The relentless rise of RPGs in mobile gaming: An in-depth analysis

How did a genre whose core players allegedly shuns mobile games, and which can pose challenges for developers, reach the most loyal audience?

First, this article should start by reminding us that RPG games have a richer, longstanding history than most of the well-known genres of video games.

This genre, which is rooted in tabletop games and therefore either relies on great lore or, more complicated, has to create that lore itself, was starting to find its feet on the console side (at least with the isometric CRPG format), let alone mobile games. Naturally, RPG stands for PC, and the most magnificent titles of the genre met their followers on this platform. So, at least until recently, we thought this way.

Of course, many factors contribute to the rise of the RPG genre on mobile platforms, and we will also talk about them. However, first of all, it should be noted that what we mentioned in the previous paragraph is still valid today in general terms. Things like veteran RPG gamers waiting for Diablo Immortal on their phones on the first day are not everyday occurrences. Getting seasoned PC-RPG players to play an RPG game on the phone is still tricky.

Naturally, before pointing out the increase in the number of players, it should be noted that this audience is a fresh audience that can be called a “new RPG audience.”

When it comes to the mainstream, mobile gaming has evolved, especially in the last two years, from hyper-casual games to more complex, story-driven experiences that rival their console counterparts. Among the various genres, RPGs have also seen a significant rise, becoming a major force in the mobile gaming market. The reasons for this surge can be characterized by several aspects, encompassing technological advances, new market strategies, and changing consumer interests.

Technological Developments

Of course, smartphones continue to develop at a rapid pace, and at this point, they are at a point where they can even surpass the eighth-generation consoles of ten years ago in terms of raw power. This is one of the main drivers of the rise of RPGs on mobile platforms. Modern smartphones have more powerful processors, larger and higher resolution displays, and longer battery life. All of these contribute to a more immersive gaming experience. These technological advances also allow developers to create sophisticated RPGs once impossible on mobile platforms. In other words, leaving aside market choices and the much more humble size of the teams, the “technical capability” part of the business is a thing of the past.

The mobile gaming market may have lost momentum after the pandemic, but it still maintains its strength, with statistics showing that it generated over $ 184 billion in revenue in 2022. It’s also estimated that the market will reach $ 211 billion by 2025. In this developing market, the RPG genre has also gained an important and unexpected place for itself, capturing a significant share of mobile gaming revenues. In 2020, RPGs grabbed 21.3% of mobile gaming revenues due to their popularity in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea, and hold on tight, and the West is about to join the trend.

New Monetisation Strategies

The monetization strategies commonly employed by mobile RPGs have been hugely influential in their success in the market. While in-app purchases (IAPs) remain the most critical source of revenue, games such as Genshin Impact have “led the way” by combining IAPs with live-ops to keep players engaged and spending.

In addition, the acceptance of in-game ads, especially rewarded videos and localized ads, has provided a dual revenue model that benefits players and developers.


Undoubtedly, changing player interests has played an essential role in the rise of RPGs. Players are moving away from marketing materials disguised as games and are increasingly looking for deeper, more engaging content that feels more complete. RPGs can fulfill these desires through storytelling, character development, and gameplay. Plus, the social aspects of mobile RPGs, such as multiplayer features and community events, encourage a sense of cohesion among players, further boosting the genre’s popularity.

The rise of RPGs in mobile will undoubtedly have various outcomes for the market. First, it has enabled even smaller studios to reach niche, hard-to-reach audiences by prioritizing talent and competing with larger studios by focusing on innovative gameplay. Moreover, it has disrupted traditional market habits, bringing a new perspective on how games are developed, commercialized, and monetized.

The rise of RPGs in mobile gaming highlights the industry’s ever-changing landscape. Fueled by tech progress, expanding markets, shifting player tastes, and creative revenue models, RPGs have become quarterbacks within the realm of mobile games. With ongoing industry developments, it’s intriguing to anticipate the adaptations RPGs will undergo and the fresh trends that will surface moving forward.

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