The mobile game industry is booming, and its growth isn’t predicted to slow down anytime soon. According to data.ai’s (formerly App Annie Insights) “The State of Mobile 2021” report, mobile users downloaded 82.98 billion games in 2021. This high download rate correlates to high revenue, with SensorTower predicting player spending to reach $138 billion by 2025.
Now is the time for developers to enter the gaming industry if they haven’t already. Here are five of the highest-performing mobile game genres in 2022.
Highest performing mobile game genres
These games are easy-to-learn, effortless to play, and, quite frankly, highly addictive. Think “Flappy Bird” or “Helix Jump.” Though this genre is responsible for over 12 billion app downloads in 2022, it accounts for less than 1% of the 2021 iOS mobile-gaming revenue share. Hyper-casual games are typically free-to-play, so gamemakers rely heavily on advertising. This game type is great for beginner gamemakers to practice development, but the market saturation and need for a large player base for a successful ROI make hyper-casual games difficult to gain revenue.
Coming in second for most downloads in 2022 and first in iOS revenue share in 2021, the puzzle game type is a reliable genre to break into. Puzzle games like “Tetris” and “Candy Crush” share the simplicity and addictiveness of hyper-casual games but offer limited replay options. Requiring in-game purchases like “lives” or coins to continue playing without a wait time can lead to high revenue, making puzzle games a lucrative choice for beginner developers.
Role-playing games are another chart-topper. These games pull players in with their intricate world-building, complex gameplay, and narrative storytelling. According to the 2022 data.io report, “Genshin Impact” ranked second for consumer spending with over $3 billion in global revenue since its mobile release in 2020. Due to their in-depth nature, RPG games necessitate a skilled developer — more likely a skilled team of developers.
Strategy games test players’ decision-making skills. It is a high-revenue game type, but gamemakers must be strategic in creating strategy games. Players can become easily bored, especially if they feel a lack of progress while playing. Developers should include exclusive live event rewards, collectible mechanics, and special PVE (player vs. environment) modes to incentivize players and reduce uninstalls.
Simulation games like Microsoft’s “Flight Simulator,” “The Sims 4,” or certain games on “Roblox” bring players into another world. Players can explore careers unfamiliar to them or become a different person entirely. Statista anticipates simulation game revenue to reach $18.22 billion in 2022 with an annual growth rate of 5.42%, making this a lucrative genre to dive into for skilled gamemakers. Developers should be aware of rising developments in the metaverse like NFT real estate, though, which are reimagining the simulation game type.
Regardless of what game type a developer chooses, they should pay attention to demographic trends both overall and per game genre. Millennials and Gen Z spend the most time gaming, with the average gaming age ranging between 30 and 37; however, these age groups tend to play RPG, strategy, and MOBA games, whereas Gen X and Baby Boomers are more likely to play puzzle or sports games.
To learn more about the many genres and subgenres of mobile gaming explore these resources:
- Mobile game types 101: Know your gaming genres
- Chart-topping Mobile Game Genres
- Top Mobile Game Genres
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