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NEW DELHI: Mobile gaming is now the primary growth driver in the gaming industry, accounting for 61% of revenue in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, as per a report by Data.ai (formerly AppAnnie) and International Data Corp. (IDC), published May 25.

The segment is expected to grow 1.7 times faster than the rest of the gaming market and surpass $136 billion in revenues in 2022. The size of the overall gaming market is expected touch a massive $222 billion this year. The revenue from console and PC gaming is estimated at $40 billion and $42 billion, respectively. The Asia-Pacific region led by China saw the highest growth in consumer spending in mobile and PC gaming, while North America led the console and handheld console market.

Consumers are spending more time on games, according to the report. For instance, in Q1 2022, consumers spent over $1.6 billion every week on games on iOS and Google Play, which was 30% more than before the pandemic.

“Mobile is democratising the space and is now the primary driver of growth for digital games consumption. We are seeing greater diversity across gaming genres allowing publishers to serve new gamers across generations and genders," Lexi Sydow, Head of Market Insights, data.ai, said in a statement.

Though in-app purchases remain the primary contributor to revenue for top-grossing games on App Store and Google Play, attempts to monetise through hybrid IAP and ads have also increased. For instance, the number of games with hybrid IAP and Ad Monetization in the US rose from 387 to 419, while in India it increased from 380 to 403 between 2019 and 2021. Though gamers are more open to banner ads, video ads had the highest negative sentiment during Q1 2022.

The report also found that more users are willing to see advertisements in exchange for free content and services. However, more than 50% of gamers in counties such as the US, the UK, and Brazil were uncomfortable with tracking and Ad Targeting and called it “unfair even if it helped to keep apps free." On average, 45% of gamers wanted tougher ad tracking measures.

Companies like Apple have introduced ‘Ask app not to track’ feature to give more control to users over which apps and games can track them.

Lewis Ward, Director of Gaming and VR/AR at IDC said, “our US gamer survey results from late last year suggested that studios and publishers should emphasize rewarded videos and playable, and that contextual data about gamers will grow more important over time as Apple, Google, other vendors, and regulatory bodies in several key countries prioritize customer data privacy and security."

Among top mobile games, Garena’s Free Fire was the number one game in terms of downloads in CY 2021 and Q1 2022 with 1.05 billion downloads. In terms of spending, it was the tenth leading game with total global spending of $2.1 billion. Despite a ban in India, Free Fire saw most of its downloads come from India. Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Mexico were the other countries where the game saw the most downloads.

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