By Alejandro Caminos, journalist, screenwriter and G&M News’ collaborator.
Mobile gaming industry is a fast growing business. One of its strongest features is accessibility, with a greater number of players able to enjoy this entertainment from their cell phones, located anywhere in the world. There’s no need for a console, a physical game or a joystick. In the United States, this sector is really booming. According to the consultancy company 42 Matters, which analyzes games in the Google Play Store, of the 169,735 game publishers worldwide, more than 10,000 are from the USA (a 6% of the total). In that market, there are more than 29,000 USA games out of a total of 434,573 titles.
With an average of more than 700,000 downloads, USA games get more downloads than the total average of all mobile games, which accumulates over 422,000. Another highlight is ratings, an important reference for players before downloading games. USA titles have an average of 3.51 out of a total of five stars. In this sense, the consulting firm remarks that it is lower than the general rating of 3.70.
One feature that stands out in this industry is the micro-payment system. A player pays to obtain improvements, get cosmetics or rare objects within a video game or to enhance his/her own experience. This is one of the possibilities for developers to monetize their products. In the United States, 34% of the games have this modality, a high number compared to the 20% of other titles worldwide. Besides, 15% are paid applications, against the general 5%. However, only 67% include advertisement. This is a lower value compared to the world, where 73% of games have ads.
TOP USA PUBLISHERS BASED ON DOWNLOADS
Imangi Studios was founded in 2008, but became known worldwide in 2011. The reason for its recognition was Temple Run, an infinite running game in which a player must lead his character through a kind of temple complex and help him to escape from demon monkeys. With a total of more than 500 million downloads and a score of 4.1, it is the most downloaded game of the Google Play Store. The success of this unique game spawned three sequels and The New York Times highlighted its popularity even above Zynga studio, creator of Farmville. According to 42 Matters, the studio has four games and a combined total of downloads estimated at more than 1.35 billion.
Second is Lion Studios, which is a subsidiary of AppLovin. In total, they own 75 mobile games. Most important ones are ID Please-Club Simulation and Idle Makeover, among others. All of these games have been downloaded together more than 1.34 billion times. It also should be noted that this studio is used to helping other developers in the dissemination and advertising of their games.
Among the largest publishers is Play365, also known as BoxitSoft. Originally, this is an Argentinean mobile gaming company founded in 2011 that manages and produces its projects entirely in-house. It has 27 titles, which have already been downloaded more than 600 million times. The top 5 is completed by Glu (65 games and 516+ million downloads) and i6 Games (207 titles and 460+ million downloads).
FAVORITE PLAYERS’ GAMES
This research included several categories within games. Among Us (Innersloth) leads the table with more than 100 million downloads. Although it was released in 2018, this product reached its maximum growth in recent months, during pandemic.
In the Top USA Grossing Games category, Pokémon Go ranks third with over 100 million downloads, after Genshin Impact (#1) and Coin Master (#2). Pokémon is a license from the Japanese Nintendo, but the developer of this augmented reality game is the USA is Niantic.
Other categories to mention are strategy games, with a fourth place in the ranking for Star Trek: Fleet Command (Scopely), thanks to its more than 5 million downloads. In action games, Call of Duty Mobile (Activision Publishing) ranks second, with 100+ million downloads. In simulation category, USA is present with Design Home: Play + Save (Crowdstar Inc.), which has 50+ million downloads. Despite these numbers, there are three categories that seem not to be entirely friendly to the North American mobile gamers: arcade titles (just a 7th place with Cooking Craze, from Big Fish Games), racing games (Offroad Outlaws, from developer Battle Creek Games, in 5th place), and casual games, segment in which United States publishers practically does not participate.