In 2021, eight mobile games generated more than $1 billion in revenue each, effectively highlighting how big mobile app stores are. This list of games includes the likes of PUBG Mobile, Honor of Kings, Genshin Impact, Roblox, Pokémon Go, and more. Some of these games are even crossing $2 billion in revenue, and will likely touch $3 billion per year in 2022.
Notably missing from the list is Fortnite, which is not available on either the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, due to Epic Games’ ongoing legal battle with both Apple and Google.
Billion-dollar mobile games
As per a report by Sensor Tower, mobile game spending will reach $89.6 billion by the end of 2021, which will result in a 12.6 percent year-over-year increase. Sensor Tower previously predicted that global consumer spending in mobile apps (gamine and non-gaming) will reach $133 billion in 2021, with the App Store alone reaching $85.1 billion.
The games in the billion-dollar list include the following and their revenues combined from App Store and Google Play from January 1st, 2021 to December 14th, 2021:
- PUBG Mobile: $2.8 billion
- Honor of Kings: $2.8 billion
- Genshin Impact: $1.6 billion
- Roblox: $1.3 billion
- Coin Master: $1.3 billion
- Pokémon Go: $1.2 billion
- Candy Crush Saga: $1.2 billion
- Garena Free Fire: $1.1 billion
With regular content updates, the revenue for these games continues to grow at a fast pace. 2021 has also been the best year in terms of earnings for most of the games on this list.
Sensor Tower notes that this list could have had another game called Uma Musume Pretty Derby, but it will fall just short of $1 billion, as it launched in February 2021, and is only available in Japan. It is still a magnificent feat for the game to earn so much despite being available only in one location.
The report also notes that Apple’s recent App Tracking Transparency (ATT) privacy feature has not really impacted the revenue for mobile games, as the revenue continues to grow for the category. The list of games that earn more than a billion-dollar revenue actually increased from five in 2020 to eight in 2021, and will likely grow further in 2022.
This year has seen the mobile games sector build on 2020’s outsized gains with further revenue growth across the market, and in spite of headwinds such as those posed by Apple’s IDFA changes on iOS. Sensor Tower forecasts that mobile game spending will reach $89.6 billion worldwide across the App Store and Google Play by the end of 2021, a rise of 12.6 percent Y/Y. This increase in revenue has been powered by titles both new and old, with each of these billion dollar hits showing just how diverse the market and its enormous audiences are, and once again how important a solid live operations strategy is for long-term success and sustainability.