- September 22, 2021

Gaming Continues Upward Trajectory, Fueled by Mobile Gaming Apps

Bridget Weitman
Bridget Weitman
Senior Content Marketing Specialist
Paul Wright
Paul Wright
VP, Digital and Technology Sales

The online and mobile gaming industry has seen impressive growth over the past several years, and it has earned its spot as a dominant category in online and mobile media consumption. In this blog post, we dive deeper into gaming’s impressive growth and trajectory.

Gaming dominates the media landscape across devices

The gaming landscape can no longer be called a niche market—it has grown to reach a majority of American households and has consumed a sizeable portion of time spent online. For example, in June 2021, 38 million U.S. households were active on a gaming console.* Specifically on mobile, the gaming category makes up 74% of the total mobile app audience and accounts for 182 billion minutes spent on mobile.

Console and online gaming saw a sizeable boost in engagement as people stayed home and spent more time on consoles and online platforms last spring. But even though consumers are not spending as much time at home as they did early in the pandemic, gaming’s newfound dominance, particularly in the mobile space, does not show any signs of slowing down any time soon. In fact, our data points out several ways in which mobile gaming is still growing.

Mobile gaming is still experiencing significant growth, fueled by old favorites

As we examined last year, the pandemic has had a profound impact on how consumers engage with gaming. On mobile, average minutes on mobile games have increased in July 2021 by 4% since July 2020.

Looking at the top mobile game apps by unique visitors, all have been released more than three years ago. These apps, which have led the growth in mobile gaming over the past year, have stayed relevant or recently risen to prominence through clever user engagement tactics and/or regular updates to the games.

Selected Top Mobile Game Apps by Visitation

    Total Unique Visitors (000)  % Reach of Total mobile app audiences  Total Minutes (MM) 
  Total Internet - mobile apps  221,817  100.0  1,602,713 
  Games category - mobile apps  163,346  73.6  182,070 
Candy Crush Saga (Mobile App)  11,268  5.1  3,772 
Pokemon GO (Mobile App)  9,296  4.2  2,824 
Solitaire by Mobilityware (Mobile App)  6,595  3.0  2,795 
Coin Master (Mobile App)  6,158  2.8  1,919 
Words with Friends 2 - Word Game (Mobile App)  5,988  2.7  3,556 
Wordscapes (Mobile App)  5,931  2.7  2,580 

Source: Comscore Mobile Metrix®, Total Audience, Mobile Apps Only, July 2021, U.S. *Note this list excludes apps that are considered as gaming app platforms and video sites.

For example, Niantic’s Pokémon GO, which was released in 2016, is the second most popular mobile app game on this list with a total of 2.8 billion minutes played in July 2021. Some of its sustained popularity may come from its active player community, which before the pandemic would hold live events such as Pokémon GO Fests. Other factors such as the staying power of the Pokémon brand and the frequent additions of new Pokémon may also fuel the app’s sustained popularity.

Notably in the above figure, Activision Blizzard’s King Games, which publishes Candy Crush, has seen its mobile app audience grow 62% since July 2020. Candy Crush Saga’s impressive growth could be due to its weekly releases of dozens of new levels that have kept players engaged week after week, or its easily accessible and easy to understand game model.

For more information on Comscore’s gaming insights, please visit our website to learn more or contact us.

*Source: Comscore Connected Home, June 2021.

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