- Gaming apps drove 74% of spending in app stores last year, demonstrating the power of gaming content among mobile users, according to a new report from analytics firm App Annie. The company found that 33% of all mobile downloads worldwide consisted of gaming apps, which also made up 10% of the total time spent on mobile devices.
- Spending on games in Apple's App Store and Google Play grew 15% last year, and the App Store drove 64% of that spending, App Annie found. Google Play's share of global downloads grew to 72% last year from 46% in 2012, but its share of spending stalled at about 34% to 38% since 2014.
- "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite," a location-based, augmented reality (AR) game due for wide release this year, is forecast to generate $100 million in revenue during its first 30 days of availability, App Annie estimates.
App Annie's study, released this week as the gaming industry convenes for the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, is another indication of how mobile devices have popularized video games among a wider group of consumers than just owners of specialized gaming computers and consoles, such as Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. Mobile gaming is 20% bigger than all other forms of video games combined, per App Annie, creating a broader, more diverse audience for advertisers to reach through in-game ads.
Games not only drive significant spending in app stores, but they also are becoming an important advertising channel for mobile marketers. U.S. spending on in-game ads will grow 16% to $3.25 billion this year from $2.8 billion in 2018, eMarketer forecast. The figure mostly consists of mobile gaming because console game platforms typically aren't ad-supported. Game developers have mostly depended on in-app purchases (IAP) to monetize their content, but they're seeking to diversify revenue as in-game advertising swells, according to a survey by DeltaDNA.
Meanwhile, the growing appeal of mobile gaming has led tech companies to develop dedicated platforms that monetize content through subscriptions and advertising. Facebook last month expanded its rewarded video and playable ads to mobile game developers that belong to its Audience Network, the company's in-app ad network that tracks mobile users across the internet. The total number of game publishers using Audience Network grew more than 50% last year, the company said. Apple plans to depend on subscription revenue for its gaming service, Arcade, which will charge a flat fee for access to more than 100 exclusive video games without ads, ad tracking or additional purchases. Snapchat plans to monetize its recently announced gaming platform with non-skippable six-second commercials, and doesn't have in-app purchases in its games.