Chart-topping Mobile Game Genres

Sep 21, 2020
By: Jean Ortiz-Luis

At any given moment, at least half of the top free apps in the App Store and Google Play are “hypercasual” titles, and they have the highest number of installs on average per app in more than half of the top global markets. These games are almost always free, have a minimalistic interface, and are so easy to play that users can immediately pick them up after downloading, there is nothing to explain – no learning curve.

What the hypercasual genre has done is allow certain categories, like Puzzle, Word and Card games, to reach higher levels of user volume, due to the fact that within the category there are games that are so easy to play that they have more broad, mass appeal. In Digital Turbine’s Modern Mobile Gamer Report, Puzzle games came out on top as the most popular genre with Word, and Card rounding out the top three.

The Universal Appeal of Puzzle and Word Games

The puzzle genre seems to have an almost universal appeal as the most popular game category among the general population. However, the survey results revealed that Puzzle games skew toward Millennial users, with the majority of those playing that category falling into the 25 to 34 age group. There is a large dropoff after age 65, so we can see that the retired demographic is not spending significant time with Puzzle games. They do, however, play more Word games, with those over 75, as well as 55-64, and the youngest group (18-24) being into games like Words with Friends. Both Puzzle and Word games also skew female over male.

Affluent Consumers are Playing Puzzle and Word games

Compared to every other game genre, Puzzle and Word games have the highest percentage of consumers with a household income level of over $250,000 annually. For both categories, the peak level of use is in the $150,000 to $199,000 bracket, which falls right in the middle of most definitions of “upper middle class” in the United States. For marketers who have defined their target group as such, it’s clear that these are the two categories on which to focus, as they individually represent 44.4% of that population. Other top categories for this income level are Arcade (27.8%), Card (25%) and Strategy (25%), but there is a clear dip down to lower percentage levels.

Young Professionals Enjoy RPG and Strategy Games

Strategy and role-playing games that challenge our minds and take the concept of “puzzle” to a higher, tactical level. One would think that these types of games would again be dominated by younger gamers who bring their love of strategic RPG and battle games on console or PC to mobile. But we can bust that stereotype by looking at the data.

Strategy games skew slightly more towards male, 17% vs. 15.8% of females say they play titles in the genre. There is also a high percentage of Strategy players in the $250,000+ group, but it’s worth noting that most fall into the $100,000+ HHI bracket. RPG follows a similar pattern, with nearly twice the number in the highest bracket (11.8%) vs. the lowest (5.8%). Nearly 20% of RPG players have a Master’s or Doctorate degree. They also tend to be younger, with most in the 18-44 age group.

Card and Casino: Trade School Grad Favorites 

The demographics of Card and Casino games have one big thing in common: trade school graduates. While on average, 22.8% of respondents said they play Card games and 15.9% said they play Casino games, we can see that these types of games are significantly more commonly played by those who have attended trade school – far more than any other type of education level. When we look at age groups, the most number of players tend to fall in the 35-54 year group, with Card games also staying strong in older categories, among those 55-74 years old.

Want to learn more about the most popular game genres? Download the full report! The Modern Mobile Gamer Report has data on how how different types of games make people feel, who identifies as a gamer, and much more!

By Jean Ortiz-Luis
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