In our previous article we looked at mobile game settings that proved to be the most appealing to the Turkish audience. This time, let’s see how the market is doing genre-wise.
This article shows how publishers analyze audience preferences. One can even draw their own conclusions about which kinds of games may have a better chance of success on the local market. Or you can simply find out what your friends are currently playing.
Once again we will resort to our good old assistant — the SensorTower analytical service.
First, we’re going to look at the most popular genres in Turkey over the past year and then compare the results with the global trend. The differences will show us what exactly Turkish players are attracted to. For games that offer in-app purchases, we will see what players most commonly buy. For the most downloaded titles with in-app ad monetisation — we’ll have a look at which advertisements are best at catching player attention.
Difference in profitable genres
This time we begin with the projects that have in-app purchases as their main source of income. First, we’ll study the overall situation, then move on to the details. Here we can see the most profitable genres worldwide over the last year:
The highest income comes from RPG games. Following closely behind is Strategy, having earned $1 billion less. At first we thought the situation in Turkey would be similar, as the country greatly influences the global statistics. However, Strategies and Shooters turned out to be in the lead by a large margin. Having analyzed the data from our setting research, we suspected that these genres might be popular but certainly not to such an extent!
Thus they’ll be the ones we’ll focus on for further analysis, along with RPG and Tabletop, since they've been trying to increase their share of the market as well.
We took these 4 genres and divided them up into subgenres to dive a little bit deeper, because in every segment there could be a niche that might make a bigger difference than others.
So here we have our first 5 winners to study:
4X means eXterminate, eXplore, eXpand and eXploit — these include elements of both Real-Time and Turn-Based Strategy.
Here we see a pretty gradual spread, with no distinct trend setters. The most common game topic is Empire Building — the name speaks for itself.
Yet rules are rules. Since we've promised to look at top performers in more detail, let’s look at the first game.
Lords Mobile: Tower Defense
In this game players can buy sets of the local hard-currency — gemstones (that make the game easier), and additional in-game bonuses. The most frequently-purchased set is 140 gems.
Battle Royale is a specific kind of shooter (third-person and first-person) where a large number of players fight it out on a large map till there's only one survivor left.
The genre has a huge fan base among PC and console gamers, and many players have been very enthusiastic about an opportunity to experience their favorite gameplay on a mobile phone as well.
In terms of profit, PUBG Mobile is far ahead of the others (when choosing the Turkish audience Sensor Tower shows the Asian version. Why this happens is unclear).
Most common purchases are specific amounts of currency, which can later be spent on character skins and other cosmetic changes. Though we weren't able to identify the mysterious item from the second line of the list :)
This genre most commonly includes mobile versions of popular board games. Although, sometimes you can come across some original projects with no physical reference that may still feature all the elements of the genre.
And once again we have an undisputed leader - 101 Yüzbir Okey Plus by Zynga.
101 Yüzbir Okey Plus
The best-selling item here is the "Starter Pack" for 5 liras. Such items are usually the least expensive sets and are mainly offered to new players.
The most frequently-purchased items from the list are chip sets for the game.
MOBA is a strategy subgenre that focuses on competitive team play. Gamers control their unique characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Since balance in such games is strictly maintained, they are monetized mainly through cosmetic content — as players who pay should not have any advantage over those who don't.
"Mobile Legends: Bang Bang" is the leader in this category.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
As mentioned above, Diamonds (a special in-game currency) are used to purchase character skins. If you have to battle on equal terms at least you should be able to look great doing it, shouldn’t you?
Multiplayer RPGs are massive projects one used to only dream of playing on a mobile phone. Such projects usually feature huge worlds, tons of various activities, and most importantly — players from around the world interacting directly.
Usually these games get monetized through premium currencies that can be later spent on in-game items and bonuses. Those can make player experience more convenient but not so much that you’d be able to beat the game with your wallet.
An MMORPG from the Chinese publisher 4399 Games is currently in the lead on the Turkish market. This game has a distinct eastern tales vibe.
Diablo Immortal, by the way, lacks only $20k Revenue to enter the TOP-10 most profitable games in the genre. Although that can easily be explained by the game having come out pretty recently.
As expected, the most popular purchases here are sets of premium currency.
The difference in most downloaded genres
When it comes to games with the largest downloads numbers, there is no huge difference — Turkey, as the rest of the world, enjoys Arcade, Simulation, Lifestyle and Puzzle.
However, we excluded Hypercasual games from our analysis. They might catch your attention with of one simple mechanic but they are unable to provide a bigger picture of the audience preferences. In addition, a great number of representatives of this genre can make the overall picture even more complicated. This is how the graph would have looked like, if the hyper-casual hadn’t been left out:
Having taken a “deep dive”, sorted out the samples of game types we chose, we were able to spot the winners in each subgenre. We are particularly interested in the absolute leaders of the last year — Lifestyle Simulator and Platformer / Runner, along with Sandbox, whose downloads have recently been on a rapid rise.
This genre usually includes projects that depict everyday activities in the form of a game, made mostly for children.
The leader here is one of the installments in the series called My Talking Tom — My Talking Angela 2, a tamagotchi game aimed at a younger audience.
Along with common advertising banners, its creative gameplay has contributed greatly to attracting more people to the product. The series itself has been widely known for a long time already, so the developers decided to introduce some new actions players can now perform with their in-game characters.
Platformer / Runner
This category unites simple and usually “single-button” arcades that challenge player reaction. Here gamers try to avoid various types of obstacles as they constantly and quickly move through the levels.
Subway Surfers — a true veteran among mobile game arcades and a prime example of the runner genre - is still holding the lead.
Over the years, the developers of Subway Surfers have been making their virtual world more complex by adding new characters and telling new stories. Besides gameplay, one of the most creative decisions was to include cartoon clips in the game.
Defining this genre can be a challenge — a sandbox is a sandbox. Here players can interact with the game world by creating, destroying, and performing many other actions with objects around them.
Roblox, though not simply a sandbox, rather a metaverse, leads this category. In this game you’re free to choose the rules you want to play by. You can also share your games with friends and other players.
Quite a creative move here was the collaboration with one of the top sportswear brands.
Now, having collected all the information presented here, we can try to predict which projects could score big on certain markets. Such predictions are not precise (otherwise we would have already earned all the money in the world). Think of them more as our assumptions.
We presume that Diablo Immortal will reinforce its position among MMORPGs, just as Apex Legends will among other Battle Royale titles.
Both of these games are based on well-known franchises, were released not so long ago, and didn't have time to gross an amount comparable to today's most profitable projects.
Talking about 4X strategies, “Land of Empires: Immortal” may see huge success at the top of the genre. Having come out just at the beginning of the year, the game is already making good money in the USA.
A new MOBA, called Catalyst Black, from the creators of Vainglory, has recently come out too. While it still requires some slight modifications, it looks pretty interesting already.
Board, Platformer and Lifestyle Sim are likely to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, as each of these niches has its own permanent leader.
There’s also a strong possibility that Sandbox won't have any drastic changes as well, mostly because the niche is rather unpredictable and outstanding projects appear quite rarely.
Top grossing games have one major thing in common — they’re competitive online titles. Even without direct player interaction there’s still the spirit of competition, through rewarding players either with rare attributes or specific ranks.
The bad news for developers is that creating a high-quality project with competitive elements requires huge investments — both financial and professional.
The server side of things alone can be costly enough.
Therefore, we would advise developers against making a new Battle Royale, and instead recommend coming up with an idea on how to implement competitive elements into their project.
Games of “most downloaded” genres tend to have quite relaxing and clear gameplay. Even running along the rails in Subway Surfers means challenging yourself or the world around you.
Thank you for reading up to this point — we’re always happy to share our thoughts and experience! If you haven’t already, check out our analysis of Turkey’s most popular settings. And feel free to contact us at AppQuantum if you are currently working on some projects! Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be writing research about your hit game!