The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to what constitutes “normal’ life all over the world. With lockdowns being imposed in every country, digital usage, particularly that of smartphones has surged considerably.
AppAnnie, a digital data analytics firm, recently reported a 40% YoY increase in mobile app usage in Q2 2020, with the cumulative hours consumers spent on mobile apps averaging at 200 billion per month.
While apps in the business and education categories like Google Classrooms, Zoom, and DuoLingo were popular, mobile games dominated app downloads and consumer spending. As if to accentuate this supremacy, App Annie dedicated a separate report to the breakdown of mobile gaming trends in Q2 2020.
As with mobile app usage in general, gaming apps also reached an all-time high, with 20% YoY growth in average weekly downloads, which stood at about 1.2 billion in the first week of Q2 and averaged at 1 billion per week for the rest of the quarter.
It is worth noting that before Q2, Q1 2020 – when the pandemic had just begun – held the record for the highest quarterly mobile game downloads.
14 Billion Gaming App Downloads
The combined number of gaming apps downloaded on the App Store and Google Play Store in Q2 2020 clocked in at 14 billion.
Mobile games accounted for a higher share of overall downloads on Google Play than on iOS at 45% and 30%, respectively.
Google Play Store contributed to the majority of this number, with 11 billion downloads and an individual YoY growth of 25%.
The countries with the largest mobile gaming markets were India and Brazil. India’s top spot seemed to be a result of various factors, one of them being the popularity of Ludo King, an online version of Ludo, a multi-player board game native to the country. This game also made it to the top 10 list of most downloaded games which will be discussed in detail further ahead.
In terms of growth, India and Indonesia emerged as the biggest growth drivers, signifying excellent current performance and major future potential.
On the other hand, Apple’s App Store accounted for 3 billion game downloads and saw a 20% YoY growth. Most downloads were traced back to the US and China, while the biggest growth drivers were Saudi Arabia and India.
Genres popular on the App Store were arcade, action, and simulation games, respectively. On the other hand, consumers on the Play Store showed a preference for casual, action, and board games.
Consumer Spending on Mobile Games: 15% higher than Q1
Consumers spent 15% more on game app purchases in Q2 as compared to Q1. The total consumer spending on mobile gaming apps for both app stores was an estimated $19 billion in Q2 2020.
While the growth in consumer expenditure on Google Play Store was higher than the iOS App Store’s, 25% and 20% respectively, the App Store saw larger consumer spending in terms of monetary value. However, both stores witnessed the highest consumer spending in the gaming category.
Consumers on the Google Play Store spent most on role-playing and strategy game genres which often consist of multi-player mechanics and competitive elements. Strategy games were also growth drivers, along with casual games. iOS customers also showed a preference for role-playing and strategy games, but action games also generated considerable revenue. Meanwhile, adventure games drove growth.
App Store’s largest market in terms of consumer spending was the US, a spot held by China in the previous quarter. The US was also one of the largest contributors on Google Play Store, along with Japan and South Korea.
Gaming Top 10
The report also featured a top 10 list of games based on downloads, consumer spending, and monthly active users. Additionally, the table provided comparisons with Q1.
A mixture of new and old games was seen. For instance, My Talking Tom Friends, a part of the Talking Tom Franchise was the 7th most downloaded game, despite being launched in June. Save the Girl, a game launched in two phases, first for the App Store, and then Google Play Store jumped 652 spots to gain first place in the download category.
Ludo King, which was the 5th most downloaded game and the third most played one, is believed to contribute immensely to India’s large share in gaming statistics. This game, along with the popularity of other multiplayer games that have convenient invite features such as PUBG and Free Fire, emphasises that consumers are not only looking for distractions and entertainment, but also a medium to connect with friends and family.
The numbers in this report further stress that the Asia Pacific region is a lucrative market for mobile gaming. And with this medium of gaming having overtaken console gaming, it becomes an even more crucial growth area for developers. Analysts at App Annie are of the view that the popularity of mobile games is here to stay, given the prolonged period of time the pandemic has and is further expected to span over.