2019 4Q Quarterly Gaming Report

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2019 4Q Quarterly Market Report

The final quarter of 2019 has produced a fair volume of news about the casual/mobile gaming market, including end-of-the-year stats, announcements by major gaming firms and social media platforms, new releases, and top games and companies for the year.

End-of-the-Year Stats

  • Global mobile gaming revenue reached $68.5 billion, far more than console gaming's $47.9 billion.
  • Out of 792,000 app publishers (both Google Play and the Apple App Store), 108,000 (15%) are game publishers.
  • Mobile games "account for 33% of all app downloads, 74% of consumer spend and 10% of all time spent in-app," with almost 1/3 (2.4 billion) of the world's population playing mobile games.
  • 50% of mobile app users play games, putting this category on par with music apps (e.g., Spotify and Apple Music).
  • Mobile game revenue is outpacing PC gaming to the extent that by 2022, PC market share will drop below 20%, with mobile and tablet gaming taking 46% and consoles taking 31%.

Q4 News

  • Xbox has entered the casual gaming market with the announcement that its Project xCloud will be "expanding the 'Designed for Xbox' ecosystem to include mobile gaming." They are working with "experienced partners" like "8bitDo, Gamevice, HORI, PowerA, Razer, and more" to provide more choices for Xbox gaming on mobile devices.
  • While Google Stadia has targeted serious gamers, Apple Arcade spent the last quarter developing a library and a price point ($60/year) oriented towards casual gaming. By November, Apple Arcade (launched in September) has expanded its catalog to over 100 games, most exclusive to the platform, including:
    • The Enchanted World
    • Where Cards Fall
    • Ultimate Rivals: The Rink
    • Sayonara Wild Hearts (Apple Arcade's Game of the Year).
  • According to a report released by Facebook towards the end of the year (available here), "Hyper-casual games are dominating the download charts," with 75% of mobile gamers willing to accept in-game ads in return for free games. Facebook VP of Global Gaming Rick Kelley, notes that these hyper-casual games create "a funnel for people to play potentially more engaging games, from casual and on down the line. That’s something we’ve taken notice of."
  • In addition, the study found that community gamers were 2 to 4 times more likely (depending on location) to say that the in-game community is likely to influence their decision to download a mobile game and to play for 3+ hours a day.
  • Competitive mobile gaming's third season ended with the ESL Mobile Open finals at DreamHack Atlanta on November 15. LG's G8XThinQ with LG Dual Screen dominated thanks to providing users with "a full, unobstructed view of the game on one display while controlling the action via the LG Game Pad on the other display."
  • In October, Activision Blizzard launched Call of Duty: Mobile, developed by Chinese gaming company Tencent. Within the first month, the game was downloaded 148 million times, putting it in the top ten games downloaded in 2019 despite the late launch and delay in approval for the Chinese market. This provides a strong start as Activision "tries to beef up its mobile lineup and improve its growth prospects." As a result, analysts expect Activision to grow revenue by 13% in 2020 and reach $2.60 per share.
  • According to a report released by App Annie in October, Generation Z "spends less time and had fewer sessions than older generations in mobile games," with younger Millennials (age 25 and above) spending 30% longer and playing 20% more sessions. However, Gen Z still spends 6+ hours/month gaming, though they are more reluctant to make in-app purchases.

Q4 2019 New Releases

The following were released in Q4 2019 according to the date stamps in Google Play:

  • Johnny Trigger
  • Forge Ahead
  • Bubble Sort Color Puzzle Game
  • Jumanji: Epic Run
  • Brain Puzzle: 3D Games
  • Ice Scream Episode 2: Horror Neighborhood
  • Hotel Empire Tycoon - Idle Game Manager Simulator
  • Idle Robbery
  • Monopoly
  • Farming Simulator
  • Vodobanka Pro
  • Unknown Knights
  • Transforming Mars

Top Games in 2019

According to App Annie, the top mobile games worldwide for 2019 are:

  • Free Fire (Garena)
  • PUBG Mobile (Tencent)
  • Subway Surfers (Kiloo)
  • Color Bump 3D (Good Job Games)
  • Fun Race 3D (Good Job Games)
  • Run Race 3D (Good Job Games)
  • My Talking Tom 2 (Outfit7)
  • Homescapes (Playrix)
  • Stack Ball (Azur Interactive Games)
  • Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision)

Top Game Companies

According to BuiltIn, the "leaders driving the mobile revolution" at the end of 2019 include:

  • Annapurna Interactive
  • Borderleap
  • Butterscotch Shenanigans
  • Capybara Games
  • Cerberus Interactive
  • EA Mobile
  • Foxnext Games
  • Glu Mobile
  • Jam City
  • Machine Zone
  • N3twork
  • Niantic
  • Nintendo
  • Noodlecake Studios
  • Pocket Gems
  • Roblox
  • Scopely
  • Sirvo
  • Snowman
  • Zach Gage

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