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Record-Breaking Eight Mobile Games Surpass $1 Billion in Global Player Spending During 2021


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

A record-breaking eight mobile games including PUBG Mobile from Tencent, Honor of Kings from Tencent, and Genshin Impact from miHoYo have generated more than $1 billion globally from the App Store and Google Play so far in 2021, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows.

Billion-Dollar Battleground​

PUBG Mobile, localized as Game For Peace in China and Battlegrounds Mobile in India, and Honor of Kings rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 revenue generating mobile titles worldwide this year, accumulating $2.8 billion each so far this year, up 9 percent and 14.7 percent year-over-year, respectively.

Ranking at No. 3 this year is Genshin Impact, which has stormed to $1.8 billion in revenue so far in 2021. Launched on September 28, 2020, publisher miHoYo has continued to provide the game with a plethora of updates, regularly adding new islands, characters and features to keep players engaged. September’s Version 2.1 release showed just how effective these updates can be, with its launch sparking a five times increase in player spending week-over-week. To date, Genshin Impact has generated $2.4 billion worldwide from the App Store and Google Play.

Top Mobile Games by Worldwide Revenue Between January 1 and December 14 2021

Crushing it​

Roblox from Roblox Corporation ranks at No. 4 having picked up $1.3 billion on mobile so far this year, a rise of 20.3 percent Y/Y, while Coin Master from Moon Active ranks No. 5, accumulating $1.3 billion, a rise of 13.8 percent Y/Y.

Ranking at No. 6 is Pokémon GO from Niantic, which has generated $1.2 billion, putting the title on track for its best year ever, more than five years on from its launch. Rounding out the billion dollar hits are Candy Crush Saga from King at No. 7 with $1.2 billion, while Garena Free Fire from Garena has shot past $1.1 billion in worldwide player spending to reach No. 8. There could yet be a ninth mobile title to cross the $1 billion milestone in 2021, with Uma Musume Pretty Derby from Cygames closing in on the landmark at close to $965 million for the year, despite launching in February this year and only being available in Japan.

The eight mobile titles to have already crossed $1 billion is up on the five games that hit the figure in 2020, and marks a significant increase from the three that achieved unicorn status in both 2019 and 2018.

Fare thee well

'Game for Peace,' rofl

Yep, you can't beat the one platform that everyone already owns; the phone.

I hate it, but that's the reality. As long as it doesn't mess with all the niche pc gaming I love, I don't mind.

hemo memo

Gold Member
I am proud of myself and my circle of friends and family that I’ve never heard of Honor of Kings before this thread. Only Pubg for the young relatives and Roblox from the children in the family and they surely don’t spend money on them thank god. They stopped playing the likes of Go and Candy a long time ago.


Does anyone know what the ratio of revenue between Google play store and non-Google play store in China?

Seems like a big chunk
Can't really compete against the mobile market and how much the Asian market is willing to spend on it. Japan and China basically justify all the mobile gaming's current state of existence. We are already past the point of no return and things are looking bleaker moving forward.

I'm not saying that mobile gaming can't have great experiences but it's by far the one with the most predatory scene, and so, the most successful and popular between gaming companies, even the big ones like Epic, Activision, Nintendo, so on and so forth.

The days gaming was used exclusively as an escapism and entertainment mechanism are long gone. It feels like the gold rush days and the wild west to see who gets to make the most money the fastest before everything implodes. There are only so many people and whales to be able to maintain this insatiable hunger for money from companies at bay. I didn't want it to happen, but I expect another gaming industry crash with how things are going.
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imo get with the times. Gacha games are for depressed people and it’s also like zen where you get nothing and then get it all. dopamine based gaming just offers more than running around some game doing nothing


A single mobile company made $2 billion from a single gatcha game for 6 years.

That is quarter of bethesda price, which MS spent buying bethesda.

These companies so much money from mobile games. Its why Tencent is very strong. They get alot of money from these mobile games.


Didn't realize PUBG was such a mobile goliath
never heard of honor of kings, sounds generic as fuck
Candy Crush STILL crushing it


Gold Member
Never heard of honor of kings, coinmaster and garena.

Never knew candy crush was still so big. I thought this game would had died off years ago as other mobile games release. Got much better holding power than I thought.
Never heard of honor of kings, coinmaster and garena.

Never knew candy crush was still so big. I thought this game would had died off years ago as other mobile games release. Got much better holding power than I thought.
This only comes as news for those who don't stick their nose where mobile gaming makes the real money: Asia. PUBG in China has been going stronger than ever, coupled together with Honor of Kings, Genshin, etc. Japan has games like Uma Musume, Fate/Grand Order, Dragalia Lost, Granblue and many more. The mobile space is what reigns supreme there, and of course, it's all highly monetized.
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Gold Member
I've never ever felt the need to open a game marketplace and buy a fucking new outfit or weapon skin, i just cant wrap my head around that mentality.. oh look at my gun with its pink fucking unicorn wrap.. I'm in a constant "fuck off" with my kids asking for V-Bucks & Roblox for this or that but i do occasionally relent.. r.e. the new spiderman skin the kid wanted cause he's a big spiderman fan or because the daughter emotionally manipulated me into throwing a fiver's worth of roblox by being nice times all the other parents on the planet and... 💡 ahhh fer fucks sakes its me and others like ME that are the fucking reason for this shit.. GODDAMN PARENTS!!!


Does anyone know anyone personally that actually plays and spends money on this crap?

I don't think I've heard anyone in real life talk about a Mobile game in atleast 5 years.


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

The best mobile games use the medium to deliver engaging gameplay and gripping story, and 2021 saw a number of pocket-sized gems. From lovingly crafted RPGs to fresh spins on existing franchises, 2021 was a stellar year for mobile gaming: here’s GameSpot’s best mobile games of the year.


Gold Member
Funny thing is I literally know no one who plays games on their mobile, including my son. So who the fuck are these people.. It boggles my mind.


Funny thing is I literally know no one who plays games on their mobile, including my son. So who the fuck are these people.. It boggles my mind.
I know one person who plays Pokémon go, they even have the little wristband thing. He's pretty weird though and he also owns 5000+ games on Steam.
Jesus...i've heard so many people trying to claim Pokemon Go was dead for years and look at that.

It just shows how big it actually was back when it came out.


Makes you wonder why they're not pushing more "free" games in the console sector. Look at the money it's pumping in.


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

According to new mobile statistics from App Annie, the mobile gaming market broke a number of records in 2021, including a massive surge in app spending, playtime, and more.

As the State of Mobile 2022 Report explains, $116 billion was spent in total on mobile games in 2021, while total app store expenditure was $170 billion in 2021, which was an increase of 19% since 2020.

In 2021, in appears that Roblox hit number one for consumer spending, with Genshin Impact following behind. As for monthly active users, PUBG Mobile took first place, with Roblox coming in second, followed by Candy Crush, Free Fire, and Among Us.

Additionally, "more time than ever before" was spent on mobile apps, reaching 4.8 hours per user, per day in the top mobile-first markets. The report also indicates that mobile services remain in high demand with global consumers downloading over 435,000 apps per minute, while mobile app advertisements are on track to hit $350 billion in 2022, after surpassing $295 billion in 2021.

In other mobile gaming news, Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of Rockstar Games and publisher of Grand Theft Auto, acquired the FarmVille company Zynga for $12.7 billion. In a press release, Take-Two said this is a "transformative combination" of companies that makes Take-Two "one of the largest and most diversified mobile game publishers in the industry."

"This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said. Following the acquisition, it's possible that fans could see the company's IP--including Grand Theft Auto--make its way to mobile devices in one way or another.
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