Blog Mobile gaming in APAC ascends new height...

Mobile gaming in APAC ascends new heights in 2022

In 2022, mobile gaming in Asia-Pacific (APAC) continues its impressive reign, remarkably growing from strength to strength. According to a recent report, APAC experienced the largest growth globally in mobile game consumer spending from Q1 2021 to Q2 2022. Our own data at Adjust confirms APAC’s unflagging growth in the mobile gaming space in recent months. We’ve pulled top statistics we think app developers and marketers will find advantageous in staying current on mobile gaming in APAC. Most interesting, the interaction between install growth and an up-and-down paid/organic ratio suggests user acquisition teams are turning to organic installs.

Install growth continues to climb

Gaming install growth in APAC continues to rise, with a 25% year-over-year increase from 2020 to 2021. When comparing H1 install averages, we see that H1 2021 enjoyed a 48% increase from H1 2020 and that while H1 2022’s growth rate slowed, it still saw an uptick of 2% compared to H1 2021—remarkable considering that H1 2021 was still experiencing the COVID-19 driven app usage surge. The month of August proved advantageous for both 2020 and 2021, with installs in August 2020 15% higher than the yearly average, and 13% higher than the 2021 yearly average. For 2022, May has been the top-performing month so far at 4% above the current average.

Line chart showing gaming app install growth 2020-H1 2022 APAC

Installs favor hyper-casual and action

Examining data for installs by gaming sub-verticals in APAC, we reviewed the period of H2 2021 to H1 2022. In step with global installs reported in our Mobile app trends 2022 report, hyper-casual games had the highest share of gaming installs at 26%, followed by action at 18%. Puzzle and casual tied for third highest at 10% each, and sports came in with 8%.

Pie chart showing gaming sub-verticals installs APAC H2 2021- H1 2022

Share of paid installs up in H1 2022

When looking at the paid/organic ratio for gaming in APAC, that is, the number of paid installs for every organic install, we note an interesting pattern in the last 24 months. H2 2020 and H2 2021 have a lower share of paid installs than both H1 2021 and H1 2022. In short, the first half of the year has more paid installs than the second half. Comparing H2 2021 to the six months that preceded it, the paid/organic share drops from 0.52 to 0.45. In H1 2022 however, it’s back up above the original peak, and is currently sitting at 0.54. There are numerous factors that can influence this, including less emphasis on paid campaigns—but with the overall increase in installs in 2022 so far, it appears that user acquisition teams are pivoting toward organic channels and are seeing uplift.

Retention rates hold steady

Retention rates for gaming apps in APAC have remained consistent when analyzing retention rates across H2 2020 through to H1 2022, where they had a day 1 rate of 23%, a day 7 rate of 10%, a day 14 rate of 7%, and a day 30 rate of 5%. The stability in these retention rates highlights the strong user experience and consistent emphasis on retention strategies at work within the region.

Chart showing gaming app retention rate H2 2020-H1 2022 APAC

Session lengths surpass global average

While sessions for gaming in APAC are down slightly in 2022 so far, session lengths are up significantly. The average gaming app session length in APAC reached 34.79 minutes, higher by 14% than the global gaming average of 30.5 minutes but down 3.41% in 2022 so far—though we expect to see this come up as we move into Q4. This increase reveals gaming app marketers in the region are increasing their user base with high-value users.

Bar chart of global average of session lengths vs APAC average

3 strategies going into 2023

Expand your app business in tandem with the APAC mobile gaming market. We’ve curated three emerging strategies app marketers can use to drive gaming app growth in the region.

1. Build momentum with pre-registration and ads

In Google for Games’s 2022 Mobile Insights Report, APAC mobile players have the greatest likelihood—at 70%—of pre-registering for mobile games. In the same report, 36% of mobile players in APAC surveyed said they discover new or upcoming games via social media ads, and 32% via ads within the mobile games themselves—otherwise known as cross-promotion.

When publishing a new mobile game, create a campaign in advance of the launch date to get your target audience in APAC excited about the release of your game. In addition to advertising on social media, we also recommend utilizing rewarded video ads within any of your pre-existing games to encourage gamers to pre-register for your new game. In doing so, you can increase installs when you initially launch your game and benefit from leveraging the IDFV.

2. Invest in localization

Did you know that 9 out of 10 mobile players in APAC believe it’s at least moderately important that a game’s content is localized to their country and region? This statistic indicates that localization is well worth your investment.

First, you’ll need to translate your app store descriptions for each market you wish to pursue. Then, depending on available resources, you can translate all of the messaging in the app itself and hire a local marketing and customer service team to support each new target region. Delighting the consumer means providing offerings in their language.

3. Predict LTV and gain more funding opportunities

With the right mobile analytics platform, you can predict the expected future value of your live user cohorts, also known as Residual Cohort Value (RCV). The amount of RVC depends on a user’s historical spend and the LTV profile of your game.

By monitoring existing users’ spending habits, you estimate the LTVs of users acquired and be able to make a case for additional funding for your user acquisition efforts. For a more in-depth explanation and examples on how to do so, check out Using player cohort data to open up new sources of funding for mobile gaming studios.

Thirsty for more tips on expanding your app’s user base? Check out our guide to Scaling your app to 1 million users, Part 1 as we cover app store optimization (ASO) and user acquisition (UA) tips to successfully grow your app.

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