Puzzle games make up a fair amount of the revenue when it comes to mobile games, but they’re definitely not at the top. If you want to make a puzzle game that actually makes a large amount of money, you need to be sure your game is at the top of the list.
The stats below provide a wide range of information. You can learn the total revenue for puzzle games, the potential players, what people look for in puzzle games, and even ways to increase your revenue. With this information, you’ll have everything you need to know to make your game and keep people playing.
Keep reading below to learn how to make your game stand out, and what draws users into playing mobile puzzle games. You may find some information you didn’t know before.
Top Puzzle Games Stats
- There was a 4.2% increase in player spending on puzzle games from 2021 to 2022
- Despite this, the puzzle game’s annual revenue decreased from $9.5 billion to $9.1 billion in the same year
- 51% of puzzle mobile game players will pre-register for a puzzle game
- 59% of players say they stay with a puzzle game simply because gameplay is fun.
- Alternatively, 45% of players say they stop playing a game if it isn’t fun.
- 43% of players say they will leave if there are too many ads.
Related Article: Number of Gamers
Top Mobile Puzzle Games
To give you an example of what counts as a puzzle game, let’s look at the top mobile puzzle games currently available. Some of the top mobile puzzle games include:
- Bubble Shooter
- Puzzles and Dragons
- Project Makeover
- Divide By Sheep
- Candy Crush
- Her Story
- Toon Blast
- Empires & Puzzles
- Monument Valley
- Two Dots
- Baba Is You
- Project Makeover
- Royal Match
All of these games are highly rated, and many of them make quite a bit of money. You may also notice that they all offer different kinds of puzzles. You have matching, logic, action, word, trivia, story, hidden objects, and so much more. There are considered to be a total of 11 subcategories of puzzle games.
Of these, matching and logic puzzles are likely the most identifiable. However, if you look at the list above, you will see that all sorts of puzzle games make it to the top. There’s no reason you can’t make a game in any subgenre of puzzle game and have it come out to be wildly popular.
How Much Do Puzzle Games Make?
Next, you want to take a look at how much a puzzle game can make. Below, you will see a graph showing the puzzle game app revenue for different years. After the global pandemic, mobile games have started to show downhill trends, especially puzzle games.
Thankfully, these downward trends should be leveling out. The 2022 reports closely match the reports of puzzle game revenue pre-pandemic. The demand for mobile games is increasing every year as well, which means that at some point, these numbers might start actually increasing again.
Another interesting bit of information is that although revenue for mobile games has gone down as a whole, the amount of money that people are spending on these games is going up. This likely means that the decrease is coming from the ad side of the revenue.
This gives some important information. Although revenue is decreasing, people are willing to spend more on games than the previous years. This may mean there will be a future shift from ad-generated revenue to in-game revenue by players.
Below, you will find an example of some of the top-rated games and the revenue each one made. As a note, Candy Crush was the most downloaded puzzle game in 2022. It had a total of 138 million downloads.
|Candy Crush Saga||1001|
|Puzzles & Dragons||359|
|Candy Crush Soda Saga||269|
|Empires & Puzzles||246|
Puzzle Games Downloads and Users
According to the latest data, there are approximately 4.5 billion downloads for puzzle games. Both revenue and total number of puzzle game downloads are currently in a decreasing trend.
However, the rate of downloads is going down at a much faster rate than the revenue.
This means that although fewer people are downloading games, the amount of revenue per person is increasing a little. This fits the graph above showing the 4.2% growth in the amount people are spending on mobile puzzle games.
Most of the downloads come from major games, such as Candy Crush Saga, Fishdom, and DOP 4. Each one gets millions of downloads per year.
|Candy Crush Saga||138|
|Fill The Fridge||82|
|Pull the Pin||69|
|Save the Doge||66.8|
|Words of Wonders||66.1|
|Parking Jam 3D||62|
Unfortunately, just because someone downloads a game doesn’t mean they’re going to play it. This is especially true for free puzzle games, as people do not have as much as an investment already in the game.
You can kind of see the difference in the number of downloads vs. active users below. Candy Crush, for example, gets roughly 130 million downloads a year.
Since the game came out in 2012, you’d expect hundreds of millions of players. However, there are only 255 million active players. While this is still a large number, this makes up less than two years’ worth of downloads.
Now, this occurs for several reasons. For one, people may delete the game when they get bored and redownload it at a later date. This would make for one active player, but several downloads.
People also grow bored of mobile games rather quickly, which means that people will stop playing the game after a relatively short period.
|Empires & Puzzles||3|
Comparing Revenue and Installs
Candy Crush and other classic Match 3 games are definitely the winners when it comes to revenue per download. However, it doesn’t get as many downloads as some of the other subgenres. The puzzle and decorate subgenre is one of the better options.
Though it has a more modest revenue per download amount, it also gets a lot more downloads, which means as a whole it has the potential to make more money.
Another factor that must be considered is how the income is distributed. Candy Crush falls into the classic match 3 category. It alone made up over $845 million, which means that the numbers are likely skewed from just one game.
With the total for classic Match 3 games equaling about $1.6 billion last year, Candy Crush made up over half of the total revenue alone.
Why People Play Puzzle Games
When making a game, you also want to consider why someone would choose your game. The first step in nailing your target audience is to figure out why most people play games. The graphs below show why people play mobile games based on various countries.
It also has the additional purpose of showing you how well puzzle games meet these demands, according to those actually playing. If you want your game to stand out from others, you want to try and find a way to meet the top reasons listed below.
You may also have to consider adjusting your game based on the country you’re focusing on as your target audience. Not only are there quite stark differences between reasons people play mobile games per country, but each country’s puzzle gamers view the way puzzle games meet their needs differently.
For example, while the US population may feel that your puzzle game does a great job of relieving stress, players in places like South Korea may not agree. This showcases the importance of focusing on your target audience.
If you have a target audience that’s too large, you risk alienating people you want to be playing the game.
Trends People Look for in Puzzle Games
You also want to look at trends. While having some trends that your audience likes is important, having too many can be off-putting. It’s also important to note that roughly a third of all puzzle mobile players don’t interact with any of the trends below.
This may be because they have a need that hasn’t been met yet. If you look at the visual below, you can see that there are a few trends players are hoping to see more in future puzzle games or updates to current puzzle games. Metaverse is a big one that almost 40% of players want to see.
Even still, there are 16% of players that aren’t looking forward to any of the trends listed in the graph below. This may be because they want something different and specific. This may also just mean that 16% of people don’t have any specifics in mind and just want a simple game.
How Do People Find Puzzle Games?
Once your game is created, you need to get the word out there. Below is a table of ways that people find new puzzle games. As you can see ads in other mobile games, ads on social media, and the game is recommended by their app store are all closely at the top.
Though marketing is a costly venture, it’s well worth it. By having ads on various platforms including other apps, social media, and the app stores, you increase the number of players that at least try your game.
With luck, a majority of these people will leave positive reviews. This then puts your game further up the list when people start searching specifically for puzzle games, which gets you more noticed. People also tend to trust reviews when there’s a large number of them, which falls into the recommendations category.
Related Article: Hyper Casual Games Stats
Word of mouth isn’t something inside a game developer’s control. If your game is good enough though, you may get free marketing in the form of current players that are passionate about the game and share it with friends, family, and followers.
Pre-Registration for Puzzle Games
Another way to build up hype for your game before it’s even released is to offer pre-registration. A little over half of all puzzle mobile gamers pre-register for a game on occasion. Pre-registration builds hype for your game and encourages people to try the game and spread awareness for it before it’s even playable.
But what makes someone want to pre-register for a game? Generally, people won’t pre-register for a game for no reason. Most people want to wait for reviews and play games that they know are good before investing their time and money.
Some of the best incentives for pre-registering for a game include discounts, exclusive items, and the ability to play the game before others. By offering one or more of these options, you increase the likelihood that people will pre-register for your game.
Generally, these options may cost you a little, but they increase the chances of getting reviews and the game spreading via word-of-mouth.
Puzzle Mobile Game Retention
Retention is another important part of generating consistent revenue with mobile games. Below are graphs covering the main reasons why people continue playing puzzle games, and what makes them leave games.
As you can see, a fun, slightly challenging game keeps people coming back while buggy and ad-heavy games are often quickly abandoned.
Puzzle Game Target Audience
Considering the target audience means understanding the basic demographics. These include age and gender. However, mobile games have another category of demographics that make up a target audience. This is the type of player.
Since not all mobile gamers actually consider themselves gamers, there are other ways to break down players. Google breaks mobile gamers into five categories: Passive players, tentative followers, influenced players, playful explorers, and connected enthusiasts.
If you look below, you can see a breakdown of how each group of players ranks some important information, such as why they play, if they care if they progress, and if they care if there’s a community. When picking one of these categories, you want to take these answers into account when making your game.
Monetization in Puzzle Games
Ads are the way mobile games make most of their money. This is well-known among players and developers. While some game developers are tempted to just put in as many ads as possible, it’s important to find a balance between keeping users and generating money.
Below are a series of charts and graphs on how ads influence players, and what they prefer from their ads. For example, in the graph below, you can see that a little less than half of players don’t mind ads.
Related Article: Mobile Game Statistics
This is especially true for players who understand developers need to make money and are willing to deal with ads instead of spending their own money. However, 27% of players feel more negative about a game when there are ads involved.
To combat this, it’s important to find ways to make ads more interesting. Playable ads or ads that contain fun or useful information tend to be the best-reviewed.
Bringing in emotions and showcasing the main gameplay is considered the best option amongst most players. Additionally, going with one longer ad is generally better than several short ads.
|Ad Length and Number Preferences||US||UK||South Korea||Japan|
|Matching Puzzle||Physics Puzzle||Word/Brain/Board Puzzle||Matching Puzzle||Physics Puzzle||Word/Brain/Board Puzzle||Matching Puzzle||Matching Puzzle|
|One 30s Ad||55%||43%||56%||56%||54%||52%||43%||49%|
|Two 15s Ads||17%||16%||17%||15%||16%||22%||14%||21%|
|Three 10s Ads||14%||26%||16%||15%||19%||16%||19%||18%|
|Six 5s Ads||14%||16%||11%||15%||12%||11%||23%||12%|
Other Revenue for Puzzle Games
In addition to ads for mobile games, in-game purchases are also a way to make money. They usually do not produce as much as ads but are still an essential part of generating revenue from your mobile puzzle game.
There are many ways for players to invest real money into the game such as skins, special items, in-game currency, bonuses, extra lives, and more.
Below, you will see a graph that covers some of the most common ways people have spent money on games. This can allow you to get an idea of what features to include in your own game.
You may also want to consider some of the reasons why people spend money on a game. The graph below shows reasons why players end up spending money, such as to increase the rate as they progress through a game, or to try new content. Special sales and promotions might also entice some users.