Mobile game

Mobile gaming revenue is falling due to privacy improvements

The smartphone has made gaming much more accessible, but just like console and PC gaming, mobile gaming is not immune to market fluctuations.

Mobile game spending and downloads across all genres fell 9.6% year-over-year, according to data from Sensor Tower. The company has analyzed 14 genres from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and there is some interesting data to be gleaned, even if it’s exclusively aimed at the US market.

On the one hand, arcade games (which are similar to the games you’d find in an old-school arcade) saw their revenues jump 14.8% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Mobile tabletop games grew by 0.9% and these were the only two genres that saw any kind of revenue growth. The biggest loser was the racing genre which saw its revenue drop 28.8% from a year ago.

“Factors such as the rising cost of living, inflation, and privacy changes such as the deprecation of the IDFA have combined to negatively impact the industry,” says Craig Chapple, strategist for mobile information for the EMEA region at Sensor Tower.

“The ending of many social distancing restrictions since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic has also seen consumers engage in other activities outside of gaming. That doesn’t mean publishers can’t succeed and launch popular new titles, but an industry-wide rebound in the second half will likely depend on improving macroeconomic factors and publishers’ ability to adapt to privacy challenges. adds Chapple.

The mention of the depreciation of the IDFA is important. Also known as an Advertiser ID, this allowed advertisers to track iOS users. This feature was deprecated in iOS 14.5 and hurt advertisers. The biggest example of this is Meta, which has blamed Apple’s protection of its users for declining revenue on several occasions.

What we’ll admit is rather surprising is that advertisers continue to blame Apple’s actions for hurting their bottom line. You would think that the best thing to do would be to take action and find new ways to serve users with relevant advertisements. Instead, it looks like the sector simply gave up in defeat.

While the data from Sensor Tower isn’t good news, it may help inspire change in mobile gaming. Maybe if your business model relies so heavily on selling user data and charging exorbitant fees for microtransactions, it might be time for a change of direction.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]