PUBG Mobile has surpassed $1.5 billion (£1.1bn) in lifetime gross revenue across both iOS and Android devices.
According to mobile analysts Sensor Tower Intelligence, the mobile iteration of the fan-favourite battle royale hit has generated $1.3 billion in 2019 alone.
Though most popular in India, where the game has been installed 116 million times, it’s generated the most revenue in China, where the game was stripped of overt violence and rebranded as Game for Peace. There, it has accumulated 40 per cent of all lifetime revenue with $614m of its total $1.5bn revenue, and 46 per cent of all revenue generated in 2019. It’s also thought the game’s battle pass system “also spurred a sequential increase in global spending”.
“At the close of 2019, PUBG Mobile represents one of the year’s most profound mobile gaming success stories, with the title coming from behind to capture the battle royale crown,” the analyst said. “Tencent appears to have more than successfully rebuilt its game’s monetization mechanisms from its earliest days and, in the process, has set an example for how season-based live operation for the genre should be run on mobile. As 2020 dawns, we see no signs of the title’s momentum slowing.”
In contrast, Fortnite has generated $838 million to date from the App Store and Call of Duty: Mobile has generated approximately 172 million downloads in its first two months, generating $87 million in global player spending. Though revenue has slowed since its debut in October – which stacked up almost 146m in its opening month – the Tencent-developed title still picked up nearly 21 million installs in November.
A recent report into the mobile gaming market, also by Sensor Tower, discovered 82 per cent of the 29.6 billion new app downloads in Q3 2019 new installs are generated by just 1 per cent of app publishers. This means 99 per cent of games publishers share just 20 per cent of the market, with 6 billion downloads combined.
The report also determined the top 1 per cent of games generated 93 per cent of all spending, and 95% of mobile game revenue.
“There were more than 3.4 million apps available globally across the App Store and Google Play in 2018, an increase of 65 per cent from the 2.2 million apps available in 2014,” the report said. “However, the percentage of apps that have been downloaded at least 1,000 times has decreased over the same period, from 30 per cent in 2014 to 26 per cent in 2018. In other words, in a continually growing market where most publishers are competing against the publishers controlling 80 per cent of all new user acquisition, standing out among the competition is more crucial than ever.”