Global player spending in mobile games declined for the first time in the first and second quarters of 2022, after skyrocketing during the pandemic and peaking at $22.6 billion in Q1 2021.
Sensor Tower’s new report found that player spending couldn’t catch up with the pandemic-driven surge in 2021, dropped 6% year-over-year to $21.2 billion in Q1, and decreased even further, 6.9%, to $20.1 billion in Q2 this year.
In addition to the fading pandemic-hype, the decrease is likely due to the inflation, rising costs of living and Apple’s controversial IDFA changes, according to the report.
Mid-core mobile games drove 60% of player spending in H1
Mid-core games generated 60% of global player spending during the first half of 2022, with the RPG genre accounting for nearly 50% of all mid-core games revenue. It was followed by the Strategy genre with 36%.
Casual games, on the other hand, accounted for 78% of global game downloads in H1 2022. While mid-core games drove the majority of player spending, they accounted for only 14% when it comes to downloads.
Player spending in mobile games to decrease in 2022
Global player spending in mobile games is expected to decrease 2.3% year-over-year to $86 billion in 2022. However, Sensor Tower predicts that the revenue will bounce back starting in 2023 and will reach $117 billion in 2026, with the mobile game industry growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of $5.6%.
While the total mobile game revenue is expected to drop in 2022, the App Store revenue is expected to increase $1 billion this year to $53 billion in total. Google Play revenue, on the other hand, is projected to fall by 8.3% Y/Y to $33 billion.
Asian countries continues to dominate the MMORPG market
The report also found that users in South Korea, China and Japan combined accounted for 80% of all player spending in MMORPG titles in the first half of 2022.
While MMORPG’s have struggled to establish influence in markets outside of Asia, they managed to grow their downloads by 5% Y/Y in the United States, which accounted for almost 10% of all MMORPG installs.
Sensor Tower also recently revealed that the top 1% of publishers drove 91% of overall app revenue in H1 2022, and brand app installs reached 85 million in the US during the second quarter.