Sensor Tower’s Mobile Game Taxonomy Report 2021: Hypercasual Accounts for Nearly One-Third of Downloads

Mobile Game Taxonomy Report 2021 main image feature

The COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns have sparked a surge in revenue, downloads, and usage across almost all mobile gaming genres, and the space is more competitive than ever, with publishers having to discover new ways to innovate to find their own niche. Sensor Tower’s first-ever Mobile Game Taxonomy Report, available now, utilizes our new Game Intelligence product to analyze the market at the granular level, combing through the most successful genres and themes around the world, and how development teams are combining these for great rewards.

Hypercasual Market Share Rockets

The Hypercasual games market has exploded on mobile over the last few years. In 2017, the genre took a 17 percent share of downloads in the sector among the top 1,000 titles, putting it behind the Arcade genre, which accounted for 19 percent of installs. One year later, Hypercasual became the largest genre for downloads, and it continued to expand its share further in 2020 to 31 percent of all installs.

COVID-19 Accelerated Adoption for Hypercasual Games

Other genres also saw growth, with downloads of Arcade and Puzzle games increasing by 33 percent and 78 percent respectively in 2020, spurred on by titles like Subway Surfers from Sybo Games and Among Us from InnerSloth.

RPG Retains Revenue Dominance

RPG and Strategy games retained their stranglehold on player spending, accounting for a combined 50 percent share of mobile games revenue in 2020 among the top 1,000 earning titles. While the market share for RPGs has shrunk, revenue still increased year-over-year, driven by new titles such as Genshin Impact from miHoYo, which generated approximately $560 million in 2020, according to Sensor Tower estimates.

RPGs Accounted for 29 Percent of Global Spending

Casino and Shooter titles saw their share of spending increase, accounting for 10 percent and 9 percent of revenue, respectively. Titles like Coin Master from Moon Active and PUBG Mobile from Tencent were huge drivers for each genre, both accumulating over $1 billion last year alone. While these titles have led the surge, Call of Duty: Mobile from Activision, in partnership with Tencent’s Timi Studios, was also another exceptional performer in the Shooter category. Since its launch in 2019, the game has surpassed $760 million in player spending.

Fashion Stars

The Fashion theme is becoming increasingly popular on mobile, featuring in hit titles such as Project Makeover from Bubblegum Games and Super Stylist from Crazy Labs. Spanning genres from Hypercasual to Lifestyle and Puzzle, Fashion was the fastest-growing theme in 2020, with downloads of the top 100 titles utilizing it up 109 percent to 991 million last year.

Fashion Theme Rose in Popularity in 2020

New titles helped drive this growth, and the Fashion theme is expected to continue with its popularity in 2021. In Q4 2020 alone, the top 100 games using this theme generated 280 million downloads, with those released in 2020 accounting for 30 percent of these installs. Overall, while new titles are helping drive success for the theme, existing game downloads also grew by 76 percent year-over-year.

Diving Deeper

By utilizing Sensor Tower’s Game Taxonomy and Game Intelligence tools, our report provides analysis not just on the broader genre trends, but the actual drivers behind them. Rather than just revealing the latest data on Hypercasual category and Fashion theme growth, it delves further into the most successful combinations to show why they are so popular. For more analysis into the latest genre trends, download the complete report in PDF form below:

Download Sensor Tower's Mobile Game Taxonomy 2021 Report