Analyst Bulletin: Mobile Game Market Review February 2021

As expected, February included a number of seasonal events in mobile game markets with events like Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year. However, our analysts also spotted some interesting collaborations and surprisingly themed events, so let’s see what our analysts have gathered for us this time.

The data and examples shown here are gathered from the GameRefinery service, which you can access here. If you’re interested in checking more than 2.5k unique, high-quality overview pages across our genre taxonomy & markets, you might want to pay a visit! 😉

US Market Overview

  • Roblox’s 8th annual Bloxys (Roblox awards gala) are on the way, and players can vote for their favorite nominees to earn a special badge. With the update, a mysterious research station area was released as a Roblox game, teasing something bigger to be released when the Bloxy winners are released.

Mobile game Roblox 8th annual Bloxys
In Roblox’s research station, players can vote for their favorite nominees to earn a special badge, explore the research station and the mysterious spaceship and hang around with other players.
  • Genshin Impact’s latest update brings the Lunar New Year event Lantern Rites, which is even bigger than the previous events so far. The event is divided into four sections: “All That Glitters,” “Lantern Rite Tales,” “Theater Mechanicus,” and the “Xiao Market.” Each supports the other in different ways.

Mobile game Genshin Impact's Lunar New Year event
Theater Mechanicus is the main gameplay beef of the Genshin Impacts latest event. It is a brand new tower-defense-inspired game mode where players can play these levels either solo play or in co-op with one other player. The objective of Theater Mechanicus is to use various strategies to withstand waves of enemies.
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery deepens its relationship-features by adding Romance options. Players can start dating various characters with a high enough friendship level (the old relationship-mechanic). On top of this, Jam City also added interesting Charisma-mechanic, which is a multiplier for relationships earned from logging in on a daily basis
  • Archero introduced a huge update including synchronous PvP-mode where you can fight random players (costs gems and affects ladder ranking) or your friends (free casual matches with no ranking effect) in 1v1 arenas.
  • Forge of Empires had a St. Patrick’s Day event, which included a brand new idler-type system.

As expected, February included a bunch of different Valentine’s Day events (e.g., Lily’s Garden, Cooking Diary, Dragon City Mobile, Two Dots) and Chinese New Year updates in games.

Dragon City Mobile also introduced a Dragon TV collection, an event based on watching incentivized ads in the game. What makes this interesting is that we haven’t usually seen events that are themed around watching ads.

Mobile game Dragon City Mobile's Dragon TV event
In Dragon City Mobile, players collect Dragon TV coins by watching ads in the “Dragon TV” ad section and progressively earn rewards based on how many coins they have collected.

Other interesting highlights of the month included the MMORPG Warhammer: Odyssey’s global soft launch and Top War: Battle Game’s significant revenue gains, which accelerated the game’s break into top-grossing 20 in the US. We spoke shortly about Top War in the previous Analyst Bulletin.

China Market Overview

  • Genshin Impact’s Lunar New Year Event.
  • Sausage Man (香肠派对) had a big update with lots of new features and content, such as a new Fall-Guys-inspired PVP mode, where players race each other on imaginative obstacle courses.

Mobile game Sausage Man’s new Fall-Guys-inspired PVP mode
In the Sausage Man’s new Fall-Guys-inspired PVP mode, players can find the game’s signature heart-shaped smoke grenades on the track and use them to obstruct other players’ vision.

Mobile game Xin Xiao-ao Jiang-hu's singing contest event
In Xin Xiao-ao Jiang-hu, players can record their own songs, which others can listen to (after passing censorship), and give a “like” to the songs they enjoy. The more “likes” a song gathers, the higher on the leaderboard the song goes. Players can also use premium currency to send boosts to their favorite songs, which are worth several “likes.”

Most of the games celebrated the Chinese New Year, often synchronously with the beginning of the new battle pass/competitive season. Some games also celebrated western Valentine’s Day (e.g., Langrisser 梦幻模拟战).

Our game analysts have recently spotted multiple casual PvP TD-games in China’s top download list. One of them, called Fusion Crush: Hero Orbs also recently entered the top-grossing list for the first time. Moreover, the previously mentioned 4x-merge hybrid Top War: Battle Game has also risen in the top-grossing ranks.

Another interesting and maybe even amusing observation from the Chinese mobile game market is the several KFC collaborative events that have frequently been popping up in various games in the Chinese market, the latest being Jiang-nan Bai-jing-tu (江南百景图), a classic city-building tycoon game set in Ming dynasty China.

Mobile Game Jiang-nan Bai-jing-tu’s collaboration event with KFC Sweet
Jiang-nan Bai-jing-tu’s collaboration event with KFC Sweet included special in-game rewards such as your very own Ming Dynasty KFC shop.

Japan Market Overview

Mobile game 実況パワフルサッカー added a new beta PvP-mode called Fes Match
In the 実況パワフルサッカー new PvP-mode, players are divided into ranks for the season (1 week) and challenge others in their rank up to six times a day. Once the season ends, players get reward tickets based on their success, and the tickets can be used at the league shop.

Mobile game Princess Connect! Re:Dive's 3rd anniversary event
In the Princess Connect! Re:Dive, clearing event stages opens up the event story and defeating the event boss (three difficulty options) is rewarded with medals that can be exchanged for character crystals.

February also brought a number of Valentine’s Day or chocolate-themed and some Lunar New Year events into Japan’s mobile game market. For instance, games, such as The Seven Deadly Sins (七つの大罪 光と闇の交戦 : グラクロ) and Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) introduced seasonal event content in their February’s updates.

We recently wrote an article on how seasonal events provide a perfect excuse to find new and exciting ways to drive player engagement. Check out the blog post, if you’re interested in how to implement seasonal content into your game.

Also, Japan’s top-grossing list got a new top 1 last month. Cygames’ Uma Musume Pretty Derby (ウマ娘 プリティーダービー) is an interactive story about derby horse girls. The story’s plot is that great racehorses of the past have a chance to be reborn as “horse girls”, girls with the ears and tails of horses as well as their speed and endurance, and who then race for fame and fortune.

Screenshots from Uma Musume Pretty Derby (ウマ娘 プリティーダービー) mobile game
Screenshots from Uma Musume Pretty Derby (ウマ娘 プリティーダービー) mobile game.

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