Mobile Gaming 2021 Review and What to Expect for 2022

The year has started on a hype for the mobile marketing industry with many positive insights from 2021. The mobile gaming market revenue on global spending, for example, was over 90 billion USD, according to App Annie’s latest data analysis.

We’ve seen many studio mergers and acquisitions last year, which helped consolidate many studios, similarly to 2020. A DDA Agency report has found that the financial investments in Q3 2021 were 2.6 times higher than 2020's and there were 3.0 times more M&A than in 2020. Game companies have invested around 71 billion dollars in 2021 in 844 M&A operations according to Appsflyer.

mobile gaming players

In Latin America, the consumer spending on mobile games in 2021 was close to U$3.5 billion. The top 3 countries in mobile game revenue were Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina respectively, although in terms of consumer spending, Mexico spent more than Brazil. The region is known for its lower penetration of console and PC gaming, given higher prices in hardware and other import goods. Having access to smartphones is easier in LATAM, especially for Android devices, since LATAM is a big market for Chinese and Korean brands.

This makes mobile games more popular in LATAM than any other game segment. With better devices in the market and 5G technology becoming progressively more available for Android and iOS users across the continent, the online and collaborative mobile games segment is also expecting a boom in popularity.

What does all of this mean for 2022?

Statista has shared some insights for the Mobile Games market for this year, such as the projected number of users reaching 1,931.7m. Also, the average revenue per user should get close to U$ 64,66 and the total revenue for the Mobile Games segment is expected to reach U$124,905m and to keep growing steadily as it has been for the past few years like shown on the graphics below:

revenue graphic for mobile gaming
Source: Statista

users graphic for mobile gaming
Source: Statista

It’s clear that the mobile gaming vertical has deep pockets and that it grew exponentially in 2021. Now with Apple’s unique iOS 14 privacy policy and the number of players rising, plus the gaming studios mergers and acquisitions, it’s possible to assume some things:

Bigger studios will have data advantage: Besides having more money to invest in-game updates, user experience, and ads, the bigger studios that merged or acquired smaller studios will have the benefit of receiving all their existing user data available, broadening their data analytics capabilities and consumer insights to improve their user acquisition and retargeting strategies.

Smaller studios will have to use data and strategy better: Smaller or independent studios have always been at risk when compared to bigger studios, this has been the case not only in the mobile industry but also in the PC and console gaming industry as well. This is not news, but in a “post-iOS 14” world, these studios will have to adapt quickly in order to survive and thrive in this competitive environment for iOS users. Apple’s privacy policy does not mean that smaller studios won’t get any user data anymore, it just means that the user data might not be as rich or in the same quantity as before. Given this reality, it’s necessary for business intelligence professionals to understand data in a smarter way, to ensure they keep getting good industry insights to create the best user acquisition strategies.

Gaming will not be just for “gamers” anymore: Yes, your aunt who plays Candy Crush is also considered in the world of “gamers” now. This is not a new phenomenon, but the reality of “gaming is for everyone” is advancing at a faster pace than ever before. With people spending extra time in their phones ever since the pandemic hit, new social connection tech surfacing such as the “Metaverse”, virtual reality glasses becoming more popular and accessible, not to mention Gen Z creating and engaging with content almost non-stop, it’s only natural that gaming will become a part of most people’s daily activities.

In-Game Ads under the spotlight: this category of mobile ads might become even more popular across verticals given the expected increase in players and high penetration rates, with brands investing more money in campaigns that include this strategy. A smart move for ad designers, in this case, would be to mind the user experience of players and invest in in-game ads that avoid disrupting gameplays and are, instead, adapted seamlessly to the user experience. This is especially relevant when the ad is correctly targeted and compatible with the player who might be more inclined to engage with an ad that was customized based on customer insights.

To sum it up, verticals who wager on relevant, customized, modern, and user friendly ads will have a handful this year with in-game ads, as the mobile gaming industry and mobile gaming communities continue to grow at a steady pace given the recent data analysis mentioned. Do the advent of the Metaverse and more people getting on-board the virtual-reality train mean we’re entering the age of virtual augmented reality in gaming (and in social media)?

We’re curious to see how smaller studios will handle the new age of user data and how the bigger game studios will continue to pursue their mergers and acquisitions, and what that will mean for the mobile gaming industry in the long run.

If you still don’t have an ad strategy that includes mobile games, don’t worry, Rocket Lab can help you with that! Get in touch with us so we can talk more about your user acquisition and retargeting strategy for 2022!