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April 12, 2023

Highest Earning Mobile Games by Genre 2023

As mobile games continue to evolve, it’s essential to stay updated on the state of the industry. It’s important to keep an eye on the changing trends we see in the market.

Mobile games show no sign of slowing down, making up 50% of video game market spending for 2022 at $92.2 billion. This is a slight decrease from the previous year. We are most likely seeing the market correcting itself after the lockdown-fueled boom in 2020-2021.

Despite that, revenue is still $43 billion higher than predicted pre-pandemic. Make no mistake; mobile games are still a titan in the video game industry.

While looking at the highest-grossing mobile games can be an excellent way to see which games are most profitable, this will only tell a fraction of the story. Top Grossing only accounts for the money made directly through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, meaning it doesn’t take ad revenue into account.

To better understand the market, looking at Top Downloads is essential. Certain games rely almost exclusively on ad revenue and user acquisition. Downloads are a more reliable metric for these games since it roughly correlates with ad views.

So to get a complete picture of the market, we will look at both “Top Grossing” and “Top Downloaded” mobile games.

Image of several people playing on their mobile phones.
Image by natureaddict from Pixabay

Top Grossing Mobile Games

Over the years, the Top Grossing games generally tend to be casual and hardcore. Judging by the stats below, that’s no different for 2022:

A ranking of the top grossing mobile games of 2022, from top to bottom: Honor of Kings, Genshin Impact, PUBG Mobile, Candy Crush Saga, Roblox, Coin Master, Pokemon Go, Monster Strike, Romance of Three Kingdoms, and Uma Musume Pretty Derby.
Source: App Magic, Sensor Tower, BusinessofApps

All ten games on this list are freemium, meaning they are free to play but rely on in-app purchases for revenue. 

The top 5 games brought in over $5 billion in revenue in 2022, most of which came from China and Japan. The top-grossing game, Honor of Kings, made $1.65 billion, with most of its revenue coming exclusively from China.

Let’s look at how some of these top-performing titles make their money.

All mobile games tend to monetize in one of three ways: 

  • Pay for Content 
  • Pay for Convenience
  • Pay for Style

Candy Crush Saga uses Pay for Content and Convenience. For convenience, they sell extra lives and boosts for completing levels. On the Content side, they sell exclusive levels available only after purchase.

PUBG mobile exclusively uses Pay for Style, allowing players to customize their characters with outfits and weapon skins.

Meanwhile, Genshin Impact mixes all three depending on the quality and look of new characters versus the existing characters.

Top Downloaded Mobile Games

When looking at the Top Downloads list for 2022, you’ll notice that it is half hyper-casual and half mid-core games.

A ranking of the top downloaded mobile games of 2022, from top to bottom: Subway Surfers, Roblox, Bridge Race, Garena Free Fire, Among Us, Hair Challenge, Join Clash, 8Ball Pool, Ludo King, and Candy Crush Saga.
Source: Apptopia, BusinessofApps

Like the Top Grossing list, all these games are free to play. However, one difference you might notice is the significant presence of hyper-casual games.

You can recognize hyper-casual games by their simple and short gameplay loops. Their primary method of monetization is ad revenue. So getting as many people as possible that play the game to see ads is vital.

Last year, the top downloaded game in the US was the hyper-casual title “Subway Surfers,” It had an average of over 20 million daily users in 2022.  If each of those users watched just 2 ads a day, then at $5 per 1000 impressions (this rate varies), the game was potentially raking in $100,000 per day in ad revenue.

One way to capitalize on ads in hyper-casual games is through rewarded ads, which reward players for viewing ads in the game. In a survey by Unity, most players preferred rewarded video ads as a way of “paying” for their game.

Interested in making money with hyper-casual games? Click here to learn more!


As mobile devices improve, the quality of mobile games follows suit. We’re beginning to see AAA titles adapted to the platform and making claims within the market, such as with PUBG, Roblox, and Genshin Impact.

Even so, casual and hyper-casual games aren’t going anywhere, with casual games sitting comfortably in the top spots of both charts. Meanwhile, hyper-casuals sit comfortably at the peak of the “Top Downloads” chart.

As mobile gaming continues to evolve, so will the diversity of titles available on iOS and Android, and the people excited to play them.

Image of a castle emerging from a phone.
Image by David from Pixabay

Click here to get started with your own hyper-casual title and a potential 2.5x return!

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