Mobile games are the source of 52% of all video game industry revenue in 2023. The expansion of video game industry owes most of its success to mobile games and the increased penetration of mobile devices and high-speed mobile internet connection. Thanks to this, video games have broken out of the shell that is “entertainment” and permeated education, business, and even healthcare, proving that gaming can be useful in addition to fun. The trick is to find the mobile game genre and type most suited for particular circumstances.
Quizzes, puzzles, merge items games, RPG adventures, clickers, hyper-casual games — the selection is so wide it’s easy to get lost when making a choice. But with a professional team of game developers and experienced analysts, you’ll hit the ground running in no time.
And that’s exactly why we wrote this article: to make your immersion into the types of mobile games smooth and help you choose one for your company or institution.
Mind Studios Games is a seasoned team of mobile game developers who are also aficionados. We’re passionate about building successful gaming applications for all kinds of purposes, from educational to those aimed at entertainment only. And we’re here to spread the love.
Most popular mobile game types
If you’re thinking about building a mobile game — for your existing business or as a title of its own — you probably want it to become a success, popularity-wise or financially. To do that, you might want to check what mobile game types and genres are trending now and predicted to trend in the nearest future. Well, to be honest, it’s a bit tricky.
The answer to “What mobile game type is the best/most popular/successful?” will heavily depend on how you define popularity and success.
If you’re looking into games where people spend the most real-life money, the list will look like this:
- Strategy games (Plague Inc., Clash of Clans)
- MMORPG (Black Desert Mobile, Lineage 2: Revolution)
- RPG (Stardew Valley, Raid: Shadow Legends)
- Match games (Candy Crush Saga)
However, the list of most downloaded mobile game genres is different. For starters, it’s dominated by hyper-casual games, which tend to have ads-based monetization:
- Hyper-casual action games
- Hyper-casual puzzles
- Hyper-casual simulation games
- Running/racing simulation games
Not all free-to-play ads-based mobile games with a lot of downloads are financially successful — not all games developers strive for financial success over general popularity — but many of them are, thanks to carefully crafted ads implementation.
So, as you see, you’ll have to decide on your success criteria before you choose a type of game you want to build. That is, of course, if you don’t have your heart set on a specific type and genre from the beginning.
There’s another point to pay attention to if your plan is building a mobile game for an existing or planned non-gaming business. Some game genres are more suitable than others to showcase and promote different businesses.
Mobile game genres often used in business
It’s quite unlikely for a non-gaming company to embark on the development journey with an MMORPG title as part of the business, right? It’s a massive undertaking, and it’s kinda hard to tie it to an unrelated industry. Not impossible (we can come up with an idea or two) but hard.
On the other hand, some game genres fit into most industries like they were made for exactly that. In this section, we’ll talk about genres and types of mobile games most commonly found in non-gaming businesses.
Idle games are sometimes regarded as mindless time killers, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, as a mobile game idea to revitalize your business, they go a long way. You can build brand presence by making an idle game around your products.
There’s no shortage of items people buy, and you can build an idle game literally for anything. Jewelry tycoon game? Sure. Space company? Easy. Bakery, bookstore, big fashion clothing company, hospital, supermarket, weapons shop — you name it, we can make it into an idle game.
Simulations are suitable for some businesses more and for others less. As the name suggests, simulation games are made to resemble real-life situations, meaning they can be aimed at both entertainment and education.
You can use simulation mobile games to teach your customers necessary life skills as well as promote your services. For example, if yours is a healthcare institution, your simulation game can teach people symptoms of different health emergencies and how to deal with them before an ambulance arrives.
For a financial business, a simulation can teach customers how to save money, use credit cards wisely, or invest properly.
Hyper-casual strategy games
Strategy games create numerous stimuli for players:
- Brain stimulation to build the strategy
- Sense of accomplishment when a strategy they built works
- The ability to learn from unsuccessful strategies
When paired up with the hyper-casual type of mobile games, strategy games deliver all this in bite-sized pieces that make players come back every spare minute they have. This differentiates them from idle games, where it takes time to accumulate in-game currency with the game in the background.
With a hyper-casual strategy game around your business, you can engage your customers emotionally, creating a sort of loyalty.
Racing mobile phone game types are popular these days, they offer short bursts of adrenaline and some thrill to spice up the mundane routine. It’s possible to employ racing games to help customers understand your service in a fun way.
You can also add incentive by offering bonuses or discounts for high scorers — it’s a great way to build loyalty with customers.
This one is quite straightforward. For schools and other educational institutions, making games will help attract more customers as well as will simplify the studying process. It’s incorrect to think that education through games is only suitable for children — multiple studies prove the benefits of gamification in educating adults as well.
You can employ trivia, puzzles, match mechanics and more in educational games. Additionally, educational games are useful for training personnel if yours isn’t an educational establishment.
Real examples of choosing the right mobile game category
Many success stories happen when video games are used for marketing purposes. For example, partnering with Pokémon Go helped both the game and its partner Starbucks gain even more clients in 2017.
Another example is Euronics, an international retailer of electronic products from the Netherlands. The company had once held a promotional campaign for the new JBL earphones that involved a web-based Candy Crash-like game of matching. The campaign resulted in over six thousand unique page visitors and three thousand unique leads for the brand.
At Mind Studios Games, we both produce our own games and offer mobile game development services for outsourcing. Thanks to that, our portfolio hosts different mobile game types. Some of the games we built were standalone titles for clients who simply wanted to create a game of their own. Other projects pursued the goal of setting our clients’ non-gaming businesses apart, making them stand out among the competition.
One of our most successful projects is Nanobytes: Byteworld, a mini-games hub with a collectible element that connects real world and digital. Our client is an owner of a toy company, and the game we built for them hosts characters that are the toys they make. With the mobile game we built, the business has obtained another source of marketing, revenue, and a way to offer extra entertainment to its customers, building loyalty.
What mobile game types are the best for monetization?
Revenue is a solid reason to want to create a game. And when we’re talking about mobile games that earn money for their owners, there is a selection of monetization models you could employ.
Strictly speaking, there are no “best mobile gaming types” specifically when it comes to monetization. Any game type can have a good revenue if the monetization strategy is chosen and implemented well. A professional analyst in a game development team will be able to assist you with choosing the best course of action.
That being said, what monetization strategies are available for mobile games?
In the mobile gaming industry, ads are the most widespread monetization model, and reasonably so. Ads are fairly easy to implement on the developer side, and people are usually more willing to watch a short video ad to get a reward than they are to part with actual money.
We mostly use ads for small rewards, though, and in games where ads don’t disrupt the player’s focus much. Monetization via ads should also be well-thought-out so that players don’t become frustrated — too many ads might cause high abandonment rates.
Overall, ads bring the biggest chunk of all mobile games revenue, but they aren’t applicable for all games and events.
#2 In-app purchases
Another universal monetization model, but one whose performance fluctuates between genres of mobile games. In idle and hyper-casual games, in-app purchases (IAPs) are less popular than in MOBA, strategies, and MMORPGs.
IAPs are mostly used in larger games with more substantial in-game items like skins or battle passes. The revenue earned with this model can, however, be quite substantial — that is, if your monetization is crafted with precision. Making players pay with real money isn’t an easy task.
Most used in educational games, subscriptions is one of the most tricky monetization models in mobile games. The thing is, mobile games have a very high churn rate, which makes subscription as a monetization model only sensible for genres or titles with long player lifetime. Usually, it’s an extra revenue source alongside IAPs, though in some cases, players continue to pay the subscription while playing only occasionally.
#4 Paid downloads
The least used monetization model for all types of games for mobile devices — once again due to high average churn rate and severe competition. Unless you’re a widely renowned mobile game publisher, it’s unlikely players will be ready to pay for downloading your game: they just don’t really expect to play one mobile game for years. Hence, the possible revenue here is next to none.
There are more options if you want to monetize your app, but these are the most used in mobile games.
The world of gaming has no bounds and is growing each year, offering new gameplay, mechanics, and ways to earn money. And the mobile segment of the video game industry is the one that brings in the most revenue these days. Moreover, the spreading of first 4G and now 5G alongside more affordable smartphones makes mobile game categories swell as well.
Now is the prime time to employ mobile games for business (whether your company is related to games or not is of little importance here) or invest into creation of your own game that may give you additional revenue.
If you’re thinking about creating a mobile game, be it for fun or as a revenue source, reach out to Mind Studios Games. We’ve been on this market for a while, and we’ve built titles for multiple categories of mobile games, from idles to multiplayer racing games and shooters. Drop us a line in the form, and we’ll get back to you with a free consultation.