​​The Role of Mobile Gaming in the Global App Economy 

It is not a secret that the industries of entertainment eventually push forward the technical development of the industry as a whole. This way, mobile gaming makes developers search for tools to enhance the user experience and look for new ways to stand out from the crowd of competitors. 

In recent years, it has become evident that mobile apps in general play a pivotal role in driving gaming revenue, and casual gaming shifts more and more exclusively to apps. The revenue numbers in the mobile gaming industry in the previous year showed a more than triple increase compared to the size of the traditional home console gaming numbers. 

Recent years were unique due to the pandemic and the global economic crisis, and yet the trends were quite trackable. The rise of mobile games stands out as a consistent trend in the world of apps, and the pandemic gave it an extra push. The balance between downloads/installations and spending is constantly changing depending on global events, but the key message is clear – mobile apps are on the rise, and mobile gaming is one of the shaping factors that contribute to the technological, promotional, and other aspects of the industry development. 

What Is Happening in the Mobile Gaming Industry? 

It is hard to cover all the nuanced trends and changes in the industry even within the previous two years. However, we can look into the major trends to get the bigger picture. 

While ads are among the most popular and widespread mobile app monetization models, ad impressions have dropped and continue to decrease. People are fed up with irrelevant content and skip the ads or pay for premium access without ads. 

At the same time, the general number of app installations has been increasing for a while now. So, people do want to use apps but don’t want to see the ads – especially random and irrelevant ones. 

The third trend is that in-app purchases have increased. Users are more willing to buy extra content from apps they already know and enjoy, and they choose to buy what is relevant to them. 

There are also several interesting trends that have to do with game genres. Research has found that established titles continue to outperform completely new releases, meaning people want to consume the content they are sure about. 

Another curious nuance is that strategy games show more spending among customers, meaning that paywalls, subscriptions, and in-app purchases might be the key to successful game monetization. Hypercasual games, on the other hand, show a rise in downloads meaning that ads, either random or sponsor-based, will be a better choice for this genre. 

All these trends and changes impact the way game developers see their revenue streams, and one of the major conclusions we can make is that more and more mobile game developers go hybrid with their monetization strategies. 

Some Top Mobile Games To Consider For Case Studies 

Different games and different game genres show somewhat different dynamics in downloads, spending, and in-app user behavior. However, successful games that are popular with players can be viewed as case studies. In the previous year, there were several top mobile games that showed high downloads across the US: 

  • ROBLOX (Roblox Corporation)
  • Among Us! (InnerSloth LLC, PlayEveryWare)
  • Parking Jam 3D (Popcore Games)
  • Subway Surfers (Kiloo, Sybo) 
  • Stumble Guys (Kitka Games)
  • Wordle by Goldfinch (Goldfinch Studios)
  • Count Masters (Free Play LLC)
  • Fishdom: Deep Dive (Playrix)
  • Survivor.io (HABBY PTE. LTD.)
  • Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games)

Mobile gamers who are also into online gambling can check out the list of the best iPad casinos in Canada and see what games are the most popular in the niche. 

Video games have their own trends that, although they influence the industry in certain ways, will not be discussed in this post. 

Trends In Mobile Gaming That Are Here To Stay 

There are several trends that seem to impact the online gaming industry in general so both players and developers should be aware of what awaits all of us in the future. It is very likely that the upcoming year will be as challenging and dynamic as the previous one because the players’ behaviors change, and marketers will have to align with the emerging trends. 

Short-Form Video 

Social media giants like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube spearheaded this movement of the short-fork video, placing a strong emphasis on media that’s concise, snappy, and easy to digest. This shift had a profound influence on ad creativity, forcing advertisements to distill their messages into even more compact formats. 

Here, the challenge is to quickly capture the user’s attention and deliver the message in seconds. Only if the user gets interested or engaged they will interact with this content further. If not – they just skip and never look back, especially if it is just an ad. 

AI As a Major Tool 

In the realm of mobile gaming, AI has predominantly impacted the creative aspect. Tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion, employing AI image generation, have gained popularity. However, it’s crucial to note that AI is far from replacing or even closely imitating a creative team. Its most significant impact currently can be noticed in the design of mobile games. 

Distasteful Ads Have No Chance 

Now for the most interesting trend in the package. 

While a couple of previous years have seen the age of creative exploration in the niche, the future will make a shift toward refinement. For advertisers and marketers, just testing what works and what doesn’t is no longer enough, and game developers should also keep this trend in mind when partnering with sponsors and placing sponsored ads. 

Currently, users have become more discerning, particularly when it comes to creatives that may cross ethical lines or be distasteful. While entertainment remains a priority, users increasingly demand that the games they engage with and the ads they view align with their ethical standards. Harmful, discriminating, violent content is more and more likely to push users away. This pivotal shift toward refinement and elevated ad quality is becoming inevitable. 


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