10 and 65 use the Google Play Store.

This means that although more downloads come from the Google Play Store, it’s easier to get revenue from Apple. 

It’s also much harder to get on the Apple store. Though the Apple App Store creates a bigger revenue, it also has a lot fewer games due to Apple’s strict guidelines. 

Quarter of the yearNo. of games on Google PlayNo. of games on App StoreGoogle Play & App Store together
Q3 2022490,267208,360698,627
Q2 2022477,998295,676773,674
Q1 2022449,497288,153737,650
Q4 2021670,447275,013945,460
Q4 2020427,056298,290725,346
Q4 2019343,292266,224609,516
Q4 2018288,848298,455587,303
Q4 2017647,488376,5361,024,024
Q4 2016515,268495,5581,010,826
Q4 2015380,233384,462764,695
A table showing how many apps are in both the Google Play Store and Apple store per quarter from 2015 to 2022 from HeadphonesAddict

2021 was the peak for game revenue since 2016. At the start of 2022, when people really started going back to work, the income from mobile games hit a decrease until the end of the year.

Now, in 2023, it’s started to climb again, though it hasn’t quite hit the $89.6 billion found in 2021. You can see the growth best in the chart below. 


A chart showing the quarterly game revenue from 2016 to 2023 in billions from BusinessofApps and created with Data.ai and Sensor Tower. 

Besides the dip in 2022, mobile games and the mobile game industry are growing by an average of 16.28 percent each year. 

Now that you know that it’s a fairly large market, the next question is how much an individual game makes. Based on the averages, a game with 36,000 downloads is likely going to make around $549,630 over its lifetime.

However, the much more realistic numbers are around $1 for every four users. So if your game has less than 50,000 users, you’re looking at closer to $12,500 over a game’s lifetime. 

Mobile Games Monetization

There are several ways to get monetization from a mobile game. Don’t get it wrong though, while there are several ways to make money from a mobile game, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to actually make a profit. 

Check out this article where I go in-depth about Game monetization strategies.

Every game is wildly different. Some make money immediately after release, while others fail almost instantly.

Most games, however, are somewhere in the middle. They might manage to make a little profit after years of running, or they might just barely break even. Some games might even hold on for a few years before they fail. 

One of the first few ways to make money is to of course make a game that users have to buy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work out, especially if your game has a lot in common with other games on the market that are free.

You need something unique that stands out as a game if you want to make it cost money, even if just a few cents. 

The best way for most small games to make money is via ads and in-app purchases through free games. You can pick one of these methods or, most commonly, use a mix of them. 

Most game categories make money from in-app purchases. While this is rarer with hyper casual and casual games, the rest of the categories like card, casino, RPG, and strategy make a fair amount of money from in-app purchases.

Game genreAd revenueIn-game purchases
Action23.4%76.6%
Adventure24.3%75.7%
Arcade67.1%32.9%
Board69.7%30.2%
Card46.5%53.5%
Casino23.8%76.2%
Casual36.7%63.3%
Hypercasual94.1%5.9%
Puzzle25.2%74.8%
Racing26.6%73.4%
Role-playing (RPG)19.1%80.9%
Stimulation34.7%65.3%
Sports56.4%43.6%
Strategy29.4%70.6%
Trivia59.6%40.5%
Word80.2%19.8%
A table of the different forms of revenue for each game genre from HeadphonesAddict

Of course, they also make a fair amount from ad revenue. It’s important to find a balance between these two. Too many ads, especially intrusive ones, cause users to grow irritated and stop playing, while too little isn’t going to make you and your game any money. 

Most users understand that some ads are necessary, but when it starts to interrupt the gameplay or makes it so the user can’t even play the game, it becomes frustrating. 

There are several ways to take advantage of in-app purchases. You can have purchases for stopping the ads, either permanently or for a short time.

You can also use in-app purchases for cosmetic items, new characters, extra season rewards, equipment, in-game currency, consumables, extra time or lives, and more. These can be anywhere in price from $0.99 to $99.99

As for ads, there are a few different kinds as well. First, there are interstitial ads. These are easily the most frustrating for users as they are the ones that stop gameplay and take up the whole screen for a certain amount of time before users can switch back to the gameplay. 

While these are the most annoying, they also make the most money. However, you have to place them right. Generally, between levels or stages is acceptable, especially for longer levels.

For short, quick levels, you may want to go between every few levels. Including these ads in the middle of a level, however, often leads to extreme frustration for players, so that should be avoided if at all possible. 

Then there are reward ads. These are usually the most acceptable by players as they are voluntary. For example, if a player needs a life, they can choose to wait until it replenishes, buy one, or watch an ad to get one. These ads can be used for more lives, currency, time, or bonus items. 

An example of a reward ad page from Udonis.

The best part about these ads is that you can continue to use them even if your player pays for no ads because they can volunteer to choose them or not to get extra bonuses. The biggest worry about this method is making sure you don’t make users have to watch too long of an ad or too many ads at once to get a reward. 

Playable ads are a subcategory of ads. These are ones that instead of viewers just watching, they get to play as well. These are a bit tricky because these ads could draw players away from your games and toward your competitor’s games, but they’re more interactive, which makes it more fun for players. 

Offerwalls are another optional form of ads. This is a ‘wall’ or page of ads. Generally, players are told that if they play a certain amount of another game, they get to collect a large reward from their current game.

This offers some of the highest amounts of revenue for game developers, but the fact that they’re optional and involve an intense process means that they aren’t used as much as the other options. 

An example of an offerwall page from Udonis

Finally, there are banner ads. These are probably the most common ads across the internet. They are ads that sit on an area of the game that’s fairly unobtrusive and stay there the whole time. The banner may just be a series of pictures or might have some movement to it. 

As long as the banner ads are still small enough to not block gameplay, most users don’t mind them. A lot of games prefer to use banner ads in the menu section where there isn’t any action going on, and then use other ads for the rest of gameplay, as these banners don’t offer a lot of money. 

An example of a banner ad from Udonis.

Mobile Games Market Size

Interestingly, mobile games actually take the cake when it comes to all device games. From 2017 onwards, it’s beaten the revenue from console and PC games and looks to only be growing. 

A chart showing the annual game revenue from 2017 to 2022 for mobile, console, and PC games in billions from BusinessofApps and created with Newzoo.

Even amongst mobile games, it is specifically smartphone mobile games that take the cake. In 2022, smartphones accounted for $91.4 billion, with consoles at the next highest only reaching $58.6 billion. Tablet games only made up a total of $12.1 billion, despite the games being the same as on mobile devices. 

Video game segmentRevenue in 2022 (billions)
Smartphone games$91.4
Console games$58.6
Boxed or downloaded PC games$38.7
Tablet game$12.1
Browser PC games$2.3
A table of the various categories of games and the revenue they made in 2022 from HeadphonesAddict and data from Statista. 

You may think that you need a game that consumers have to buy to play to get revenue, but that isn’t always the case. Free-to-play (F2P) mobile games make up a good chunk of total revenue. 

YearF2P mobile gaming market revenue (billions)
2023 (estimated)$14.94
2022 (estimated)$13.2
2021$13.78
A graph showing the estimated amount of revenue from F2P games in billions from HeadphonesAddict and created with Statista 12.

Mobile Games Revenue

Every mobile game category works a little differently when it comes to revenue. Most of the income from hyper casual games, roughly 94 percent, comes from ad revenue. However, RPG games get most of their revenue, about 81 percent, from in-app purchases. 

Each category of mobile game also gets slightly different percentages on how much money they get from in-game purchases and ad revenue. For the most part, games that involve a lot of time or strategy get a larger amount of in-game purchases, while games that are easier to play or take less time to play per day get more ad revenue. 

Thankfully, revenue is only increasing for mobile games. In quarter one of 2023 alone, average weekly player spending reached over $1.6 billion and is only expected to keep increasing for the rest of the quarters in 2023. 

List of the Best Game Art Outsourcing Companies to keep in mind.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the mobile gaming industry is one of the best places to get game revenue. You’ve likely noticed that many big console companies like Tencent, Riot Games, Pokemon, Bethesda, Mihoyo, Sony, and Blizzard, are all looking to move more toward mobile games to make a higher profit. 

While many hardcore gamers are willing to spend big bucks on console and PC games, it’s just not as profitable when there are billions of smartphone users willing to download a game and watch ads. Most hardcore gamers on consoles and PC that have spent $60 or $70 on a game aren’t willing to deal with ads.

Plus, mobile games aren’t as graphics-heavy or intense as console and PC games, making them much lower cost to make. It makes sense why game companies are more and more starting to move toward mobile after all. 

Even game companies that aren’t necessarily wanting to move to mobile games feel pressured to do so. League of Legends is a popular MOBA game on the PC.

However, many people created spin-offs of the game on the mobile market, and Riot felt pressured to release their own version to try and collect on some of the profits and to keep players in their games. 

Mobile Games Retention

For many mobile games, it’s hard to keep retention. While many people are playing games on their phones throughout the day, people grow bored of mobile games or play a variety of games.

Additionally, people don’t play mobile games for a long time throughout the day. Each broad category of games has slightly different average retention rates as well. 

According to Udonis, the average retention rate for day one after downloads is between 14 percent and 25 percent for all mobile games. 

GenreNorth AmericaLatin AmericaEuropeAfricaAsia-Pacific
Hypercasual5.4 min5.8 min6.7 min6.6 min7.2 min
Casual15 min18.8 min23.7 min26 min21 min
Midcore15.4 min23.7 min18 min17.5 min16.4 min
Hardcore18.1 min26 min19.7 min13.8 min16.5 min
Social Casino11.4 min21 min19.9 min17.1 min21.4 min
A table showing the amount of time an average mobile gamer will play in each category based on the continent from HeadphonesAddict
Game genre0-19 years20-29 years30-39 years40-49 years50+ years
Hypercasual4.9 min6.2 min6.2 min6.7 min7.7 min
Casual15.2 min20.3 min21.8 min22.5 min22.8 min
Midcore12.3 min14.8 min17.5 min18.1 min17.1 min
Hardcore15.9 min16.9 min17.5 min16.1 min14.1 min
Social Casino14.4 min13.9 min17.8 min18 min18.4 min
A graph showing the amount of time each age category spends on different categories of mobile games from HeadphonesAddict
Game genreFemalesMales
Hypercasual6.4 min6.4 min
Casual22.8 min19 min
Midcore17.5 min15.1 min
Hardcore15.4 min17.4 min
Social Casino16.9 min16.2 min
A graph of the times that different genders of mobile gamers spend on each mobile game category on average from HeadphonesAddict

Retention rates in mobile games are fairly low, but there are some ways to bring back users if they start to drift off. Things like new updates with new content or characters, a reward for coming back, or new contact via blogs and social media from the creators of the game.

Having regular updates and events keeps the game fresh and interesting and will keep people coming back even if they finished the main game as there are new rewards to be won.

A social aspect such as a guild or group chat also brings people back as they want to keep connecting with people they met via the game. 

Rewards for being gone but coming back, such as money for time spent offline, extra draws, or just a thank-you reward for coming back also makes the player feel like they are cared about, which makes them more likely to return to the game again and again. 

If you want to learn more about the Game Development Process check out this article.

Stalling on a game also reduces the retention of individual users. While it’s necessary to have enough of a challenge that users take a while to finish levels and move up in the game, too difficult of a jump from one level to another that requires a large amount of grinding might instead cause you to lose players. It’s important to find that balance between difficulty levels. 

Mobile Games Target Audience

Mobile games target anyone that has a mobile device. Individual games may target certain people or categories, but as a whole, the industry just focuses on anyone with a mobile device like a phone or tablet. 

Related Article: Puzzle Games Stats

You can narrow down your target audience a little by looking at statistics of who plays games the most. For example, China is the leading country of mobile game players and revenue spenders, with the US and Japan following behind.

In 2020, Chinese consumers made up roughly 35 percent of the global revenue for mobile games, with the US making up 20 percent. 

A pie chart showing which countries made up the highest percentage of mobile game revenue in 2020 from HeadphonesAddict

You can also look at which game categories are doing the best. For the most part, RPG and strategy take the lead, with puzzle, and shooter games coming in behind.

Though the numbers change every year, it’s safe to say that the categories that make the most revenue don’t change much. RPG games made roughly $18.3 billion in 2019 and $21.9 billion in 2020. 

A chart detailing the annual mobile game revenue by genre from 2019 to 2022 from BusinessofApps with data created from Data.ai, Newzoo, and PocketGamer. 

Here is another chart showing the different mobile game genres and the revenue they produce every year. 

Mobile game genresRevenue for 2022 (billions)Revenue for 2020 (billions)Revenue for 2019 (billions)
RPG$25.5$21.9$18.3
Strategy$12.1$15.1$11.7
Puzzle$8.7$8.5$7
Casino$8.3$7.2$4.9
Shooter$4.8$5.7$3.8
Simulation$8.1$4.1$2.7
Lifestyle/$3$2.2
Sports$2.8$2.9$2.1
Action$5.3$2.2$1.7
Geolocation AR/$1.9$1.3
A graph showing the annual game revenue from 2019 to 2022 for various game categories from Headphones Addict and created with Statista 2.

It might also help you to understand exactly what other subcategories fall under each main game category. 

A pie chart showing the various types of mobile game categories and subcategories, sized based on the amount of money that they get from Udonis.

You can also look at some of the top games. Subway Surfers was the leader in downloads in 2021, with 191 million downloads. PUBG Mobile made the most revenue of $2.8 billion in the same year, however. That shows it doesn’t always matter exactly how many downloads you get. 

It’s worth noting that Subway Surfers is a pretty unique game. It was first released in 2012 but has managed to stay at the top for years now, which is pretty rare for mobile games. 

GameNo. of global downloads in 2021 (millions)
Subway Surfers191
Roblox182
Bridge Race169
Garena Free Fire154
Among Us152
Hair Challenge138
Join Clash136
8 Ball Pool130
Ludo King125
Candy Crush Saga119
A table of the most downloaded games in 2021 and how many downloads were of each game from HeadphonesAddict
GameRevenue 2021Revenue 2020Revenue 2019
PUBG Mobile$2.8 billion$2.6 billion$1.5
Honor of Kings$2.8 billion$2.5 billion$1.5
Genshin Impact$1.8 billion//
Roblox$1.3 billion$1.1 billion$508 million
Coin Master$1.3 billion$1.1 billion$539 million
Pokemon GO!$1.2 billion$1.2 billion$658 million
Candy Crush Saga$1.2 billion/$1.5 billion
Garena Free Fire$1.1 billion//
Monster Strike/$958 million/
A table showing the mobile games with the highest revenue from 2019 to 2021 from HeadphonesAddict

Looking at genders is another great idea. Most mobile gamers, in the US at least, are female. 75 % of US mobile gamers are women. Out of all the gamers, most of them are between 16 and 65, but there are still plenty below and above this age group. 

An image showing the different age groups, which genres they play the most, and some of the biggest games played by each group from Udonis

There’s a reason that the mobile game genre goes for a more mass-market approach as a whole. That’s because the market strategy works.

In 2022, there were over 2 billion players, and it’s expected to be as high as 3.5 billion by 2025. With everyone having a mobile device nowadays, there’s no need to target specific groups when you can target everyone at once. 

Even people that don’t identify as gamers end up picking up a mobile game at some point. In fact, studies show that roughly 85% of mobile gamers don’t identify as gamers.

This is why hyper casual games make up such a large percentage of total games downloaded. They offer quick and easy games people can play while standing in line or the bathroom.  

Mobile games are usually played by people needing to pass the time for a few minutes, to escape from their daily life for a bit, or to reduce stress.

The dopamine rush from winning a game, earning rewards, and passing a hard challenge end up winning over many people, even if they aren’t gamers. 

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