Free, ad-supported mobile gaming has rocketed under lockdown, amid what has been a fruitful period for game developers.  

This is according to the Financial Times, which tracks the fortunes of an industry that has seen a lockdown-induced boost at most levels.

Effectively, two things are driving this: the high penetration of mobile devices across a population that could not do much outside of their houses, and other companies cutting their marketing budgets causing mobile advertising prices to plummet.

In Europe, according to Sensor Tower, spending on mobile games in February and March grew 12% to $740m, a new monthly record.

The real money is in mobile games’ in-app purchases, responsible for over two thirds of revenues for Fortnite, one of the leaders in this space. You need not spend a penny to play the game; every purchase is optional and unnecessary, aesthetic.

Users are paying more and across more games. Unity data finds that these payments have jumped by a quarter since the beginning of the pandemic, the FT reports, with users installing 84% more apps on their devices than the same time last year. As a result, the cost per install – a key metric for the marketers of these games fell by a third from March to April.

Part of the reason is that many of these marketers heeded advice based on the evidence from previous recessions that the vacation of other advertisers lowers ad prices while increasing share of voice.

Sourced from the Financial Times, WARC