Eight mobile games exceed $1 billion in global player spend in 2021

Tencent, miHoYo and Roblox Corporation are among the companies that made their mark on the list.
Most earning mobile games
8 mobile games surpassed the $1 billion global player spending threshold in 2021.

Eight record-breaking mobile games, including Tencent’s PUBG Mobile, Honor of Kings, and miHoYo’s Genshin Impact, have generated more than $1 billion worldwide to date from the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data.

Billion-dollar battleground

PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings, localized as Game For Peace in China and Battlegrounds Mobile in India, managed to grab the #1 and #2 worldwide this year, raising $2.8 billion each, up 9 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively.

Ranked #3 this year, Genshin Impact has generated $1.8 billion in revenue so far in 2021. Launching on September 28, 2020, publisher miHoYo continued to offer numerous updates to the game, regularly adding characters and features to keep players engaged. Version 2.1, released in September, showed how effective these updates could be, resulting in a five-fold increase in player spend from week to week. Genshin Impact has generated $2.4 billion worldwide from the App Store and Google Play to date.

Top 8 mobile games
Top mobile games by revenue worldwide from January 1 to December 14, 2021.

Roblox Corporation’s Roblox ranks number 4 in mobile, up 20.3 percent, earning $1.3 billion this year, while Coin Master from Moon Active is at number 5, making $1.3 billion, up 13.8 percent.

Ranking up is Niantic’s Pokémon GO, which grossed $1.2 billion and was at its best more than five years after its launch. One of the last games to reach a billion-dollar hit is Candy Crush Saga from King No. 7 with $1.2 billion, while another is Garena Free Fire, which reached number 8 by exceeding $1.1 billion.

Cygames’ Uma Musume Pretty Derby looks set to hit $1 billion by the end of 2021, closing the milestone with close to $965 million for the year, despite launching in February this year and only available in Japan.

While only five games exceeded the $1 billion thresholds last year, this number increased to 8 in 2021, demonstrating that the momentum has increased. Three games that reached unicorn status in 2018 and 2019 continued to run to great success this year.

Despite the headwinds caused by Apple’s IDFA changes in iOS, this year, the mobile game industry has seen further progress beyond 2020. Sensor Tower forecasts mobile gaming spending to reach $89.6 billion by the end of 2021, up 12.6 percent year-over-year worldwide on the App Store and Google Play.

Both new and old games support this increase in revenue; each of these billion-dollar hits once again demonstrated how diverse the market and massive audience are and how vital an operational strategy is for long-term, sustainable success.

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