Puzzle genre rakes in $42B, swap games lead with $25B -report

Puzzle games on your phone are a big deal, and a new report from Sensor Tower tells us why they’re so popular. These games have been downloaded a whopping 50 billion times in total, and they’ve made a staggering $42 billion in revenue. People love them because they offer engaging and brain-teasing fun. 

Among all the types of puzzle games, ones where you swap things around, like Candy Crush Saga and Royal Match, are the most loved. They’ve been downloaded eight billion times, 16% of all downloads, and they’ve made $25 billion in revenue, 59% of the total earnings. These games are still growing strong, with more people downloading them (8% increase) and spending money on them (6% increase) from January 2022 to May 2023.

Pair games, where you match things up, also did well during this time. They made 47% more money and got 14% more downloads. Merge games, where you combine stuff, made more money (28% increase) but got fewer downloads (28% decrease).

The fastest-growing puzzle games were the ones you play in real-time. They saw a big jump in downloads (103% increase) and earnings (64% increase) from January 2022 to May 2023. Two games, Tetris and Traffic Jam Fever, drove this growth.

Candy Crush Saga was the most successful puzzle game during this period, followed by Gardenscapes and Homescapes. Even though Royal Match beat Candy Crush Saga in both downloads and money in July 2023, it still came in tenth place.

It’s interesting to note that Merge Mansion, despite having actor Pedro Pascal in its ads, didn’t make it to the top ten list.

Sensor Tower also pointed out that the top 10 puzzle games used different ways to make money and exciting features like levels, stories, and social stuff. All ten had things you could buy, live events, and treasure chests. Except for Line: Disney Tsum Tsum and Toy Blast, they all had starter packs. Only Line: Disney Tsum Tsum and Royal Match didn’t have ads, and none of the other eight let you pay to get rid of ads.

The swapping genre was the top money-maker in puzzle games in all four regions Sensor Tower looked at: China, Japan, Europe, and the USA. China was the biggest money-maker for this genre, with 83% of the money in 2022. Europe followed with 71%, then Japan with 53%, and the USA with 58%.

Simple puzzle games that anyone can play still did really well. They got downloaded 32.9 billion times in total and made $41.3 billion. But from January 2022 to May 2023, fewer people downloaded them (a 5.93% decrease), and they made a little less money (a 0.13% decrease). In contrast, games that are a mix of simple and more complex (hybrid-casual) did great. More people downloaded them (a 9.19% increase), and they made a lot more money (a huge 429.67% increase). Among all puzzle game types, only the hybrid-casual games got more downloads. 

Mobile gaming is a rapidly growing industry. A recent report predicts that 56% of the money people spend on gaming will go to mobile games this year. It is also expected to grow 2.6%, producing $187.7 billion in revenue. Additionally, mobile games make up around 30% of all subscription-based apps

Written by Jordan Bevan


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