Data drop: casual gaming analysis, App Store numbers, crossplatform and more


There’s a deluge of new data, research and financial reporting to wade through every week. So every Wednesday we’re here to break it all down into digestible chunks: data drop has just the stuff you need to know, minus the fluff.

This week: Liftoff’s casual gaming report, some revealing App Store stats from Apple, AppsFlyer pushes into crossplatform and financial tidbits from Take-Two/Zynga, Ten Square, Embracer and Netmarble.

Liftoff’s casual gaming report

Important to state how this report defines ‘casual gaming’:

  • Puzzle (match-3, hidden object, word, colouring and trivia games)
  • Lifestyle (interactive stories, home renovation, dress-up, rhythm and music games)
  • Simulation (builders, virtual pet games)

It kicks off with a damning post-ATT stat about iOS CPIs: Liftoff says casual games on Android have an average CPI of $0.63, with iOS costing over 3x as much at $2.23 per install:

This graph on D7 ROAS shows iOS ahead, though, because Apple-owning folks are bigger spenders:

This CPI by month graph is eye-opening too:

Some trend-based observations here:

  • Match-3 is over-saturated, says Liftoff: “Garden Affairs and BTS Island are the only successful traditional match-3 games released in the last two years”.
  • Love & Pies and Gossip Harbor were cited as good examples in the hot merge-narrative genre
  • Multi-genre mixes like Fiona’s Farm, a combo of blast puzzle, tycoon/crafting and adventure-like missions are also on the rise
  • Hypercasual has gone from a 50% total download market share in Q1 2021 (pre-IDFA) to just over 30% in Q1 2023
  • Voodoo’s Mob Control is cited as a key hybridcasual example: hypercasual style art, PvP battle gameplay, card-collecting meta, mix of ads and IAP.
  • Match3D, Zen Match and Triple Match 3D were namechecked as ones to watch in the puzzle genre – each has new(ish) tile-matching gameplay plus rich live ops and deep metas.

The report also has a quick look at minigames, which are increasingly being used for UA campaigns or as an extra retention mechanic. Minigames are also, obviously, another way to offer committed players the chance to spend on IAP or watch an ad.

Notable examples cited include the matching minigames in Township, the ‘house of games’ in Family Farm Adventure and the hidden object missions in Two Dots.

Apple’s App Store transparency report

See also: App review is still broken, and developers are angry: “Apple sees itself as above the law”

A fun read from Apple: following a 2021 lawsuit which the tech giant settled, the platform holder promised to “publish an annual report with meaningful information regarding app rejections, search queries and results, and other issues of interest to developers”.

That report was published last week, and had some interesting numbers in it, all from 2022:

  • Apple reviewed 6.1m app submissions, and rejected 1.7m of those
  • Of the 186,195 apps removed from the store, 38,883 were games
  • App rejection reasoning by type: performance (1m), legal (442k), design (212k), business (152k), safety (93k), other (80k)
  • Average weekly App Store visitors: 657m
  • Average weekly app downloads: 748m
  • Average weekly app redownloads: 1.5bn
  • Total number of registered Apple developers: 37m
  • Developer accounts terminated: 428,487
  • Average weekly number of customer accounts searching the App Store: 373m

AppsFlyer’s cross-platform play

Data and marketing firm AppsFlyer announced it is expanding its tools to include PC and console this week, and as part of the announcement stated that 62% of gamers play on more than one platform, and 28% play across mobile, PC and console.

AppsFlyer also pointed at this recent Newzoo report, which breaks down the player overlap between platforms:

Take-Two/Zynga financials

Zynga ad revenue is growing quarter over quarter and now accounts for approximately 27% of Zynga’s net bookings.

Take-Two made $717.7m in net revenue from mobile in the quarter that ended on March 31 2023 – 50% of its total revenue in that period. Mobile net revenue for the twelve months ended March 31 2023 was $2.5bn, 47% of Take-Two’s overall revenue.

Ten Square Games financials

Following on from 120 job losses and the cancellation of several games, the Fishing Clash maker continues to focus on a smaller number of titles.

Year-on-year revenue for Q1 2023 was down around 30% from $38.8m to $26.9m. The drop was down to lower bookings in Fishing Clash, said Ten Square, which also noted that Hunting Clash “recorded stable results” and that Wings of Heroes was growing after a bigger marketing push.

Embracer Group financials

Mobile game revenue saw a 25% year-on-year drop at Embracer, which blamed “very tough YoY comparisons, lower ad prices, and recent platform privacy changes.”

Looking forward, Embracer said it expects “low single-digit organic growth, with gradually stronger growth during the financial year” for its mobile portfolio, which includes Deca Games (Dragonvale, The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land), hypercasual maker Crazy Games and casual puzzle specialist Easybrain.

There was also a fun tidbit about a deal Embracer estimated was worth $2bn falling through just before the financials were announced. Shares plummeted as a result.

Netmarble financials

Q1 2023 revenue was $457m, down year-on-year 4.6% and quarter-on-quarter 12.3%, which Netmarble attributed to no new game launch in the period and “seasonality in overseas business”.

It also provided a by-game breakdown of top earners by percentage of its total game revenue:

Jackpot World (10%), Marvel Contest of Champions (9%), Cash Frenzy (9%), Lotsa Slots (9%), The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross (7%), Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds (5%), Lineage 2 Revolution (5%), ‘others’ (36%).

Scroll to Top