Everyone knew 2020 was a profitable year for mobile gaming, but new analysis from Sensor Tower revealed that the majority of new revenue came from simulation games. In fact, Roblox alone pulled in $764.4 million throughout 2020 – driving the overall growth of the simulation genre.
All told, US consumer spending in mobile simulation games rose 62% last year compared to 2019, and its top 100 games grossed $2 billion. The two main drivers of that growth were Roblox and Township, two increasingly popular free-to-play games. Broken down further, the largest subgenre for player spending was Sandbox, generating over $936 million in revenue – 86% more than we saw in 2019.
Sensor Tower notes that nearly all growth for the subgenre was driven by Roblox, accounting for $764.4 million.
Despite the massive growth in revenue, Simulation games only saw a modest increase in player base. Compared to 2019, last year only saw downloads grow 11.2%. That’s still enough to make it the third fastest-growing genre based on installs, but is dwarfed by the 19.5% growth of Puzzle games and the massive 27.5% growth of Casino games.
When taken together, mobile gaming seems to be in a pretty good spot. “Some genres were clearly able to grow last year in terms of new players, while the growth in revenue suggests an increase in both new users and engagement of existing players, with spending experiencing a longtail from an initial increase in installs,” reads the Sensor Tower report.
While it’s still too early to tell if this trend will carry over into 2021, Sensor Tower indicates that “players appear to be more engaged than ever.” Mobile gaming has a lot more to offer in 2021 than it did just 5 years ago, and it seems that the extended lockdown has given people a chance to explore the App Store and Google Play’s impressive roster. And, with Roblox continuing to pump out new content, it’s bound to remain a high earner in the coming months.
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- Game News
Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.
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