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The Hottest Mobile App Game Trends for 2022

Written by Pranjal Bora, Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners. 

What’s in store for mobile gaming app developers for 2022? As far as the latest mobile app trends show, the mobile gaming market will continue to shine bright next year. The industry has experienced amazing growth over the past few years and that’s not expected to change!

Currently, there are around 2.69 billion gamers who use their mobile devices to play. Also, mobile gaming downloads comprise 66% of app store revenue. These numbers are expected to grow rapidly in 2022 and in the years to come.

The Top Mobile Gaming App Development Trends

From the top mobile game title downloads to new gaming development regulations, 2022 is going to be an exciting year for game builders. Let’s find out what the trends and shifts are in mobile game app news.

Expect Rich Mobile Gaming Experience

Genshin Impact changed the face of the mobile gaming industry last year. Forbes reported that after only six months since its release, this game has earned more than $1 billion in revenue. Genshin Impact was a success because of its stunning graphics, excellent open-world gameplay, and free-to-play strategy.

This game on mobile is similar on consoles and on PCs, because game creator miHoYo was able to produce a single-player experience from console games and AAA PC to work on small screens of mobile devices. AAA games (sometimes pronounced or written as Triple A) are games created and produced by a mid-sized or major gaming company. These games are known for their amazing quality because these were produced with higher marketing and development budgets. 

This success may pave the way for an increase in AAA mobile games in 2022 and beyond. Also, there is a new trend of Chinese gaming developers hitting the charts this year. Lilith Games is a great example of a  very successful gaming company that’s enjoying huge success abroad.

Other games that enjoy high rankings because of their amazing graphics offering rich mobile gaming experience are Pokemon GO, Honor of Kings, and PUBG Mobile.

About Mobile App Purchasing Behavior

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of mobile app and mobile gaming as we know it. Mobile gaming has become the spark in the rapid development and growth of the video gaming industry. Last year, video gaming worldwide revenue increased about 50% while mobile gaming penetration rates and mobile phone use continued to increase all over the world.

Statistics show that mobile game revenues will exceed $100 billion by 2023, transforming the US gaming industry. Mobile gaming revenues in the country capped $10.73 billion in 2020 due to new gaming technologies, digital advancements, and lockdowns. To sum it up, the numbers of US mobile gaming users are greater than ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, a trends report released by SensorTower showed that core games are leading game download charts last year when it comes to gross revenue. Games like Honour of Kings, PUBG Mobile, Genshin Impact, and Roblox are core games which gamers just couldn’t get enough of last year.

Core games are games that rely on in-app purchases and gaming subscription monetization which marketers find very successful. This year, more developers of in-app purchases games are using in-game ads that serve to improve revenue and increase in-app purchases. 

New Rules or Regulations for Developers

As global mobile gaming stats improve, new rules for mobile game developers have also influenced mobile gaming trends. Apple’s changes in the use of the identifier for advertisers, or IDFA, will continue to affect mobile gaming ads. These changes made targeted ads more complicated to apply for marketers and this has impacted monetization and acquisition. IDFA changes took effect in the middle of 2021 and to this day, gaming advertisers and marketers are still looking for ways to overcome these challenges.

Mobile game developers have no choice but to adjust to the IDFA changes and improve user acquisition campaigns. Also, game developers may turn to offline gaming due to these changes. What’s known so far is that next year, marketing creatives will be an essential part of mobile gaming to help game developers find creative ways for their gaming ads to stand out from the rest.  Also, it’s time to combine data science with creative teams to get the best out of mobile game development..

Top Casual Gaming Trends

Hyper-casual games are instantly-available, lightweight, and easy to engage, which is why gamers visit and play this type of game more often than other types. Hyper-casual gaming has short sessions and ifun themes. The rise of these games was evident in 2021 and this trend is expected to continue till 2022.

Hyper-casual gaming focuses on a single core. Common examples of hyper-casual gaming include shooting a basketball, parking a car, or solving a simple puzzle. The nature of these games makes them easier to play over and over again.

Hyper-casual gaming is popular for its snackable content; players can enjoy a short snack while waiting for their turn to play . Similar to arcade games, hyper-casual gaming has a viral appeal and ability to scale very easily.

Many hyper-casual game titles have been monetized through video, banner, interstitial, and playable ads. This trend will remain popular for the next few years as marketers consider these effective ways to engage mobile app consumers. In some games, there are in-app purchases that players can use to unlock items useful in the game or to play the game without ads.

Puzzle Games Will Still Remain Popular

This game genre will continue to evolve. It’s currently part of the latest mobile gaming trend adopted by puzzle game creators with the addition of meta-layers to the game core. Games like Homescapes, Clockmaker, Gardenscapes, and Project Makeover are the most popular titles that belong to this genre. These games come with storytelling, décor, and fashion meta-layers in their gameplay.

Adding meta-layers allows game builders to create games that appeal to a broader gaming audience. Instead of just focusing on match-3 gamers, meta-layered puzzle games also attract those interested in storytelling, design, and fashion games.

More Trends to Watch Out For

The mobile gaming market is stronger than ever with emphasis on these upcoming trends:

  • More games with social features will emerge such as guilds, in-game chats, social media integration, PvP modes, and co-op modes.
  • More games worthy of watching rather than playing. Reports say that 18 to 25-year-olds prefer to watch gamers rather than watch people play traditional sports.
  • An increasing number of merging gaming companies in 2021 to 2022. The most popular mergers are Zynga and Embracer in 2021.

Final Words

The mobile apps market shows no sign of slowing down. Mobile gaming apps will continue to inspire and change the way people live and play. App developers and game developers must know and understand these trends to create the best, game-changing apps to reap unlimited rewards.

About the author

Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners