Even as pandemic restrictions ease, gamers are increasingly enamoured with playing on their phones. According to a new report from mobile data and analytics provider App Annie in collaboration with IDC, users worldwide downloaded 30% more games in the first quarter of 2021 than in the fourth quarter of 2019 and spent a record-breaking $1.7 billion per week in mobile games in 2021.
These figures are up 40% from pre-pandemic levels. Mobile gaming is driving the entire global gaming market with consumer spend set to surpass $204 billion in 2021 across mobile, console, handheld, and PC/Mac gaming.
U.S. and Germany led other markets in terms of growth in mobile game spending year-over-year as of Q1 2021 in the North American and Western European markets, respectively. Saudi Arabia and Turkey led the growth in the rest of the world, outside the Asia-Pacific region. The latter made up around half of the mobile game spend in the quarter, App Annie said. On the advertising front, App Annie reports that user sentiment toward in-game mobile ads improved in Q3 of 2020 compared with Q3 2019.
Mobile gaming was about equal in consumer spending to other types of gaming in 2014 but has emerged as the runaway winner. The category is expected to see $120 billion in consumer sales this year. That’s around triple the projections for PC and Mac gaming ($41 billion) and console gaming ($39 billion). Handheld consoles lag at $4 billion.
The mobile gaming industry is projected to grow 11% annually on average to $272 billion by 2030. According to App Annie, the top grosser in Q1 were Roblox and Genshin Impact. Roblox, a gaming platform, went public via a direct listing in March. Genshin Impact is a roleplaying game published by Shanghai-based miHoYo. Analytics firm GlobalData noted the rise of 5G and the technological parity that mobile games have with other types of gaming platforms as reasons for optimism regarding its ongoing projected growth.