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Unpopular mobile game genres

14 Feb, 2023

Mobile gaming has made significant progress since its beginnings in the early 2000s. Back then, mobile games had limited graphics and gameplay, but as technology has improved, the mobile gaming industry has grown too. Currently, mobile games provide a level of quality and variety that can compete with even the best games on consoles and computers.

According to predictions, players are expected to spend a total of $138 billion by 2025. It is estimated that there will be 3.7 billion global mobile players by 2023. Data.ai reports that the global spend on mobile ads reached $350 billion in 2022, demonstrating the increasing potential of mobile gaming in the future.

However, despite the rapid growth of mobile gaming, it’s undeniable that some game genres are declining in popularity for various reasons.

Unpopular genres

There are several factors contributing to the decline in popularity of certain mobile game genres: 

The advancements in mobile devices and gaming technology have made it possible to create more advanced, visually impressive, and enjoyable games. As players’ standards have risen, older and less advanced mobile game genres have become less relevant in today’s gaming environment.

Another factor contributing to the decline of certain mobile game genres is the growing competition in the mobile gaming industry. With millions of players and thousands of games available, players have become more selective and less likely to play games that are not visually appealing or engaging.

The emergence of new platforms such as augmented reality and virtual reality is also affecting the popularity of certain mobile game genres. For instance, AR games that allow players to play in the real world are becoming more popular, while VR games that offer an immersive and interactive gaming experience are also gaining traction. As these new platforms continue to gain widespread adoption, they are likely to have a continued impact on the popularity of different mobile game genres.

Another influence on the declining popularity of certain mobile game genres is the shift towards the free-to-play model. Many mobile games now incorporate in-app purchases, allowing players to access additional content or features for a fee. This business model has been very successful for many developers and has motivated more players to try new games. However, some players have become annoyed with this approach, feeling bombarded with ads and requests to purchase additional content. This is impacting the popularity of certain mobile game genres, and could result in the development of new business models in the future.

Examples

Here is a list of mobile game genres that have seen a decrease in popularity, resulting in a small portion of the mobile gaming revenue in 2022:

  1. Turn-based strategy games – These games, where players take turns making moves, have been a staple in the video gaming world for years, but they have had difficulty gaining popularity on mobile devices. According to market research firm Newzoo, turn-based strategy games only account for 0.5% of the total mobile gaming revenue in 2022, making it one of the least popular sub-genres. This can be attributed to the slow pace of play and the need for a lot of focus, which may not be feasible for many mobile gamers, as well as the time and energy investment required.
  2. Text-based adventure games, in which players engage with the gaming world by typing in commands, were well-received on other platforms but have failed to attract a significant audience on mobile devices. This can be attributed to the amount of reading required in these games, which may not be feasible for many mobile gamers. According to a study by Data.ai, text-based adventure games only make up a mere 0.7% of the total mobile gaming revenue, positioning it as one of the least popular subgenres in the industry.
  3. Life simulation games, where players simulate real-life situations in a virtual setting, have also struggled to gain traction among mobile gamers. The reason for this may be the time and dedication required to play these games, which can be prohibitive for many mobile gamers. According to market research firm Newzoo, life simulation games only account for 1.2% of the total mobile gaming revenue, making it one of the least popular genres on mobile.
  4. Tactical RPG games, which incorporate turn-based strategy and role-playing elements, have had limited success on mobile devices despite their popularity on other platforms. This may be because these games often require a lot of time, effort, and a good understanding of the mechanics and storyline. According to a Data.ai report, tactical RPG games only account for 1.4% of the total mobile gaming revenue, making it one of the least popular subgenres.

While some types of mobile games have experienced great success, others have had difficulty in attracting a large following. Turn-based strategy, text-based adventure, life simulation, and tactical RPG games are among the least popular genres of mobile games, making up only a small portion of the total revenue generated. 

In addition, there are game genres that have fallen out of popularity due to technological advancements and are no longer being produced:

  1. Feature phone games: Feature phone games were once in high demand during the early days of mobile gaming, but with the advent of smartphones, they have become less popular. This is due to the fact that feature phones had limited processing power and graphics capabilities compared to smartphones. Furthermore, the small screens and basic controls of feature phones made the games less appealing and less engaging for players, leading to a decline in popularity.
  2. Java games: Java was once a widely used platform for developing mobile games during the early stages of mobile gaming. However, as smartphones became more advanced and popular, the use of Java for mobile game development declined. The limitations in terms of graphics and processing capabilities, as well as security restrictions, made Java games less appealing to players compared to games developed for smartphone platforms. This made it more challenging for game developers to create innovative and engaging games using Java.
  3. Text-based games: Text-based games were once a popular option in the early stages of mobile gaming when mobile devices had limited graphics and processing capabilities. As technology improved and mobile devices became capable of running more graphically intense games, the popularity of text-based games declined. Today, players have come to expect visually appealing and engaging games, leading to a decreased relevance of text-based games in the current mobile gaming market.
  4. WAP games: WAP games were a common type of mobile game during the early days of mobile gaming when WAP was used to access the internet and download content on mobile devices. With the growth of smartphones and app stores, WAP games have become less prevalent. WAP games were limited by security restrictions on the platform and lacked the sophisticated features and capabilities that games made for smartphones had.
  5. Snake games: The Snake game was an early form of mobile gaming that was often pre-installed on feature phones. However, as mobile devices and gaming technology advanced, snake-style games lost their popularity. Players now prefer games that are more visually stunning and engaging, and snake games no longer meet these expectations. Furthermore, with the emergence of similar games that have better graphics and gameplay mechanics, snake games have become less unique and appealing to players.

This outcome is due to the various factors previously mentioned. Despite these difficulties, there remain chances for these genres to develop and achieve success on mobile devices as the gaming sector keeps evolving and expanding.

What’s next?

In the dynamic world of mobile gaming, staying informed and aware of the latest advancements and trends is crucial. The demand and preferences of players can shift quickly, leading to some game genres fading away while others rise to prominence. For game developers to succeed in this competitive field, it’s important to keep up with cutting-edge technology, listen to player opinions, and continuously strive for innovation to produce games that captivate players with their graphics and gameplay.

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