General mobilization of players // Citizens paid for a record number of games for smartphones in the first quarter

The first quarter of 2021 has been the most successful for the mobile gaming industry since the start of the pandemic in Russia, App Annie and Wargaming estimate. The Russians spent $ 235 million in three months on mobile games and downloaded 727 million applications. The trend is related to the growing interest of investors in the market and an increase in marketing budgets, according to market participants. But already in late spring, the growth rate, according to them, slowed down due to Apple’s new privacy policy.

Kommersant got acquainted with the results of a joint study by App Annie and Wargaming, dedicated to the mobile gaming market in Russia. It follows from it that in the first quarter of 2021 Russian users spent $ 235 million on games for mobile devices (16.9 billion rubles at the exchange rate of the Central Bank of June 14), which is 11% more than in the same period in 2020. According to the authors of the study, the first three months of 2021 have become the most successful for the industry in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic.

Compared to last year, the number of downloads of mobile games in Russia increased by 6%. In the first quarter of 2020, there were 686 million downloads, and for the same period in 2021 – 727 million. The majority of players on mobile platforms in Russia use Android, the share of iOS is 32%. According to the study, Russia has the fifth largest mobile gaming revenue, ahead of Mexico and Indonesia, but behind China, Brazil, the United States and India.

The entire Russian gaming market, including desktops and consoles, reached 163.4 billion rubles in 2020, showing an increase of 35%. The fastest growth in a year, according to My.Games, was shown by the mobile segment.

According to Elena Grigoryan, Marketing and Advertising Director of My.Games, the mobile games market in Russia is growing primarily due to an increase in the average check. “Checks for Russian players remain lower than those of European or American players, but Russia’s high positions in the App Annie rating are due to the country’s large population,” she believes.

World of Tanks Blitz Product Director Andrey Ryabovol calls market consolidation one of the latest trends in mobile gaming. “Large projects such as Call of Duty, PUBG, Apex Legends have already entered this segment. For the console and PC market, shooters were one of the leading genres, and now the situation is similar in mobile gaming, ”he notes.

Mobile games remain one of the most accessible and cheapest means of entertainment, and a culture of consumption of such content is still forming on the Russian market, says Artem Semenikhin, Executive Director of PwC’s Technology Practice in Russia.

The stability shown by the gaming industry during the lockdown attracted the attention of a huge number of investors, and this allowed many market participants to increase their marketing budgets at the beginning of this year, explains Pavel Räikkonen, founder and CEO of WN Media. But he does not foresee further growth: “The preliminary figures for the number of ad impressions and the assembled audience for April-May show that we will have at least a temporary drawdown in reach.” The main reason for this, according to the expert, is the enactment of Apple’s new personal data collection policy. The company prohibits apps from tracking user activity without their consent.

Pavel Räikkonen doubts that Russia could enter the top five countries in terms of revenue from mobile games. “According to this indicator, the country hardly even falls into the top ten, and the reason for this is the general level of well-being of the population,” he notes. Other experts are confident that with the growth of mobile games, the PC and console segments will not lose ground. “They will keep their share of the gaming market in our country, since they have a truly loyal audience,” notes Elena Grigoryan. Players in Russia have historically been accustomed to choosing PC games, and the trend, in her opinion, continues.

Dmitry Shestoperov, Nikita Korolev

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