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Unity Technologies, maker of the popular Unity game engine used by millions of developers, issued a report today on the state of mobile gaming in the first quarter. It reported that 220,000 Unity games generated 4.2 billion installs across 1.7 billion unique mobile devices.
Those are some pretty astounding numbers that demonstrate the breadth of the mobile game industry, which generated an estimated $34 billion in revenue in 2015, according to market researcher Newzoo. The number of mobile game downloads grew 30 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016.
And China accounted for 31 percent of all downloads of games made with Unity. By comparison, the U.S. accounted for only 11 percent of downloads. Brazil was 5 percent and Japan was 2.7 percent.
Android retained its status as the global leader in Q1 2016, representing 81 percent of mobile game installs on Unity while Apple’s iOS was 17 percent. The Kitkat (4.4) and Lollipop (5.0 and 5.1) versions of Android account for 73 percent of all Android game installs.
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By comparison, iOS shows more consolidation with 72 percent of installs occurring on devices running iOS 9.0 (released September 2015) or later, and 90 percent are on devices running iOS 8.0 (released September 2014) or later.
China generated more installs on Unity in the first quarter than the next four countries combined.
The top five countries accounted for 53 percent of total global game installs, while approximately 65 percent of game installs occurred in the top 10 countries. Looking at game installs by region, Unity found that 60 percent of all iOS game installs occurred in three countries: China, United States, and Japan; while the top 10 countries represent 77 percent of all iOS game installs.
By comparison, Android installs show a greater geographical dispersion. The top three countries (China, United States, and Brazil) only account for 45 percent of total game installs, and only 64 percent of game installs occur in the top 10 countries. Because of Android’s large market share, almost all countries see a majority of their game installs occurring on Android devices.
Among the top 10 countries in terms of total game installs, Brazil (92%) and Republic of Korea (92%) have the highest percentage of game installs on Android. However, some countries over-indexed on iOS popularity, such as Japan with 53 percent of game installs on iOS, the highest share of iOS installs in top 10 countries.
Globally, the two most popular mobile device manufacturers were Apple and Samsung, with their devices accounting for 45 percent of global mobile game installs.
But Android is fragmented. Mobile devices run a variety of versions of the Android operating system, ranging from 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) to 6.0 (Marshmallow). The three most common Android OS versions (Kitkat 4.4) and Lollipop (5.0 and 5.1) account for 73 percent of all Android game installs.
Marshmallow (6.0 or later), which is the latest version of the Android OS saw less than 1.6 percent of installs globally. Android has historically had a large variety of devices, but Unity said it saw the landscape getting even more fragmented. As an example, the most popular Android device globally (Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime) only represents 1.7 percent of all Android devices.
Samsung holds an overwhelming lead globally accounting for 33.2 percent of global Android devices, with Xiaomi at 6.9 percent and Huawei at 6 percent. Overall, the top 10 manufacturers account for 68.8 percent of the game installs on Android.
Of the different devices Apple makes, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s are still the most popular devices with a combined 28 percent of game installs. 7.9 percent of installs occur on the latest iPhone 6s, only slightly higher market share than the much older iPhone 5 (6.5 percent) and iPhone 4S (5.1 percent).
iPads as a whole account for 33 percent of installs. What’s most interesting is that people appear to be holding on to older versions of their iPads the opposite trend of iPhones. As an example the iPad Mini and Mini 2 represent 11 percent of installs, while the Mini 3 and Mini 4 are about 2 percent.
Unity said that in the first quarter, 219,693 games were made with Unity, generating 4,167,678,801 (4.2B) installs, reaching 1,655,093,544 (1.7B) unique devices. On average, this number of installs represents about 18.2 million new devices and 45.8 million installs every day.
Compared with Q4 2015, made with Unity mobile games reached 21 percent more unique devices, generated 30 percent more installs and saw an increase of 10 percent in new games available in the first quarter.
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