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A lot of factors influence why mobile players pick up new games. The top reason is that they want to play a game in a particular genre, according to a new report by Facebook and GameRefinery.

The researchers (including Facebook Gaming and Facebook IQ) found in a survey of 13,000 players around the world that 49% chose a new game based on the genre, like whether it’s a strategy game or a shooter. Forty percent chose a game based on recommendations from family or friends. Thirty-five percent chose based on app store reviews. Thirty-four percent chose based on sequel familiarity, and 33% chose based on device or data requirements.

The report has insight for mobile games in four major markets focusing on genre fulfilment, community, monetization, and ad preferences. The researchers looked at four mobile game genres: strategy, role-playing games (RPGs), puzzle, and hypercasual (games you can play in a minute or less). It focused on the U.S., U.K., South Korea, and Japan.

They looked at why people play, why they stray from a game, features players value the most, types of community events, and monetization and advertising preferences.


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Above: The top game genres by market in mobile games.

Image Credit: GameRefinery/Facebook

This report found that puzzle players are more likely to be female, who account for 75% of match-3 puzzle fans in the U.S. and U.K. They are likely over the age of 35, and they typically enjoy mobile games in between doing other tasks. They prefer games that they can play in short increments rather than in longer, more involved sessions.

The report also found an appetite for more social activity within hypercasual games, with 67% of players in the U.K. and 74% of players in the U.S. expressing interest in communicating with gaming companies and other players online or checking out other players’ high scores on a leaderboard.

Above: GameRefinery/Facebook found why RPG players return to games.

Image Credit: GameRefinery/Facebook

In Japan and South Korea, RPGs are the top genre in which players make in-app purchases. Compared to other markets, players in these countries are also more likely to make a monthly purchase with 10.9% in South Korea and 9.3% in Japan having done so (compared to 5.4% of RPG players in the U.K.).

And from an ad preferences’ perspective, over 60% of strategy players in the U.S., U.K., South Korea, and Japan are willing to take the time to learn how to play a new game if an advertisement showcases the main gameplay and the characters/storyline.

When it comes to spending money on in-app purchases (IAP), players across every genre and in every country said they preferred purchasing items directly instead of relying on mechanisms like loot boxes.

To increase engagement and player spending, top puzzle games are introducing community mechanics typically found in midcore games (those that are hardcore with short session times) such as guilds and co-op tasks bringing players together.

The report also found that hypercasual games are incorporating elements from other genres.

Depending on the genre of game, on average between 6% and 9% of players will spend on some kind of in-app purchase. (Players in the U.K. tended to be the least likely to spend, and gamers in South Korea the most). Fans of hypercasual games were the least likely to spend anything, with fewer than 4% of players spending on IAP.

The report found that fans of casual puzzle games are increasingly playing more “midcore” genres, such as action. In the same way, fans of hypercasual gamers appear to be playing more casual puzzle games as well. That makes it seem like there’s a kind of waterfall from the most casual games to hardcore games.

We’ll see if that holds true.

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