AppMagic on mobile games in 2021: The most notable trends and releases

Max Samorukov, AppMagic CEO & founder


Tier-1 West area: a set of nations that features the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, and France. It’s usually employed when one desires to handle a bunch of nations that may be thought of homogenous when it comes to solvency of the viewers and their preferences. 

Western releases: for the wants of this analysis, we solely take into account video games concentrating on the worldwide market. We view an app as “aiming world” when greater than 30% of its income and downloads are generated in any area or areas aside from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India. The reason being, there are a whole lot of apps which can be solely oriented on home markets of the listed nations, and we wish to filter them out, since present analysis is targeted on the Western markets. We’ll solely analyze video games manually labeled by style by our specialists. They classify all of the apps that both a) ever have a sum of their day by day USD income and downloads exceeding 5,000; or b) are printed by any one of many high 3,000 publishers. 


We leverage AppMagic’s outstanding style classification with over 150,000 top-performing cellular apps labeled. On this article, we cowl the Tier-1 West area. All of the numbers you’ll discover on this piece are calculated for these 6 nations cumulatively.

Within the graphs beneath, the areas indicating cumulative income and downloads of various genres are sorted by the efficiency of every style in December 2021 to focus on the most recent state of affairs. Subsequently, a fast-growing style might take the next place in comparison with a style that has higher common efficiency all through the entire 2021.

Each time we talk about income on this article, we indicate in-app (IAP) web income, i.e. the income coming from in-app purchases (together with subscriptions and paid apps) diminished by platform charges and inclusive taxes. In-app advertisements (IAA) income will not be thought of.

Income-based evaluation

Within the graphs beneath, you see how cumulative revenues of the highest 20 cellular recreation genres (in accordance with their efficiency in Dec 2021) had been altering in 2015-2021. Their positions change hardly ever, and after they do, it’s often an enormous signal for a lot of.

REVENUE: TOP 20 GENRES (tens of millions USD)


REVENUE: TOP 20 GENRES (normalized to 100%)

#1: Slots

The style has dominated the income score of recreation genres for a few years, and its place didn’t dip in 2021. 

This yr, we’ve found 63 new Western releases of this sort (see the start of the article for definitions). A few of them carry out effectively, however none of them even made it to the highest 20 Slots video games.

Slots have been lengthy thought of a really particular and very hard-to-enter market section.

#2: Match-3

The state of affairs on this market has additionally been steady with the one disruptor: Royal Match. The sport was initially printed in 2020, however it began working within the Western market solely in February 2021, so we take into account it a brand new launch. Now it’s accounting for about 9% of the Western market, coming in third within the style chart there, and it’s one of the best debut in Match-3 we’ve seen in a few years.

We have now counted 50 new Western releases within the style in 2021. Many adopted Mission Makeover’s product paradigm, however nobody has succeeded but. We didn’t discover new video games that employed Royal Match’s principal concepts but, however they’re most likely to come back.

There was one noteworthy phenomenon although, however it’s not fairly a Match-3 recreation: Zen Match – Enjoyable Puzzle. We name this style Match-3: Tile. It’s a mixture of informal Mahjong with a component of a Match-3 recreation. Zen Match additionally leverages a metagame typical for traditional Match-3 titles: room renovation. So what’s the catch? It’s the income: the app is at present producing greater than $6M month-to-month. On the similar time, the sport appears a lot less complicated when it comes to manufacturing in comparison with top-notch Match-3 video games.

You’ll see one other attention-grabbing discovering within the second a part of this examine that appears into downloads.

#3: 4x Technique

It’s curious to study that ALL new 4x Methods that carry out considerably effectively within the Western market are made in Asia (largely in China). Western builders hardly ever even attempt to settle for this problem. 

We’ve detected 24 Western launchs in 2021, and a few of them had been fairly sturdy. Listed below are a couple of absolute must-mentions: The Ants: Underground Kingdom, The Lord of the Rings: Conflict, The Strolling Useless: Survivors, and Warhammer 40,000: Misplaced Campaign

The primary one got here up with a really revolutionary setting: the world of ants. The way in which it’s designed, you gained’t even notice it’s a 4x Technique within the first half-hour of gameplay. In all probability, the attraction and freshness of this recreation world is what helped it appeal to and interact customers that would get considerably bored of the FTUE (First Time Person Expertise) of typical 4x Methods. At the moment the sport generates $11M in web income month-to-month.

The Ants: Underground Kingdom. Click on on the picture to see the gameplay

Can’t assist noticing that 3 of the highest 4 new video games talked about make use of main Western franchises. Publishers from Asia, who used to concentrate on their home markets, appear to be getting very critical about securing positions within the world market.

#4: Group RPG

The business style taxonomy isn’t fairly particular right here. Speaking about Group RPG, we imply battlers the place you have interaction right into a sequence of temporary encounters managing a celebration (group) of 3-6 characters. This consists of such video games as RAID: Shadow Legends or AFK Area. This style is the final of the large 4 when it comes to their income, and this massive 4 stands far other than its followers. This style may be very wealthy in new Western releases: we’ve counted 142. 

Regardless of its excessive newcomer depend, this market is fairly steady, and the overwhelming majority of income is being generated by titles that had been printed a very long time in the past. 

One of many new titles stands out although. And lots. It’s Cookie Run: Kingdom by a Korean developer Devsisters. In December 2021, it generated $21M in web income with 60% of it coming from Tier-1 West nations.

Cookie Run: Kingdom. Click on on the picture to see the gameplay

The sport is exclusive in some ways: the setting, the artwork fashion, the kingdom-building part. However we are able to’t state with certainty that these are what made the sport so profitable; but it undoubtedly deserves additional skilled deconstruction. If you’re into battler video games and haven’t performed it but, you must give it a shot. 

#5: Actual-Time Technique

The boundaries of this style are additionally blurred on cellular platforms. We attribute it to video games with temporary separate battles with a top-down view the place you must design your individual technique to correctly handle a number of army models in actual time. Take Conflict Royale or Conflict of Clans, for instance.

For a few years, 95% % of the style was once outlined by the video games by Supercell; nonetheless, its market share out of the highest 20 recreation genres in Tier-1 West has been steadily declining since 2016, shrinking by 11 occasions from its peak of 28% in Jan 2015 to 2.4% in Jan 2021; once more, that’s largely on account of Supercell video games’ income taking place whereas the worldwide market was rising quick.

Nevertheless, this yr has seen a tipping level: since Jan 2021, the cumulative income of the market section has doubled from $35M to $70M in month-to-month web income! Curious as to why? Once more, because of Supercell alone! Conflict Royale grew 4 occasions in income, from $7M to $27M (nonetheless speaking Western markets). Conflict of Clans spiked in income as much as $34M in Dec 2021 from $22M in month-to-month income at first of the yr.

Out of the 8 new Western releases within the style in 2021, nobody claims to be a brand new tremendous hit.

#6: Sport Constructor

Right here we indicate apps like Roblox. And, as traditional, Roblox accounts for 99.9% of income out there section. Not a lot happening right here, although we’ve detected 4 new Western releases of this sort: all of them are tremendous tiny in comparison with Roblox.

Curiously, regardless of this big hype round metaverses, we don’t see sturdy new releases on this section in Tier-1 West nations. Even when we take a look at video games like Minecraft (that we classify as Construct & Craft), we’ll see a whole lot of releases (70 in 2021 alone), however none of them rising sufficiently big within the West to say.

#7: Motion RPG / MMORPG

For Motion RPG (MMO or single-player), it’s simply been the Genshin Affect that dominated the Western market: it generates about 50% of the cumulative income of the style in Tier-1 West. It carried out fairly evenly all year long. 

However who’s behind the opposite 50%? The remainder of the market is fairly numerous and, surprisingly, very dynamic.


Click on on the graph for extra particulars

The graph tells us that new video games pop up and disappear in a short time. It demonstrates a really brief lifetime of a typical product of the style. It doesn’t match effectively with the prices of creating an MMORPG, proper? So it appears like not one of the new video games can discover their viewers within the area — even if this style is without doubt one of the richest when it comes to new Western releases: now we have detected 110 for 2021.

That being stated, creating an Motion RPG / MMORPG appears like a really harmful concept.

#8: Farms

This block might be probably the most attention-grabbing a part of our analysis. Farms actually stand out from the genres we’ve already talked about. 


Click on on the graph for extra particulars

Firstly, the market has been steadily rising over the past a number of years. Secondly, main contributors to this progress are new titles. These are sturdy titles which can be right here to remain: they carry on rising for months in income and preserve a excessive tempo of buying new customers. We’re speaking a few style that’s historically monopolized, the place market leaders emerge and alter one another extraordinarily hardly ever. No less than, it was once so for a few years (take a look on the graph above).

One of many heavy contributors to the expansion of the farming video games market is Household Island by a Belarusian studio Melsoft Video games Ltd. It’s a traditional farm recreation with an exploration mechanic and a stable storyline, considerably much like the hit farm recreation that set this commonplace, the Klondike Adventures by one other Belorusian studio Vizor Video games. 

Klondike Adventures

One other main contributor is Household Farm Journey by China’s Century Video games Publishing. It may also be referred to as a follower of the Klondike Adventures’ paradigm. It’s a debutant within the high charts; it was launched this very yr in February and has already managed to seize 8% of the farm video games market in Tier-1 West when it comes to income in Dec 2021. The cumulative income of farm video games within the area was $62M month-to-month by the top of the yr. 

The final noteworthy reality about Farms is that the variety of new Western releases is small: simply 9 new Farms this yr. This quantity additionally was once small in earlier years. So it appears like there’s a lot much less competitors in comparison with different high grossing genres. That’s one thing to consider.

#9: Shooters

The Shooters market section was steady in 2021: it didn’t transfer up or down considerably through the yr, and no new hits have appeared. Even the brand new recreation by Krafton, PUBG: NEW STATE, didn’t present the efficiency we may have anticipated from the corporate. 

Regardless of the actual fact we nonetheless see a whole lot of new Shooters popping out yearly, the tempo is declining. 


#10: Location-based AR video games

It’s the final of the highest 10 revenue-generating genres within the Tier-1 West area. Once more, in 2021, 95% of the general income was generated by Pokémon GO alone. The sport continues to be performing amazingly, having generated $320M in web income in 2021, which is simply 9% down in comparison with 2020.

There was one attention-grabbing launch within the style in 2021 — by Niantic themselves: in October, they printed Pikmin Bloom, however it’s at present in style solely in Japan, and the sport’s income and downloads have been declining from the very begin. Now it has lower than $1M month-to-month inflows.

Downloads-based evaluation

This a part of the examine is much like the earlier one, however we’ll now concentrate on the highest 20 genres of cellular video games when it comes to the cumulative downloads of titles representing them. 

DOWNLOADS: TOP 20 GENRES (tens of millions)


DOWNLOADS: TOP 20 GENRES (normalized to 100%)

#1: Hypercasual

The style is huuuge when it comes to downloads in comparison with different genres. It’s not rising that quick because it used to within the Tier-1 West area. Nevertheless, in lots of different areas it’s nonetheless gaining momentum.

It’s onerous to do a quick overview of the style: it’s very dynamic, and the variety of new video games right here is great: now we have detected 2,700 new Western releases in 2021, and that’s 3 occasions greater than in 2020. We’d wish to recall the definition of Western releases given at first of the article: we solely depend apps that managed to hit a sure stage of efficiency and are oriented on the worldwide market.

If you’re desirous about getting an outline of the Hypercasual video games market, please verify the specialised quarterly studies in our weblog.

#2: Video games for Children

Video games for Children is a fairly broad definition that features a number of subgenres. However none of them is at present dominating the others; the marketplace for the video games of this sort may be very versatile; and the variety of apps that carry out fairly effectively may be very giant right here. The variety of new Western releases can be very giant: 302 in 2021.

Regardless of the big variety of new video games that got here out, there weren’t a whole lot of them that managed to develop massive and preserve their positions. We’d solely like to focus on two: PAW Patrol Rescue World and YOYO Doll: Costume up video games

On the entire, the style was doing fairly steady in 2021 within the Tier-1 West area, averaging about 40M month-to-month. For comparability, the worldwide numbers are 10-fold.

#3: Match-3

We’ve already lined Match-3 within the income part. But when we concentrate on downloads, we’ll discover one attention-grabbing newcomer: Love Fantasy: Match & Tales. The sport was initially launched in Mar 2021, however solely began scaling in Nov, and by the top of the yr turned #1 within the style in Tier-1 West, abandoning King, Playrix, Magic Tavern, and others! 

What’s much more astonishing is that the sport leverages the IAA (in-app advertisements) monetization and doesn’t really matter on IAP (in-app purchases). That’s very attention-grabbing: how come a recreation that depends on IAA can snatch site visitors away from the Match-3 market leaders with their insane LTVs of $15-$20, all the way in which staying ROI-positive? Btw, Love Fantasy employs the identical outdated advert inventive concepts that had been in use within the style for a very long time.


#4: Rhythm

The Rhythm video games market section was fairly balanced in 2021, demonstrating no express uptrends or downtrends. Although a few sturdy new titles did seem: Beatstar – Contact Your Music and FNF Beat Battle turned #3 and #4 when it comes to downloads in Dec 2021 within the Tier-1 West area. Beatstar turned a brand new superleader when it comes to income, too: by the top of the yr, it was producing the identical quantity of income as all different titles of the style within the area mixed ($3M month-to-month).

#5: Arcade: Different

This ambiguous style identify is used for a swarm of Arcade video games that may’t be attributed to any express subgenre of the entire Arcade video games market. This group of video games may be very plentiful and numerous, with no seen leaders. Not one of the titles from the highest 10 when it comes to downloads actually stand out. The newest massive factor on this class was Amongst Us.

#6: Racing

This style has been declining barely for the final couple of years. Uncommon releases of tremendous hits, reminiscent of Mario Kart Tour, give it a short lived increase occasionally, however the general pattern continues to be downward.

There was one notable newcomer in 2021 although: No Restrict Drag Racing 2, whose identify clearly signifies its subgenre and the truth that it’s a spin-off. The sport managed to take care of a excessive stage of each income and downloads for the remainder of the yr and took the second place in each charts within the Drag Racing subgenre.

The variety of new Western releases within the Racing style is fairly excessive: 130 in 2021. It was once even increased although, having peaked with 367 video games in 2019.

#7: Sports activities Video games

The style additionally did fairly sometimes, with no particular ups and downs, however pay attention to a number of very massive phenomena.

Firstly, Retro Bowl. The sport was initially launched in Jan 2020, however it didn’t get any visibility till Sep 2021 when it all of the sudden boomed: it began rising very quick, having generated 4M downloads in October alone in Tier-1 West (truly, 95% of downloads got here from the US). These numbers don’t look excellent for Hypercasual video games and another genres, however Sports activities Video games hadn’t seen such numbers within the area for a protracted very long time. 

Its fee of latest downloads then went down fairly quick, however this case can nonetheless be referred to as excellent.

In late November, we noticed one other rocket of the identical scale: a newly printed Rocket League Sideswipe confirmed an much more phenomenal progress with 12M downloads in December 2021 alone in Tier-1 West (24M worldwide). 

Rocket League Sideswipe. Click on on the picture to see the gameplay

The sport doesn’t truly seek advice from any actual sports activities recreation, however resembles soccer. As a substitute of human gamers, you management flying automobiles. Doing a superb shot requires some talent and pondering. The sport will be performed 1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2. All these make it really feel like an precise sports activities recreation.

The variety of new downloads began declining proper in December. Nonetheless, the introduction of Rocket League Sideswipe will stay a notable mark in historical past, along with Retro Bowl: simply have a look at them within the Sports activities Video games monitor document!

Click on on the graph for extra particulars

#8: Runners

It’s stunning that such an unsophisticated style as Runners is so conservative and static: most titles that are actually massive in Tier-1 West have been there for a few years. 

There are a whole lot of new video games popping out yearly (about 50), and a few of them begin brightly, however it’s a really uncommon occasion when a brand new title manages to power itself in between those who maintain tight and don’t lose their positions. All of them are primarily based on sturdy franchises. 

In different phrases, Runners is a kind of market segments that look simple to enter, however actually solely admit the chosen.


On the entire, Runners have been considerably shedding momentum for a few years as of now.

#9: Solitaire

The Solitaire video games market differs from Runners: with the same variety of new Western releases within the style (46 in 2021), about one third of them handle to outlive. They don’t develop actually massive: in 2021, probably the most profitable launch within the style — MONOPOLY Solitaire: Card Sport — generated 900K downloads within the Tier-1 West nations and 1M worldwide. Nonetheless, one third of latest releases managed to outlive and preserve the tempo of a number of hundred downloads a month for a very long time. So this area of interest seems pleasant and value a better search for smaller recreation builders.

#10: Phrase Puzzle

The style appears pleasant for smaller corporations: most of the newcoming titles handle to carry their positions for months and years. Their absolute numbers aren’t excessive, although; at the very least for many who debuted in 2021.

The Phrase Puzzle style on the entire appears to be downtrending after its peak in spring 2020.


The variety of new video games popping out yearly correlates with this downtrend: it fell from its most of 79 in 2019 to simply 42 in 2021.

Finding out style tendencies is all the time fascinating, because it supplies a superb understanding of how consumer preferences evolve over time, in addition to stating any revolutions. Hope you’ve loved studying the report as a lot as we’ve loved writing it. Keep tuned for extra insights from the AppMagic group!

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