Hidden gems in the 2022 mobile gaming market

AppMagic published a report in collaboration with Niko Partners, which reveals lucrative opportunities in the mobile gaming market in a challenging year. Opportunities, if analyzed correctly, can be utilized in the coming year too.
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The mobile game market experienced a challenging year in 2022, with user spending dropping for the first time by approximately 5%. However, downloads continued to increase, primarily due to growth in developing countries. Rather than focusing on the difficulties, it is essential to highlight the genres that performed well, presenting potential opportunities for 2023

Casual games had a successful year in 2022, with BTS Island and Mergeland-Alice’s Adventure ranking among the biggest Match-3 and Merge-3 titles released in the past two years. The report analyzes genres based on the number of titles released and the number of successful titles generating over $50,000 in monthly revenue.

The Merge-2 genre was the leading trend in casual games in 2022, with a strong market growth of 102% YoY (year-over-year) and six successful releases out of 100 titles. All ten successful Merge-2 titles in 2022 utilized the order system initially popularized by Love&Pies. Gossip Harbor ultimately adopted L&P’s gameplay loop and became one of the highest-grossing Merge-2 games in 2022. The market is still open to new entrants, and the top six successful Merge-2 games in 2022 earn more than $100,000 a month, with Gossip Harbor’sHarbor’s monthly revenue of more than $2 million.

Match-3 Tile games had a revenue downtrend for the first half of 2022 but then surged by 85%, despite dipping 12% regarding downloads. Triple Match 3D by Boombox Games is the new star of the genre, revolutionizing core gameplay by adding an order system and a tight countdown, making it more challenging and increasing engagement. While according to revenue, Triple Match 3D dominates the market, downloads are distributed more evenly. The game nears $13 in RpD (revenue per download), but can it sustain engagement through Live-Ops to scale up further?

Idle Tycoon Games had 241 titles released in 2022, with a 4.2% success rate and ten successful titles. The market shrunk throughout the year but still finished 30% up YoY. Although older titles experienced a dip in revenue, new titles showed promising upward trends. The genre had the highest number of successful releases among the top 100 casual games. The combined revenue of the top 20 titles released in 2022 amounted to nearly $3 million per month, presenting great potential for experienced teams with comparatively low production costs.

Farming games saw a decline in the hype in 2022 compared to the previous year, with no standout titles released. Despite this, the market still grew by 11%, indicating the strength of the mature niche. The development cycle for farming games can be lengthy so that big hits may appear in the future. However, with only one successful title in 2022, the risk/reward ratio isn’t desirable, as production costs and duration far exceed those of Merge-2 or Idle Tycoon games.

Survivor.io by Habby was the standout success in the Survival Arena genre in 2022, inspiring other developers to imitate and modify its formula. Habby’s previous success with Archero in 2019 cemented its reputation as a game-changing developer in the industry. With only 3% of games achieving success in the genre, Survivor.io’s success is a testament to the importance of innovation and uniqueness in game development.

In 2022, the Core games market saw notable releases like Diablo Immortal and Marvel Snap but faced declining revenues in RPG, Strategy, and Adventure genres. These declines were attributed to factors like the loss of audience targeting capabilities for publishers following ATT (app tracking transparency) restrictions and the impact of the global economic recession on consumer spending. Additionally, regulatory headwinds in markets such as China contributed to the struggles faced by Asian markets.

In 2022, the Shooter games market experienced a decline, with publishers seeking ways to avoid app store fees by implementing third-party payment systems. Despite the successful release of Apex Legends, the market still declined. The cancellations of EA’s Apex and Battlefield further hindered chances for a market rebound. The Core segment declined by around 10% in every genre except for shooter games. Shooter games took the biggest hit, with a 30% drop in cumulative revenue for the top 100 titles.

The full version of the report offers insights according to the data. The report also provides Nico Partners’Partners’ insights on the Asian and Middle-Eastern markets and comparisons with western markets. You can access the full version of the Mobile Gaming in 2022 report.

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