Theoretically, when working on your game setting, there is no necessity of considering your game genre. While it is correct, recent research of AppMagic encourages you to consider how you could pair your genre and the game setting for the optimal outcome since some settings do fantastic within some genres. In contrast, some duos got rather uninspiring CPIs and download rates.
The research data consists of the top 4,000 games in the Tier-1 West region. All the graphs are taken from the said research article.
I will rundown the takeaways from the data and ignore the technical analysis. If you are interested in more detailed knowledge about the data or the methodology, I strongly suggest you visit their article.
In terms of the revenue
One can evaluate the success of a mobile app from two different perspectives: Revenue and downloads. Since both approaches offer insights in their way, both are taken.
The black line in the graph visualizes how cumulative revenues of all the titles of the listed genres differ in Tier-1 West countries. According to the data, the Slots genre leads the other genres in revenue generation.
One takeaway from the graph is the uneven distribution of game settings across game genres, which supports the thesis of the study.
When the same games are taken in setting-genre distribution, the graph above is obtained. The black line shows the number of games for each genre in this graph, which indicates the weak correlation between the number of games and the revenue of genres.
Before drawing your conclusion, try to understand the reasoning behind the weakness of the correlation. An oligopoly of a few games might run the genre and generate all revenue, or the gain might be developed by a few successful games of the genre. It will be wise to do your own analysis about the setting/genre you are targeting.
In terms of the downloads
Let’s approach the numbers in a downloads-oriented manner.
The black line visualizes the total number of downloads in each genre as of December 2021. Another important note is the downloads; they are scaled logarithmically because of the gap between the downloads of hyper-casual and other genres.
Compared to the list of top-grossing genres, the selection of most downloaded genres differs a lot. The priority of revenue/audience causes this difference; some games have —unlike their quantity of downloads— great loan-to-values (LTV) regardless of their narrow audience, while others are —mostly casual and hyper-casual games— driven by the numbers of downloads in their regards.
The relationship between core games and the choice of niche settings is evident. While limiting the audience, these settings offer developers setting-special ways for higher retain.
The graph above visualizes the number of games of each genre related to settings. The black line shows the number of games.
The total number of games tagged as “Real Life” is 945, making up 25% of all the games in the research. They make 31% of cumulative downloads and create 12% incremental revenue ($210M of $1755M).
The “Real Life” has always been considered the most popular and inclusive (in terms of target audience) for one reason: Relatability. This genre consists of characters and objects from daily life, and the audience grasps the aim of those games without effort. Better retention comes with easier-to-understand games, and Real Life is no exception. This setting lacks imagination and supernaturality, which can be easily masked within the technical limitations of Casual and Hyper casual games. This is the reason for the popularity of the setting among these two genres.
Real Life is not widespread across top-grossing genres. That’s because other genres tend to utilize more dressed settings, like Fantasy. They squeeze the power of imagination and the options that power offers which Real Life fails to use. Those settings are also viable since they enhance user engagement with flashy equipment and striking graphics. Higher engagement means more monetization opportunities; if you can provide the infrastructure that those settings demand, you can go for more obscure themes in your game.
Another setting that is highly popular across Casual games is Fairy. The Fairy can be your go-to setting if you aim to be cute and target the younger audience.
As you see, some ‘unique’ settings like Sci-fi, Cyberpunk, and Steampunk are not in the graphs. If you are developing a game in a setting like those, remember that games with these settings attract a tiny audience.
If you are developing a game, check if you can find the pair of a setting and genre and then check the numbers. Choosing a setting is a crucial decision, and how your choice of setting performs within your genre carries great importance. After all, the match alone will define the size of your target audience. Be mindful of the numbers.