According to new data, almost all mobile game genres saw a significant decline in downloads and in-app purchases during the first half of 2022 in the United States. Inflation, the global cost of living crisis, and lack of prolonged COVID lockdowns are all thought to be contributing factors.
People are not spending as much as they used to on mobile games during the pandemic
According to data collected by Sensor Tower, the mobile game market fell by 9.6 percent year-over-year to $11.4 billion. The firm analyzed 14 main game genres in H1, 2022 compared to H1, 2021, looking at revenue and downloads in each category across the App Store and Google Play.
Arcade was the fastest rising genre that saw player spending increase by 14.8 percent year-over-year to approximately $176 million.
The largest Arcade subgenre for player spending was Idler, which generated close to $88 million, up 35.3 percent Y/Y. The No. 1 Arcade game by player spending was Clawee from Gigantic, which generated $16.5 million in the U.S. during the first half of the year. It was followed by Gold & Goblins from AppQuantum Publishing at No. 2, and Idle Mafia from Century Games at No. 3.
Analyzing just Q2 2022, Arcade was still the fastest rising genre by revenue, with player spending increasing by approximately 18 percent Y/Y to $89.4 million. Hypercasual, meanwhile, ranked No. 2 with a 2.3 percent increase in player spending to $27.3 million.
In terms of spending, Puzzle was number one in the first half of 2022. The category gained $2.3 billion, a fall of 8.8 percent year-over-year.
The data further reveals that the Action genre saw the fastest growth in downloads during the first half of 2022, compared to the same period last year., rising by 5.4% year-over-year.
The top Action subgenre for downloads was Action Sandbox, which saw downloads climb by 2.3 percent Y/Y to 15.7 million installs. The No. 1 Action game for downloads was Genshin Impact from miHoYo, which accumulated 2.3 million downloads, followed by Galaxy Attack: Space Shooter from Rocket Go Global at No. 2 and Galaxy Attack: Alien Shooter, also from Abigames, at No. 3.
The Sports genre was another category that did not see a year-over-year decline at 66 million installs. Simulation saw the slowest decline out of the genres that experienced a dip in revenue.
As for the challenges the mobile game industry saw, the ending of social distancing restrictions, inflation, privacy changes, etc, have all had an impact.
The U.S. mobile games market has faced significant challenges during the first half of 2022. Overall U.S. mobile game revenue fell by 9.6 percent Y/Y to $11.4 billion, while downloads declined by 2.5 percent to 2.4 billion. Looking at just 2Q22, revenue decreased by 11.4 percent Y/Y to $5.6 billion, though downloads were largely flat at 1.2 billion.
In addition to this, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency is also causing mobile game developers to miss out on revenue since advertisers can only display generic ads to users who opt out of cross-app tracking.