The boom of the mobile games market

3 min readMay 6, 2021
Photo by Screen Post

Mobile gaming moves mainstream. This simple and straightforward sentence is part of the Gaming section of the State of Mobile 2021 report, produced by App Annie, which analyzed the mobile market in 2020.

The report highlights three main game formats that have supported the industry’s breakthrough: casual games, core games and casino. Casual games dominate the market, accounting for 78% of the industry. This category is made of games that are easy to learn and play, such as open world games, puzzle and, mainly the subcategory known as arcade, short-time games where the difficulty increases as the player progresses within the game.

Following are the core games, with 20% of total downloads. They are action-oriented, like shooting games and RPGs. This format was, until recently, almost exclusively for PC and other consoles, but reached the mobile market as smartphones develop. The third and final format are traditional casino games, which account for only 2% of the market.

Featured Games

When analyzing the games in a specific way, two names appear prominently in the most downloaded and most used apps list last year: Among Us, which is inserted in the category of casual games with its simple gameplay, and PUBG Mobile, a core game that obeys the trend of action games inserting itself in a new format.

All the data on the increase in hours spent per user are reflected in the amount handled by the mobile games industry. In 2020, users spent US$ 120 billion, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.

All Eyes in the Mobile Games Market

The big companies in the gaming market are aware of the new direction that the market is starting to take. Last April, Electronic Arts, a producer responsible for franchises like FIFA, Madden, F1 and PGA Tour, acquired Glu Mobile, a developer of mobile games, for US$ 2.1 billion. Glu Mobile is responsible for the production of the Tap Sports Baseball game, an MLB game that since 2017 has been licensed by the league franchises.

EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, mentioned in a statement released by the company that their strategy is to improve current mobile games, in addition to bringing new experiences to the market that can unite sports, lifestyle and casual games for users around the world.

Liaison with fans

The predominance of casual games brings important lessons to the sports market. The first is that the mobile games market is yet another opportunity to connect sports entities with their fans. It is not necessary to create something complex, as most people are looking for something simple and easy to pass their time.

In addition, these platforms also serve to create a community among fans, with the club, federation or even the athlete as a background. Casual games, which can be played at any time, reinforce the institution’s monitoring during the routine, going far beyond the game itself. The existence of a competition ends up bringing friends together, who want to show others who is the best, even in a simple game.

At a time when we talk so much about the attention economy, the breakthrough in the mobile game market can be an important ally in this dispute and in the search for fan engagement. The gamification principle is already present in Sportheca’s SuperApp, being an important tool even for capturing users’ data.




Sportheca was born to encourage the transformation of the sports industry through the production of innovation and technology at scale.