Mobile Gaming Masks Home Console, PC Games: IDC

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 01, 2017

mobile apps

Mobile gaming has overshadowed both home game consoles and PC and Mac gaming for the first time with the highest consumer spend in 2014. Moreover, mobile gaming’s lead widened globally in 2016 with mobile game spend accounting over 25% higher than PC/Mac gaming and more than double home game consoles last year, according to a new report by App Annie and IDC. [Read the full report]

The report attributes this growth to Asia’s key markets that spurred the global gaming spend in 2016. Over 60% of spend came from Asia, which is a huge increase from the previous year. New technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) did drive the growth of mobile gaming in the region.

Of all the mobile apps, games represented over 80% of total global consumer spend for combined iOS App Store and Google Play last year, while accounting for roughly 35% of total worldwide downloads.

Mobile gaming continued to grow at a healthy rate in 2016, expanding its lead over the other gaming devices. It also made up a larger share of Google Play’s consumer spending compared to iOS.

However, in terms of amount spent on games, consumers spent more on iOS than Google Play. In terms of worldwide spending, Asia-Pacific gained in share of game spending for iOS App Store and Google Play combined last year, mostly due to massive growth in China on iOS and Japan on both major app stores.


The study shows over 60% of mobile game spending in 2016 occurred in Asia-Pacific, a significant increase from the previous year. The region also gained a share of consumer spending for handheld titles and PC and Mac gaming, said the report.

Pokémon GO, primarily developed by Niantic, launched in July for iOS and Android, quickly became the world’s first superhit AR game. It had the highest monthly active user base of any mobile game in every month in the second half of 2016, peaking at over 300 million active Android and iOS users in August. The game was the third-highest grossing mobile game for all of 2016, with over $950 million in total consumer spending despite only being out for second half of the year, said IDC.

The study showed that both Nintendo and Sony enjoyed a top five grossing title on iOS and/or Android platforms, a big shift in focus for the traditional handheld game console leaders—and implying both companies will be a force in mobile gaming in 2017 and beyond. All five of the top grossing games on handheld game consoles were part of either the Mario or Pokémon franchises, further msking Nintendo the bi. 

For iOS and Google Play combined, Pokémon GO was the third highest-grossing game in 2016, with consumer spending topped $1 billion in early Q1 2017. The analyst firm predicts that AR will be an important and permanent component of the global mobile app market moving forward.

“2016 was the breakout year for mobile AR games,” said Lewis Ward, research director of Gaming and AR/VR at IDC. “Since a quality mobile VR gaming experience generally requires a separate hardware purchase such as a Gear VR or Google Daydream viewer, it’s unlikely that mobile VR gaming in 2017 will replicate what AR gaming achieved last year.

The demographics of mobile VR gamers nonetheless point to rapid revenue growth moving forward, and the fact that a large share of mobile VR gamers also enjoy eSports content implies that competitive multiplayer gaming will emerge as an important mobile VR market driver – and help put some distance between the leading suppliers and the competition,” added Ward.

On the whole, the study finds that games generated over 80% of combined iOS and Google Play app spending in 2016 on less than 40% of total app downloads; mobile gaming is both larger and growing faster than PC or Mac gaming and home console gaming in the coming years.