Gaming app sessions grew 3% in January 2024

According to the most recent Gaming App Insights Report by Adjust and AppLovin, gaming app downloads experienced a 7% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2023. Additionally, gaming app sessions surged by 3% in January 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

According to the report, Subway Surfers claimed the title of the most popular game in 2023, amassing a staggering 304 million downloads. On iOS, Monopoly GO! took the lead with 49 million downloads. Meanwhile, Honor of Kings emerged as the highest-grossing game on both iOS and Android platforms in 2023, raking in an estimated $1.48 billion in earnings. Following closely behind was PUBG Mobile, with earnings of $1.14 billion, trailing by $300 million.

In 2023, action games constituted the largest share of gaming app installs, capturing 18% of the total, closely trailed by hyper casual and puzzle games, each at 14%. Casual games accounted for 9%, while simulation games secured 7%. 

Analyzing gaming sessions, action games claimed an even larger portion, commanding 27% of the pie. Following closely were sports and puzzle games, both at 12%, while board games comprised 7%. Casual games accounted for 6% of sessions, while hyper casual and RPG games each captured 5%.

Despite having the same cost per click as hyper casual games, hybrid casuals boast a click-through rate that is two percentage points higher. Furthermore, the average revenue per monthly active user for hybrid casual games is significantly higher, with an impressive increase of 800%.

Although overall gaming installs and sessions did not perform exceptionally well in 2023, several subverticals experienced significant growth. Racing games witnessed a remarkable surge of 61% in downloads, while simulation games saw a substantial increase of 53%, and arcade games also flourished with a notable growth of 38%. Moreover, arcade games enjoyed a healthy boost of 19% in sessions, followed by adventure games at 7% and simulation games at 6%.

From 2022 to 2023, the proportion of organic installs to gaming apps decreased notably from 57% to an even 50%, signaling a decline in organic interest alongside a potential incremental drop due to the overall decrease in paid activity. Nonetheless, word and strategy games experienced an uptick in their organic share, rising from 40% to 44% and 64% to 65%, respectively. Conversely, arcade games witnessed the most substantial decline, plummeting from 49% organic installs to 39%.

Analyzing regional data, APAC led in organic downloads in 2023 with a share of 48%, trailed by EMEA at 41%, North America at 36%, and LATAM at 33%. Among countries, Singapore boasted the highest organic share at 38%, followed closely by the United States, Indonesia, and Japan, each at 35%.

In 2023, in-app revenue for gaming apps witnessed a significant 6% year-over-year increase, indicating a positive trend despite the overall decline in engagement. This surge was particularly pronounced in December, with in-app revenue soaring 17% above the annual average and experiencing a 21% year-over-year rise, coinciding with the spike in installs in the fourth quarter. The report anticipates that these figures will continue to ascend throughout 2024, as evidenced by a 13% year-over-year increase observed in January 2024.

Written by Sophie Blake


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