As the pandemic rages, games and mobile applications are a kind of balm. So much so, 2020 will be a successful year for games and mobile applications, according to a report by the firm Mobile Insights App Annie and market researcher IDC.
The report takes up a common theme in games: mobile is the main driver of growth in the consumption of digital games. And the pandemic is strengthening mobile leadership in games.
Forecasters expect record levels of app downloads and consumer spending in app stores. During COVID-19, weekly mobile downloads broke records in the first quarter, reaching 1.2 billion downloads at a peak in the quarter ended the week April 11. Worldwide, users downloaded 35% of mobile games per week in March compared to January. Players downloaded 30% more mobile games per week in April than in January.
Mobile gaming first overtook home game consoles and PC and Mac games for consumer spending in 2014, and its lead has widened considerably since then. In 2020, mobile gaming spending is expected to expand their lead to more than 2.8 times over PC games and 3.1 times more than home game consoles.
But the launch of new Sony and Microsoft consoles, as well as the growth of games in the pandemic, will spur new growth for the console industry.
App Annie and IDC said games accounted for almost 70% of global consumer spending on iOS and Google Play in the first quarter of 2020, while they accounted for 40% of downloads. Games accounted for a larger share of consumer spending on Google Play than on iOS, but consumers spent almost 50% more on games on iOS than on Google Play in the first quarter.
North America and the rest of the world gained share in game spending for iOS and Google Play in the first quarter, while spending increased in the United States and Russia. But spending in the Asia-Pacific region has declined in part due to tighter rules on approving games in China. Nintendo’s Switch sales were solid, offsetting decelerating demand for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
App Annie and IDC said consumers spend the most on portable games with real-time multiplayer and cooperative play modes. And games with multiplayer player versus live player modes have outdone others financially. These titles include Game for Peace (as PlayerUnknown’s battlegrounds are called in China), Lineage 2M and Coin Master.
During the quarter, the fastest growing subgenres during the peak week in the first quarter were simulation, quizzes, board games, casual games and adventure games. Action games represented the most time spent in the first quarter.
As for the PC, Steam users reached 22.5 million daily peak users in March and April, compared to 16.7 million from September to December. This equates to a 35% increase in daily Steam users and a 41% increase in the average number of concurrent users from 5 million to 7 million.
Game-related apps like Discord and Twitch are also growing. Discord has grown rapidly in France and Spain, but has also experienced good growth in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Twitch has grown, particularly outside of gaming, in various regions, including France, Spain and the United States. Video ads also saw strong growth, as even hardcore gamers had a positive attitude towards them.