In recent years, the world of mobile gaming has experienced an unprecedented spike in popularity and profitability, driven by the widespread use of smartphones and the ever-expanding world of app ecosystems.
In 2023, the mobile game market was characterized by a dynamic blend of innovation, accessibility, and monetization strategies, captivating players on a global scale.
As developers pushed the boundaries of what mobile devices could offer, their games captured not only the attention but also the wallets of millions.
Mobile games have grown into a big force in the gaming business, with new titles competing for the top spot in terms of revenue year after year.
Let's jump into this thriving realm and explore the most impactful and top-grossing mobile games that, as reported by data.ai, left a lasting mark in 2023.
- Monopoly GO!
- FIFA Soccer
- Genshin Impact
- Coin Master
- Honkai: Star Rail
- Pokémon GO
- Royal Match
- Candy Crush
- The most influential 2023’s mobile games
Monopoly GO!, published by Scopely, has taken the mobile gaming world by storm, boasting an impressive 45 million downloads and consistently securing the top spot in daily downloads.
This free-to-play, luck battle game, with in-app purchases (IAP), has generated a staggering $232 million in consumer spending worldwide.
This is also due to their extensive and innovative user acquisition campaign, that we found particularly interesting and worth looking into.
In Monopoly GO, the goal is to continually encircle the board, collecting money to upgrade your monuments and unlock new cities, offering a fresh take on the beloved classic and making the players manage their resources strategically by rolling dice rolls.
But going beyond the traditional Monopoly experience, Monopoly GO! entices players with innovative social features, fostering engagement with family and friends through events, minigames, and special offers that enhance player retention.
The engaging blend of classic Monopoly gameplay with a fast-paced and interactive digital experience are the reasons for its wide and loyal user base.
FIFA Soccer, the simulation sports game which debuted in 2016, has become a global craze, with downloads increasing 135% during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. By the first half of 2023, it had become the 8th most downloaded game worldwide and the 12th in terms of consumer spending, achieving a sizable $1 billion in consumer spending internationally.
The game empowers players to create and customize their soccer star, molding their career and accomplishments in Career Mode, where they can embark on a 15-year journey as a player, player-manager, or manager.
Its in-app purchases are centered around unlocking premium players, enabling gamers to construct their Dream Soccer Team, and granting access to exclusive content, events, and leagues.
FIFA Soccer offers an authentic and engaging soccer experience on mobile devices, attracting soccer enthusiasts worldwide.
Gardenscapes, which we have already talked about in our article about the best mobile game ads, offers a delightful mobile gaming experience by blending match-3 puzzles with garden design, inviting players to embark on an enchanting journey of restoration and creativity.
Through a series of captivating match-3 levels, you have the opportunity to revive a neglected garden and put upon it your unique vision. While the puzzles are engaging, they serve the purpose of generating resources for garden improvement and decoration, all guided by the charming character Austin.
Every corner of the garden holds secrets and surprises, from restoring broken fountains to navigating mysterious mazes. Furthermore, the sense of community is fostered as you can become neighbors with your Facebook friends.
Gardenscapes’ engaging narrative makes it the perfect platform for players to build their dream garden while enjoying the company of virtual friends and characters.
Genshin Impact isn't just a simple RPG game; it's a breathtaking adventure set in the captivating world of Teyvat, where players become enigmatic travelers on a quest to reunite with their captured twin.
The journey unfolds with a mix of thrilling activities, from collecting power-boosting items and solving intricate puzzles to battling formidable foes and facing epic bosses. What sets it apart are the diverse characters you can unlock, each offering unique abilities.
While the game is free, its gacha system entices players to spend in-game currency or real money for mystery items and characters.
It's become a cultural sensation, amassing $3 billion in mobile revenue by May 2022, offering hours of immersive gameplay, character enhancement, and creative world-building.
Coin Master by Moon Active captivated over 100 million players with its unique blend of slot machine excitement and village-building mechanics.
This innovative and hypercasual luck battle game takes you on an exhilarating journey to become the ultimate Coin Master, with the strongest village and the most loot.
The game's core objective is to earn coins through slot machine mechanics, as you spin to win coins, shields, and weapons. While daily spins are limited, in-app purchases provide extra chances and items. You can also amass coins by raiding other players' fortunes or attacking their villages.
Coin Master has achieved top-ranking success, securing the 20th spot among all apps in October 2023 and standing as the 4th top-grossing game in the first semester of the same year.
With its visually appealing graphics, diverse time-traveling adventures, and a delightful blend of slot machine thrill and village creativity, Coin Master has become a beloved title in the gaming world.
Another standout is Honkai: Star Rail by miHoYo, the makers of the massively successful Genshin Impact.
This cross-platform title received 62 million downloads and a whopping $457 million in spending, with Japan, China, and the United States having the largest player bases.
The game's rich storytelling, captivating progression systems, and anime-style art contributed to its appeal, drawing players from diverse demographics.
The mobile game is 10% more likely to be played by males, except in Germany and the UK, and 110% more likely to attract Gen Z gamers in the 18 to 24 age group.
The game's turn-based combat system adds depth to strategy, and its expansive worldbuilding extends to side missions and interactable elements, creating a lively and immersive gaming world.
With its stylish anime-inspired visuals, enchanting music, extensive lore, and dynamic combat, Honkai: Star Rail stands as a compelling free-to-play RPG adventure.
Pokémon GO, an augmented reality adventure and online RPG, has continuously evolved since its 2016 launch.
With over 1 billion downloads, it has become a global sensation that encourages players to explore the real world while discovering and catching Pokémon to complete their Pokédex.
By using a player's smartphone camera and GPS signal, the game immerses players in a world where wild Pokémon seem to appear on the streets, effectively turning the real world into a Pokémon universe.
The game also fosters unity and teamwork as trainers team up to take on powerful Pokémon in Raid Battles.
The freemium business model, with microtransactions, allows players to enhance their in-game experiences with items, cosmetics, and inventory upgrades.
This unique blend of technology, nostalgia, and physical activity has made Pokémon GO a global sensation, not just as a game but as a social and fitness phenomenon.
In Royal Match, players embark on an engaging journey to help King Robert restore the former glory of the Royal Castle. The game cleverly combines match-3 puzzles with a renovation aspect, where players solve puzzles to earn rewards used for decorating and restoring various areas within a virtual mansion or garden.
Its wide popularity resulted in nearly 149 million downloads and $1.7 billion in consumer spending.
The game’s widespread appeal can be attributed to their creative and expansive user acquisition campaign, which caught our attention as something noteworthy and deserving of further investigation.
The goal of the game is to complete puzzles within a limited number of moves or within a specific time frame, with increasing difficulty as players progress.
The game also features visually appealing graphics, various themes, and customization options for an enhanced player experience.
Social elements, such as leaderboards, friend challenges, and gifting mechanics, encourage interaction and competition among players.
Its accessibility for short gaming sessions makes it an ideal choice for entertainment during breaks or commutes, and its advanced bonus levels provide additional rewards for experienced players.
In conclusion, Royal Match stands as a captivating combination of addictive gameplay and creative virtual design.
Roblox is far more than a gaming platform, it is a boundless simulation virtual universe hosting over 50 million games. It enabled millions of creators to bring their imaginative game concepts to life and attracted a diverse user base.
This dynamic world offers a wealth of opportunities, where players can explore countless games and interact with millions of users online.
Roblox's charm extends beyond gaming, as users chat, trade, and form diverse friendships, particularly popular among the under-13 age group. Merging gaming, social media, and commerce, Roblox is considered the "ultimate virtual universe".
Being Roblox a versatile platform holding millions of user-generated experiences, it has become a thriving virtual universe with something for everyone.
We couldn’t write an article about the most popular games without talking about Candy Crush.
The game's longevity is evident in its impressive achievements, garnering over 2.7 billion downloads and surpassing $20 billion in revenue by September 2023, securing its position as a leading freemium success.
The user acquisition managers decided to exploit this established popularity in their newest campaign, creating an innovative campaign that displays all these aspects.
Candy Crush is a prominent tile-matching game. Players engage in swapping colored candies on a game board to create matches of three or more, clearing candies and accomplishing specific objectives on each board.
With numerous sequential levels offering diverse challenges, the game includes a narrative element where players help Tiffi resolve Candy Kingdom issues.
All these factors, combined with its addictive gameplay and the ability to play in short sessions, have contributed to its enduring popularity.
In conclusion, mobile gaming has witnessed an unprecedented rise in popularity and profitability, driven by innovative titles like "Monopoly GO," "Genshin Impact" and "Royal Match."
These games showcase the dynamic nature of the mobile gaming industry.
As technology advances and developers push boundaries, the mobile game market remains a captivating and accessible realm that continues to evolve and shape the future of gaming.