60% mobile gaming revenue came from APAC region in 2020, led by China at 35%, says GlobalData

China accounted for the lion’s share of the global mobile gaming* market. In 2020, 35% of global mobile gaming revenue was generated in China, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Thematic Research: Mobile Gaming’, reveals that the APAC region contributed nearly 60% of mobile gaming revenue in 2020. Revenues of $58bn were generated in the region during 2020, with this figure expected to grow to $159bn by 2030. Five countries generated nearly 75% of global mobile gaming revenue in 2020. China was the outright leader, followed by the US (20%), Japan (11%), South Korea (5%), and the UK (4%).

Rupantar Guha, Associate Project Manager for Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments “Boasting a huge proportion of both mobile and 5G subscribers, it is certain that the APAC region will continue to lead the mobile gaming market in the 5G era. This is especially considering the presence of established market players such as Tencent being joined by popular non-gaming companies such as Byetedance, which is anticipated to continue making gaming acquisitions in the coming years.”

Guha continues: “The APAC region’s dominance in the mobile gaming market is primarily attributable to its nearly four billion consumer mobile subscribers, which represents more than 50% of total mobile subscribers globally. Further, access to 5G networks is also supporting the growth of mobile gaming in the region.”

The APAC region accounted for around 92% of global mobile 5G subscriptions in 2020, with 393 million mobile 5G subscribers – mainly in China, South Korea and Japan. SK Telecom claims that 5G subscribers use game apps nearly 2.7 times more often than 4G subscribers. GlobalData estimates that, with two billion subscriptions, the APAC region will be the largest mobile 5G market by 2025. Thus, the region will continue to lead the mobile gaming market in the 5G era.

Guha adds: “Mobile gaming is a heavily contested market, with game companies of all sizes scrambling for a piece. Tencent is the outright leader, with a massive portfolio of mobile games and significant customer bases in China, countries in Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Zynga, NetEase, Nexon, Krafton and Sea are also significant players in this space. Their leadership is attributable to a focus on developing mobile games, the strength of the communities they have built around their games, and their foothold in the Asian markets, where mobile gaming is widespread.

“The growing popularity of mobile gaming is also attracting non-gaming companies into the market. ByteDance has expanded into the gaming sector by acquiring mobile game makers such as Ohayoo and Moonton. I’d be surprised if the company didn’t make more acquisitions during 2021, primarily to challenge Tencent and NetEase in the Chinese market.”

*In GlobalData’s report, ‘mobile gaming’ is defined as the playing of video games on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

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