A record-breaking eight mobile games including PUBG Mobile from Tencent, Honor of Kings from Tencent, and Genshin Impact from miHoYo have surpassed over $1 billion globally in player spending on the App Store and Google Play so far in 2021, according to data from Sensor Tower.
PUBG Mobile, localised as Game For Peace in China and Battlegrounds Mobile in India topped the list, followed by Honor of Kings – the titles accumulating $2.8 billion each so far this year, up 9 per cent and 14.7 per cent year-over-year, respectively.
Genshin Impact came in third, generating $1.8 billion in revenue so far in 2021.
“Launched on September 28, 2020, publisher miHoYo has continued to provide the game with a plethora of updates, regularly adding new islands, characters and features to keep players engaged. September’s Version 2.1 release showed just how effective these updates can be, with its launch sparking a five times increase in player spending week-over-week,” Sensor Tower said in a blog post.
The game has generated $2.4 billion worldwide from the App Store and Google Play till date.
Roblox from Roblox Corporation stood fourth, generating $1.3 billion on mobile so far this year, a rise of 20.3 per cent y-o-y, while Coin Master from Moon Active ranked fifth, accumulating $1.3 billion, an increase of 13.8 per cent y-o-y.
The popular mobile game Pokémon GO from Niantic generated $1.2 billion, putting the title on track for its best year ever, more than five years on from its launch. Rounding out the list was Candy Crush Saga from King which ranked seventh with $1.2 billion in player spending and Garena Free Fire from Garena which crossed $1.1 billion in worldwide player spending to rank eighth.
It is possible for a ninth game to cross the $1 billion milestone in 2021, with Uma Musume Pretty Derby from Cygames closing in with spending close to $965 million for the year, despite launching in February this year and only being available in Japan.
The eight mobile games that have already surpassed the mark are an increase from the five games that hit the figure in 2020, and marks a significant increase from the three that achieved the unicorn status in 2019 and 2018, as per the report.
"This year has seen the mobile games sector build on 2020’s outsized gains with further revenue growth across the market, and in spite of headwinds such as those posed by Apple’s IDFA changes on iOS," Sensor Tower said.
It further forecasts that mobile game spending will reach $89.6 billion globally across the App Store and Google Play by the end of 2021, an increase of 12.6 percent y-o-y.
“This increase in revenue has been powered by titles both new and old, with each of these billion dollar hits showing just how diverse the market and its enormous audiences are, and once again how important a solid live operations strategy is for long-term success and sustainability,” it said.
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