Coronavirus has changed the way Americans live. As shelter-in-place orders rolled out across the country during March, schools closed and many adults began working from home. In a previous report, we showed how mobile gaming usage grew as a result of Coronavirus. In this second installment focused on the mobile game category, we look at how day-of-week usage has changed in a surprising and significant way.
The spread of Coronavirus has created an unprecedented change in U.S. societal behavior. Beginning in March, schools closed, working from home became mandatory for most, and nationwide travel plummeted. Gathering in groups – including professional sporting events, movies theaters and concerts – was prohibited for most Americans, and is still the case in many states today.
Gaming has been a crucial part of the mobile industry since the launch of the App Store in 2008. For seven years in a row, gaming apps have been used more than apps from any other category. Consequently, mobile gaming has truly shaped how we engage on our smartphones today. However, since 2015, gaming sessions have been on the decline. Does that indicate the end of the mobile gaming era?
Some entertainers, like Michael Jackson, become worldwide stars. Others, like Psy of Gangnam Style, capture the world’s attention for 15 minutes. And others stop at the border, never attaining international fame. With games, the same is true. What makes one gaming title spread like wildfire beyond its country of origin to become an international juggernaut, while another is only a local hit? In today’s report, we investigate.
Gaming is the Global Pastime
Apps are big business, and the biggest app business is games. In 2012, Flurry estimates revenue earned from apps will approach $10 billion, with games taking over 80% of the pie. The free-to-play business model (aka freemium), where consumers download and play the “core loop” of a game for free, but then pay for virtual goods and currency through micro-transactions, is the most prolific business model in the new era of digital distribution.
The app revolution has changed the way software is distributed and used among consumers. With a perfect storm of digital distribution, free content and powerful touch screen devices, the success of mobile apps has disrupted industries from telecommunications and games to music and news. To date, no category of apps has been more successful than Games, directly disrupting the traditional gaming industry.
Freemium games on iOS and Android continue to dominate the app economy, now accounting for over 65% of all revenue generated among the Top 100 grossing apps in the App Store alone.
Last month, we published two posts about iOS and Android freemium game revenue. The first showed that, over the first half of 2011, game revenue in the App Store shifted dramatically from premium to freemium, with 65% of all revenue generated among the top 100 games now coming freemium games.