Garena Free Fire from Garena overtook PUBG Mobile from Tencent as the top mobile Battle Royale game by player spending in the United States during Q1 2021, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows.
Garena Free Fire generated approximately $100 million in revenue during the last quarter, a nearly 4.5 times increase from the same period the year prior. That was enough to put it above PUBG Mobile for the only the second time ever in a quarter, with Tencent’s title accumulating $68 million in player spending, up more than 9 percent year-over-year. Call of Duty: Mobile from Activision rounded out the top three Battle Royale titles in 1Q21, accumulating $62 million, an increase of approximately 80 percent Y/Y. While the latter, developed by Tencent studio Timi, isn’t strictly a Battle Royale title, it does include such a gameplay mode.
Including Call of Duty: Mobile, the Battle Royale market in the U.S. grew 42 percent Y/Y to $239 million in revenue in 1Q21. That’s despite the removal of Fortnite from Epic Games from the App Store and Google Play in August 2020. During Q1 2020, Fortnite had generated $43.6 million, but following its removal, titles like Call of Duty: Mobile and Garena Free Fire appear to be the main beneficiaries of the void in the market it created. Overall, the sub-genre accounted for close to 81 percent of Shooter genre spending in the U.S. in the last quarter, according to Sensor Tower’s Game Intelligence product.
Globally, PUBG Mobile, combined with the Chinese localization of the title, Game For Peace, is the clear leader in the Battle Royale space. In 1Q21, it picked up $744.4 million, an increase of 3.2 percent Y/Y. Garena Free Free ranked No. 2 with $254.6 million, up 80.8 percent, while Call of Duty: Mobile ranked No. 3 with approximately $182 million, a rise of 127 percent Y/Y.
In total, and including Call of Duty: Mobile, the Battle Royale market accumulated $1.3 billion in 1Q21, a rise of 16.6 percent Y/Y. The sub-genre accounted for 86.7 percent of global mobile Shooter market revenue on the App Store and Google Play, showing that Battle Royale remains the driving force behind the Shooter market.
While the Shooter genre has been a leading revenue driver on consoles and PC for years, on mobile, the category struggled to gain traction. With the rise of Battle Royale games however, the genre has exploded into a highly lucrative market. PUBG Mobile was the No. 1 title for revenue in the world across the App Store and Google Play in 1Q21, while Garena Free Fire ranked No. 8. The loss of Fortnite has not stopped the Battle Royale genre from growing on mobile and the entire Shooter market looks set to gain in future when the next innovations roll around.
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