Top Game Genres On Android And iOS

What do you suppose is the most lucrative entertainment sector in the world today? Perhaps you may be thinking of over-the-top platforms. After all, recent years have seen the so-called streaming wars enter its hot phase as the likes of Amazon Prime, Disney+ and HBO Max have sought to topple the preeminent position of Netflix – and with each of these demanding their own subscription fee for the pleasure, the market has never been more fiercely contested.

Or maybe you reason that while the MCU may be showing signs of losing steam recently, and Hollywood has had to contend with numerous writers’ strikes, the cultural relevance of cross-over blockbusters like Barbie look set to ensure that the silver screen still commands its traditional hegemony over popular entertainment.

The keen observers among you would, however, have already concluded that there can be only one industry sat atop the throne – that of the global video games market. While it’s true that in the late 90s and early 00s, the games industry enjoyed relative competitive parity with other major media concerns, since then it has enjoyed ongoing and meteoric growth that results in it dwarfing its rivals in 2024. Even the film industry, which commands annual revenues of some $90 billion looks like small fry before the global gaming’s $300 billion a year dividend.

The reasons why gaming has gotten so big are multifaceted. Partially it’s merely the result of the sector finally maturing, buoyed by millennials raised on the console wars. There’s also something to be said for the ingenious monetization models employed across the sector, from freemium pay-walls to microtransactions. Though if you must point to a single cause, you could make a strong argument that it’s to do with the rise of the smartphone.

In fact, today over 50% of all gaming revenues come from mobile titles. The arrival of the modern smartphone and its adjoining app ecosystem smoothed the way for millions of new, more casually inclined gamers, to access titles on hardware they already own. But what are the world’s most popular mobile genres, on both iOS and Android?

Freemium MMOs

Without a doubt the most lucrative single sector of the mobile gaming market belongs to those freemium titles that have managed to enjoy crossover mainstream success like Clash of Kings and other MMO-focused titles. By hitching mass-participation online play to freemium and microtransaction strategies, such games virtually come with a license to print money for developers.

That is, however, not to say that these games are lacking in justifiable quality. After all, there are hundreds of clones and knock-offs on both the App Store and Google Play Stores, though it’s only comparatively few such games that have managed to establish themselves as major draws.

Browser Gaming

While browser gaming is itself not a discrete genre one can point to and define like others on this list, it unquestionably retains its own category due to its long roots that predate the arrival of the smartphone. Ultimately, browser games are any titles that run out of a smartphone’s web browser. They’re typically casually oriented, and are seldom resource hungry, preferring to pitch themselves to gamers where internet speeds – or mobile hardware – may be limited.

Among the most popular examples of browser games are those that belong to the iGaming industry, where one can find over 20,000 dedicated online casinos offering real money gaming readily accessible on-demand through the likes of Chrome, Safari or other mobile-ready browsers. This sector has long offered competitive welcome bonuses for sign-ups on desktops, and with the arrival of the smartphone it now garners the majority of its advocates from among Android and iOS gamers.

Mobile Esports

While mobile esports are still playing catch-up to their desktop and console counterparts, they do represent the single fastest growing gaming market on mobile. This is especially true in East Asia, where the likes of Garena’s Free Fire, Arena of Valor and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang – all mobile-only competitive titles, now top the rankings of most-played and most-spectated esports across any platform.

With appetite growing for esports recently, and smartphones being the lowest friction means of engaging with competitive play, mobile esports’ ascendancy is all but inevitable at this point.

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