The gaming industry has faced a variety of headwinds and challenges in 2022, which caused a first-ever user drop. Regulatory issues in China, inflation, and the end of Covid-19 lockdowns have triggered a massive 175 million user drop this year, and mobile games, the market’s largest segment, played a huge role in that.
According to data presented by Sports Lens, mobile games are expected to lose around 80 million players in 2022, the first drop in the market`s history.
All Major Mobile Game Markets Losing Players
Over the past five years, the number of people playing mobile games has jumped by 55%, rising from 1.17 billion in 2017 to a massive 1.82 billion last year, according to a Statista survey. However, after years of double-digit growth, the number of users is expected to drop by 4% in 2022. Most of that user drop comes from China.
The world’s largest gaming industry faced a devastating eight-month freeze on approving new titles, stricter government censorship of game content, and tighter rules restricting playing times for minors. The latest push by the Chinese regulators put the country’s gaming industry on edge, cutting down revenues and users.
Statistics show the Chinese mobile games industry will lose 53.5 million players in 2022, making two-thirds of the total user drop this year. However, the downsizing trend will hit all other major mobile game markets. The US mobile games industry is expected to lose 3% or 5.7 million players this year. Japan, the world’s third-largest mobile games industry, will see a 1.8 million user drop in 2022. Germany follows, with a massive 2 million decrease.
Revenue Growth, Despite User Drop
Although the mobile games industry will see a massive 80 million user drop this year, Statista expects revenue to continue rising. In 2022, mobile games are expected to bring $152.2bn in revenue, showing a 9.2% increase YoY. Still, that is much smaller than the 21% YoY growth seen last year.
Statistics show China is the only one among the top five markets whose mobile games revenue will drop this year, falling by 6% YoY to $34.4bn. The other four markets are expected to witness double-digit growth.
The US mobile games revenues will increase by 16% YoY to $41.3bn. Japan and Germany will see 12% and 14% growth and revenues of $32.7bn and $3.4bn, respectively. However, the world’s fourth largest mobile games market, South Korea, will see the biggest year-over-year growth, with revenues jumping by 18% to $10.3bn in 2022.