Mobile games earned as much as global box office in 2016

2 min read

Pokemon go mario run

We keep saying that gaming is bigger than movies and music combined, but few people listen to us. That’s okay, though, we’ll just keep telling you and anyone else who will listen. Just for a sense of scale, mobile gaming alone (so not console, not PC) generated $40.6 billion in worldwide revenue in 2016. That’s a lot of Tubmans. In fact, it’s an 18% increase over the year before, and the details of who is playing and where is rather intriguing.

According to the Super Data and Unity Technologies’ research, there is still a big difference in the size of the markets depending on the part of the world, “Asia represents the largest mobile games market in the world, producing $24.8 billion in revenue in 2016, while North America and Europe generated $6.9 billion and $5.7 billion respectively.”

The ever growing US mobile market also represents a tremendous opportunity for marketers, as now Americans play mobile game more often than they watch Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. Americans spent 5% more year over year on mobile games in 2016, and that number will continue to rise.

“Players are installing more apps than ever and are more engaged with mobile games than TV and online videos,” shared John Cheng, General Manager of Unity Analytics. “They play six days a week and watch content only five. It’s been phenomenal to watch engagement on the different mobile and VR platforms grow, and that trend will continue to increase in the foreseeable future.”

The US is still the only country with more players on iOS than Android, even though Android gamers represent 78% of the global market. That said, iOS gamers yield higher spending overall with US developers making 45% more on a player using iOS over Android. That is turned on its head in China, though, where Android players were worth eight times more than iOS ones.

Very interesting data. I’m curious how much Pokemon Go played into those stats. Were people too busy catching Pokemon to watch Netflix or Hulu, or is it that second screen thing that plays into it? And maybe Super Mario Run is proof of how much more willing iOS gamers are to part with their money than Android players. Either way, mobile gaming is a big deal, not just in terms of monetary value but also engagement. It’s no wonder brands are making games to boost awareness. It seems everyone has a mobile game these days.

Last Updated: February 2, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • MonsterCheddar


  • Hammersteyn
  • miaau

    Bloody hell. So many microtransactions……

    But I see my little Minion Rush has an option to spend R1 999.00 on buying in game tokens…..

    • Hammersteyn

      And I bet some people spend that cash

      • miaau

        There was an artice on this site about two years ago, that mentioned some developers in the United States actually made widgets for download at a cost, based on ONE player in the UAE that was paying stupid money for certain characters.

        I seem to recall that article said that something like 3 % of players bought stuff, but that was enough to make people very rich.

  • HvR

    Pfft, that is less than half the estimate in worldwide cocaine sales in 2016.

Check Also

Samsung and Super Evil Megacorp are bringing keyboard and mouse to Vainglory

Vainglory is changing, a bit, with the addition of a mouse and keyboard courtesy of Samsun…