The mobile gaming genre report is now available, the first of several reports exploring the genres of mobile games by Pangle and Newzoo.
They dig deeper into the main differences between the top performing mobile games in the US, UK, Japan, and South Korea. The report explores these differences in game design, user acquisition, retention, and monetization strategies.
This first report focuses on puzzle games and the contrast between Eastern and Western markets. It compares demographics and consumer preferences in four key markets.
The following reports will focus on role-playing and arcade games.
The latest statistics
In 2021, 94% of gamers play on a mobile device, making mobile the largest gaming platform (by number of players) across the East and West, thanks to the accessibility of the platform .
In addition, mobile is also the largest gaming segment in terms of revenue. Newzoo forecasts that the mobile games market will generate $ 90.7 billion in consumer spending in 2021 (excluding advertising revenue), up 4.4% year on year. Almost 64% of the $ 90.7 billion will be generated by the Asia-Pacific regions.
In fact, mobile is the number one gaming platform by revenue in all key Asian markets. In the West, although console is more important than mobile in terms of revenue, mobile is the fastest growing gaming platform.
America is the world’s largest mobile puzzle game market by revenue, spending $ 2 billion on puzzle games in 2020 and accounting for 29% of the global mobile game total as a whole in that year. Japan is the second largest market and China the third largest market for puzzle games in terms of turnover.
Classic Match-3 games are the top performing puzzle subgenre in both East and West.
The mix of IAP, IAA, and subscription monetization has become increasingly common in the puzzle space.
94% of gamers play on a mobile device, making mobile the largest gaming platform.
However, compared to puzzle games popular in the West, Japanese titles focus more on IAP, generally featuring a deeper economy. That’s thanks to the focus on character collection, progression, and gacha mechanics.
In the early days of video games in the 1980s, most classic games were puzzle games whose main gameplay revolved around the problem-solving skills of gamers.
For example, Atari Hagman guessing game players enjoyed the process of trial and error and the completion of the world. Tetris tile matching game tests spatial recognition ability.
Many of those classic puzzle games still influence games today.
The first game is known to be Shariki, a 1994 ball-matching game, but the genre gained mainstream attention with the arrival of Bejeweled, the 2001 version of PopCap Games for PC browsers.
With the growing popularity of smartphones in the late 2000s, puzzle games were among the first genres to migrate to the platform. Smartphones have crossed hardware limits and allowed different game mechanics such as physics-based items.
One of the best known examples is Angry Birds (2009). In 2012, King released Candy Crush Saga, an F2P Match-3 game that remains one of the most popular titles in the West.
Smartphones have crossed hardware limits and allowed different game mechanics.
“Puzzle games thrive on social engagement”
Many âforeverâ puzzle mobile franchises started earlier on other platforms, and so when they launched on mobile there was already an audience that recognized the name. For example, Candy Crush Saga and Cookie Jam were first released on Facebook as browser games.
Early western franchises took advantage of Facebook invitations to encourage users to bring friends to the games, while Japan is said to benefit from LINE. Puzzle games are more popular with female audiences and are younger in the East.
IP collaboration is another direction that puzzle game publishers are exploring.
Short-term leaderboards and ranking systems with friends or strangers, including team leaderboards, constantly draw players into the game.
The full report
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The comprehensive mobile game genres report, which contains in-depth information on a wide range of games, genres and markets, is available for download now.
You can find and download the full report here.