Data drop: player spend breakdown, Voodoo case study, word game analysis 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: a meaty report containing app spending info, a Voodoo case study and a word genre analysis. Plus bonus tidbits from Ubisoft, Flexion and EA.’s State of App Revenue 2023 report

Let’s start with The Big Number: says total mobile app spend surpassed $500bn in 2022, which breaks down as 33.2% in app store spending (IAP) and 66.8% on ads:

The $167bn spend on IAP splits out as 50% on iOS, 27% on Google Play and third party stores in China making up the rest with 23%.

Games accounted for 66% of that total $167bn IAP spend, and apps were the rest with 34%. Just 2% of the games spend was on subscriptions; one-time IAP is 98% of the total:

Voodoo is used as a case study in how the ad market is changing. It was top for ad revenue in the US in 2022, but as the firm continues to pivot into ‘hybrid-casual’, IAP is rising: it was 6% of Voodoo revenue in January 2022, and 24% in March 2023:

Of the Voodoo games making significant money through IAP, Mob Control, Collect Em All and Bubble Buster 2048 were the top three.

Elsewhere, there’s a breakdown of mobile ad revenue by region:

Top ad monetisers by genre were listed as Magic Tiles 3 (hypercasual), Words With Friends 2 (Puzzle), BitLife (Simulation), Happy Color (Tabletop) and Candy Crush Saga (Match).

There’s also a by-market breakdown of the top ad revenue earners in the word game genre – the US top ten across iOS and Android is here:

A tidbit worth knowing: Words With Friends 2’s ad revenue per user averaged around $1.80 per monthly active user in Q1 2023. Wordscapes and Wordle have larger user bases, but lower ad revenue per user than Words With Friends 2.

This split of IAP spend by value is interesting, too – particularly the proportion of big spenders. This is iOS users in the US:

Ubisoft financials

Ubisoft earned 14% of its net bookings from mobile in Q4 22-23, up from 9% the previous year. For the 12 month period, mobile was 11% of net bookings, up from 5% the year prior.

Flexion financials

Quarterly revenue at the distribution specialist grew by 54% to £16.3m and adjusted EBITDA was up by 125% to £700k. Highlights included signing NetEase’s Vikingard, Hill Climb Racing 1&2 and a strategic partnership with Digital Turbine.

Saudi Arabia ups its stake in EA

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has reportedly raised its stake in EA. It now owns 24.81m shares, up from 16.01m last quarter – that’s around 9% of the total business.

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