A recent analysis, titled "Can't Stop, Won't Stop:2016 Mobile And VR Games Year In Review," has revealed that the mobile gaming market generated as much revenue globally in 2016 as revenue generated at the box office. While the analysis covers VR gaming as well, current limitations in VR make the information about mobile gaming are far more interesting. Results from the joint effort between Unity Technologies and SuperData Research, which were released on January 1st, even suggest that mobile gamers spend more time on their devices gaming than watching media from Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. The numbers themselves should come as no surprise, with consideration for the ever-increasing quality of mobile games and how many great games there are.
Mobile gaming generated over $40.6 billion in total revenue in 2016. In addition to that 14 percent increase in revenue generated over 2015, mobile gaming accounted for about half of the total global digital games market for the year. Android is said to have accounted for a significant portion of that, having seen a "32 percent uptick" from 2015. The overall market for mobile games also grew by 18 percent by the end of 2016 and engagement within mobile games is up as well. Mobile gamers are averaging around 30 minutes of game-time per sitting, which is a 19 percent increase from the previous year. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the Asian market was responsible for the bulk of revenue, totaling at $24.8 billion. The next biggest markets were North America and Europe, with revenues of $6.9 billion and $5.7 billion. Following that was the Latin American market at $2.4 billion and the "rest of the world" at $0.8 billion. The report also included further analysis of four "key markets." Those included the US, Mexico, India, and Indonesia. Analysis of those markets revealed that Indonesia generated the highest increase in installations at 192 percent. The Indonesian market was also shown to lead slightly over India in average monthly revenue per paying user, though both countries are shown with around a 7 percent increase. India saw the highest total revenue increase of those markets, at 47 percent.
SuperData Research pools its data "directly from publishers and developers," and use point-of-sale data in combination with consumer surveys to compile their world-class market intelligence analyses. For the mobile gaming portion of the study, the company teamed up with Unity to collect and analyze 49 million unique transactions from 15 million unique gamers from the first of January in 2015 through the end of December of 2016. Surveys were also conducted with 1,000 mobile gamers based in the US from July of 2016. That combination of data sources also allowed the company to take their results beyond a purely numerical accounting of the markets. The analysis suggests that an increase in screen size does not necessarily equate increased retention and that developers should focus on optimizing processor use to decrease a game's impact on battery life. Optimization for devices with around 2GB of RAM should also be prioritized because devices with that level of memory are expected to dominate the market for at least the next year.