North America – a mix of old and new publishersThe mobile gaming content market in North America is projected to reach 29.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. The who is who of top mobile gaming publishers in North America includes established publishers muscling their way into the mobile scene via strategic acquisitions or utilizing their pre-existing resources (Disney, Activision, Electronic Arts, Warner Bros), cross-platform developers that have been around for several years before including mobile in their lineup (Zynga, Roblox), and other players with significant hits, content licenses and/or a wide-ranging mobile portfolio (Niantic, Inc., Jam City, Scopely, Lion Studios).
One of such companies defined by a standout title is Niantic Inc., the publisher of global AR gaming hit Pokémon GO. Originally released in 2016, the title generated more than 887 million U.S. dollars in in-app purchase revenues in 2021. Roblox Corporation is another such company defined by a single title – in this case, the creative Roblox gaming platform, which regularly ranks as one of the most-downloaded mobile gaming app titles after gaining prominence during COVID-19 lockdown periods in several markets.
Casual game publisher Zynga has successfully managed to pivot from browser-based online games (Texas Hold 'em poker on Facebook) to mobile. The company claims over 200 million monthly active users of its mobile games, a fact which has been significantly boosted by the acquisition of Turkish mobile studio Rollic in late 2020. In January 2022, Zynga was acquired by gaming giant Take-Two Interactive to extend its digital portfolio.
Europe –- mobile publishers aplentyThere are many successful mobile publishers across Europe. The Nordic markets are especially prolific with their gaming output, with some of the most high-profile examples being Finland’s Supercell and Rovio. Clash of Clans publisher Supercell generated approximately 2.24 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 revenues, and Rovio Entertainment managed to leverage its Angry Birds puzzle gaming app into a successful IPO and entertainment brand (although Rovio’s gaming segment revenues are declining overall).
Another European success story is King Digital Entertainment, which like Zynga, rose to prominence with Facebook games before moving into the mobile gaming market. Originally founded in Sweden, the company has been acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2016 and has been a steady generator of revenue ever since. King gaming titles such as Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, Bubble with Saga, and their various spin-offs spiked more than half a billion monthly active users in early 2015. This figure has now stabilized at around 240 million MAU.
Founded in Russia and headquartered in Dublin, mobile publisher Playrix has also been successful in conquering the casual mobile gaming markets. As of 2022, its most popular mobile gaming title Gardenscapes has managed to amass more than 2.8 billion U.S. dollars in lifetime in-app revenues. Other notable European mobile gaming publishers include UK-based Playdemic, French studio Gameloft, as well as Israeli companies Plarium and Moon Active, the latter being the publisher of the highly successful social casino title Coin Master.
Asia – mobile gaming powerhouseMobile games revenue in Asia was estimated at nearly 58.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, making it by far the largest region in terms of mobile gaming sales. China, Japan, and South Korea are the most prominent mobile markets in the area. Due to this, it may come as no surprise that many renowned gaming companies are headquartered in Asia.
China is the biggest mobile gaming market and the most recognizable company in the tech segment is Shenzhen-based Tencent. Between 2018 and 2021, the company’s online games revenue grew from 104 to 174 billion yuan. As of 2022, Tencent consistently ranks at the top of leading iPhone gaming publishers based on revenue and is also one of the most-downloaded iPhone gaming app publishers worldwide. Tencent’s most popular mobile game is the global hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), which generated approximately 90 million downloads across Google Play and the Apple App Store in 2022 during the year to date. Other top mobile game publishers in China include NetEase and miHoYo Limited (publisher of Genshin Impact).
While in China many of the top gaming companies are mobile-first, Japan’s biggest mobile gaming names include legacy publishers Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Capcom, and Konami. These long-established console and online gaming companies have also started to successfully publish mobile gaming content – in fiscal 2021, Capcom’s mobile gaming sales amounted to 4.2 billion yen, down from 6.5 billion yen in 2020. DeNa, LINE Corporation, Aniplex Inc., CyGames, and GungHo Entertainment regularly compete for the title as top-grossing mobile gaming publisher in Japan.
South Korea boasts an internationally renowned online gaming scene, and its mobile gaming market is growing fast. In 2021, leading video game publisher NCsoft generated approximately 1.61 trillion South Korean won in mobile game sales, slightly down from 1.68 trillion South Korean won in 2020. This represents a four percent year-over-year decline. Mobile games accounted for more than two-thirds of the company's total sales. NCsoft’s biggest Korean competitor Netmarble generated approximately 2.51 trillion South Korean won in operating revenues in 2021. Netmarble’s most prominent mobile games include Lineage 2 Revolution, Fate/Grand Order, and Ni no Kuni: Cross World. Other top mobile game publishers from South Korea include Kakao Games, Mobirix, and Com2uS.