Role-playing games have an essential place on PC and consoles. At the same time, this genre has now become one of the highest revenue-generating genres in the mobile gaming market. According to the report by Newzoo, Role-playing games (RPGs) accounted for 21.3% of mobile gaming revenues in 2020.
The rise of RPGs on mobile platforms continued in 2021. Mobile RPGs now generate more RPG revenue than any other gaming platform. RPG games constantly introduce new mechanics and ways to make money to the game industry. In this respect, it is possible to say that RPGs are one of the leading genres of the game world.
Newzoo teamed up with Pangle, Asia’s leading mobile advertising and user acquisition platform, to compare RPG data from East and West. According to the data, more than 70% of mobile RPG revenues come from China, Japan, and South Korea. At the same time, mobile role-playing games accounted for 21.3% of mobile game revenues last year, generating more than $18 billion in revenue.
China, Japan, and South Korea alone account for 72% of mobile RPG revenues. China is the leader with $7.84 billion in RPG revenue. Japan follows China with $3.46 billion and South Korea with $2.04 billion.
Why Are Mobile RPGs So Popular and Lucrative?
Newzoo Consumer Insights states that the feeling of exploration is one of the main reasons players play RPGs. Top RPG publishers regularly add new content to their games to support this sense of discovery. The number of in-game events is increasing, and strategies are being developed to keep users in the game.
The report here takes the game Genshin Impact as an example. Genshin Impact was developed in China. In addition to its own market, it also achieved success in Japan and Western countries. The game combines “live-ops” and in-game purchases to create significant influence and revenue.
The fact that Genshin Impact earns such high revenue from in-game purchases does not mean that other monetization methods are useless. According to the report, RPG gamers prefer an immersive gaming experience, but interstitials and banner ads break that immersion. Instead, rewarding video ads and native ads are better suited for mobile RPGs. “Award-winning” ads and videos that reward the player for clicking are seen as more acceptable. 73% of gamers find this type of advertisement more acceptable.
Differences between general mobile gamers and mobile RPG players
Newzoo asks respondents why they play mobile games in its Consumer Insight survey. With the data they obtained, they list the difference between mobile RPG players and general mobile players as follows:
- General mobile gamers skew toward the more casual reasons to play, such as relaxing and filling time.
- Mobile RPG players are more drawn as exploration and immersion, which go hand in hand with the genre and ‘’playing a role.’’
- RPG players are also more interested in social aspects like competition and working with teammates.
Games with high social interaction, such as Genshin Impact, attract more attention from RPG players. RPG players spend more time in the games they play, and they like to spend this time in social interaction.
The Newzoo and Pangle joint report also provides a number of recommendations based on the data they obtained while presenting these statistics. Here are three important recommendations:
- Optimizing game design to allow users to spend within the first 24 hours – offering an in-app purchase discount only available within the first 24 hours and promoting the Battle Pass earlier, etc.
- Diversify monetization models – diversify monetization options like battle pass and cleverly implement ads like rewarding video ads, etc.
- Retaining high-value users
The mobile RPG market continues to evolve. Along with the whole game industry, the revenues of various game genres are increasing. Mobile RPGs make up a significant portion of the gaming market today.