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Sensor Tower: Mobile game revenue grew 18% in the first half of 2021

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Consumers have spent a lot more on mobile gaming so far this year. Mobile game revenues hit $44.7 billion in the first half of 2021 on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, according to industry intelligence service Sensor Tower. This was a record for a first-half period, and it represents year-over-year growth of 17.9% for spending.

Both Google and Apple saw spending increases when you break down by store. The App Store’s game revenue jumped 13.5% year-over-year to $26 billion. Google Play, meanwhile, bounced up 24.7% year-over-year to $18.7 billion. This growth indicates a desire among audiences on iOS and Android devices for easy-to-access entertainment.

Sensor Tower’s data also suggests that people were engaging more deeply with fewer games. Because while spending was up, game downloads fell 1.4% across the App Store and Google Play. This decline primarily happened on iOS where downloads dropped 22.8% year-over-year to 4.4 billion. Google Play, however, saw an increase in game downloads of 3.9% to 23.7 billion.

The decline of new game installs could mean that more people are finding their “forever” game. That means mobile players are finding a game that they play the same way that some fans have played World of Warcraft for 15 years. Sensor Tower’s data could also reflect that people are trying fewer but better games thanks to services like Apple Arcade. That curated subscription program could prevent iPhone owners from having to sift through free games on the App Store.

Here are the top grossing mobile games for the first half of 2021:

  1. Honor of Kings
  2. PUBG Mobile (includes Game For Peace for iOS in China)
  3. Genshin Impact
  4. Roblox
  5. Coin Master

And here are the most downloaded games:

  1. Join Clash 3D
  2. Garena Free Fire
  3. High Heels
  4. Bridge Race
  5. Among Us

Overall spending on apps and games on the mobile stores increased 24.8% to $64.9 billion.


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