2020 Gaming Trends – Part:1

As we are closing down the year of 2020, annual reports have already been published and shared all around the network. Considering market aspects, 2020 has not only changed market profiles, but also the behavior of existing customers or even the products. 

Regarding the mobile gaming industry, we can talk about some positive gains during lockdowns and even the possible continuation at least during the first quarter of 2021. Yet, there is much uncertainty holding us from reaching a verdict: global and local economics after pandemic and profound tracking changes in IOS14.

Although it is hard to guess what is waiting for us at the end of the tunnel, there are some crucial takes in 2020 that we can evaluate further in 2021 . Today, I want to talk about these changing circumstances within the gaming industry. All data I gather belongs to different sources which I also include in the post. What is written here consists of my personal interpretation of these statistics. 

  • Lockdowns had a positive impact on total amounts of installs

Perhaps to not surprise, pandemic caused a drastic shift in the gaming industry. One of the reports says that almost 40% of users’ video games preferences and habits have changed during lockdowns. 10% of them think this change is to continue. Also, according to the same report, in terms of gaming devices in 2020, smartphones have taken the lead followed by desktops/laptop computers.

In 2019, global mobile game revenue grew to $68.5B. Estimations show that by the end of 2020, that number will hit $76.7B – a 12% increase- together with 2.2 million mobile gamers worldwide.

  • Yes, mobile gaming continues to dominate the gaming industry

As it is already known, time spent on mobile web is gradually declining, while time spent in apps is steadily increasing. Adjust statistics prove upheaval in mobile installs beyond. In the last week of March, the total amount of installs in the gaming category saw more than double increase compared to last year, as populations across the globe have been spending more time stranded at home.

If we break games down into different types, total installs in hyper casual (those depend their app monetisation very mostly on IAA) games grows more than 50% in 2020 compared to 2019. Casual and (to some extent) mid-core games also have shown positive growth although it is not as significant as in hyper casual games. On the other hand, hardcore installs haven’t almost differed in 2020. These numbers are a clear sign that beginner gamers preferred an easy start during pandemic.

However, this increase in specific categories may be an artificial spike. Appsflyer 2020 Trend Report shows that overall non-organic installs(NOI) in gaming starts a diminishing trend in May and it ended in September on a point lower than NOI level of September 2019. Hyper causal, mid-core  and casual games experience the most subsequent changes through 2020 similar to this overall scenario.

  • Regional Statistics

In 2019, APAC region’s revenue from the games market amounted to 72.2 billion U.S. dollars which is more than double the North American gaming market. APAC’s share in gaming is alone almost 50%. The video gaming industry is now estimated to $159.3 Billion revenue by the end 2020, which is 9.3% higher than 2019.

North America and APAC regions (especially China, Japan and S. Korea) are taking the leads in global video game revenue as in the past. Same rules are expected to apply for 2021.

Regarding mobile gaming applications, hyper causal game apps had the most significant spike across regions. Latin America and APAC regions had their profound jump by 10% in gaming revenue compared to 2019’s.  Hyper casual and casual app games have grown in APAC region especially among Android users. However, hardcore and casual app categories have positive trend in Australia and New Zeeland during the first 3 quarter of 2020. 

In the LATAM region hyper casual app installs have jumped more than 50% in Q1-Q3 2020 whereas hard core games installs surged in Brazil.

Conclusion:

2020 created a massive challenge in each industry, demanding marketers to understand customer data and deliver better experiences. Speaking about gaming -regardless of the device- users always seek for new titles. For this reason, in a industry with a high-churn risk and 2021 is expected to be much more dynamic and surprising than the past.

That’s why I decided to split 2020 statistics into two posts. As you understood, today’s post covers general industry aspects. In the second post I will discuss different indexes such as remarketing, user acquisition efforts and changes in different marketing platforms.

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