The mobile gaming industry is growing rapidly, outpacing the PC market. Learn about the top mobile gaming companies here.
According to market intelligence firm Newzoo, global gaming revenues will top a whopping US$159.3 billion in 2020, with mobile gaming accounting for 48 percent of that amount.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the mobile gaming market is growing faster than any other gaming segment in the world. Newzoo predicts that in 2020 the industry will grow at a rate of more than 13.3 percent year-on-year to reach a market value of US$77.2 billion.
The rise of global smartphone sales, 5G and mobile infrastructure are all core pillars behind this growth in revenues. Newzoo also points to COVID-19 lockdown measures as another main driver behind increased consumer spending in the mobile games sector.
For its part, Grand View Research states that the primary propellers behind mobile gaming revenue growth are advertisement, game purchases and in-app purchases. Mobile games are typically accessed through three core operating systems: Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Windows and Android.
Notably, about one-third of all application downloads are related to mobile games, according to TechZone360, accounting for 74 percent of all consumer spending in Google Play and the Apple App Store. “In the next decade, hardcore gamers are also expected to spend more money on mobile gaming through monthly subscription services,” the publication states.
As the mobile market gains momentum, here’s a look at the 10 top mobile gaming companies, ranked in order of market cap. All data and figures were accurate as of October 22, 2020.
1. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
Market cap: US$2.01 trillion; current share price: US$115.69
Apple launched its Apple Arcade in March 2019. Offering a wide selection of mobile games, Apple Arcade provides in-house game development, acclaimed brands and renowned game developers. The new Apple Arcade is designed to create a platform of over 100 games on which the company works intimately with creators and game developers.
In 2020’s third quarter, gamers spent US$11 billion in Apple’s App Store, topping the previous year’s Q3 revenues by 25 percent. Globally, consumers downloaded 33 billion new apps during the quarter and racked up more than 180 billion hours of app use.
2. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Market cap: US$1.63 trillion; current share price: US$215.13
Microsoft operates Xbox Game Studios, formerly known as Microsoft Studios, which encompasses 15 independent gaming studios. Rebranded in February 2019, Xbox Game Studios owns Minecraft, Halo, Kung Fu Chaos and Age of Empires. Microsoft will allow Xbox games to be transferable from console to mobile through xCloud and will focus on titles like Forza Horizon 4 to usher in this transition.
In the fall of 2020, Microsoft released a new version of its Xbox app for iPhone and iPad. It allows gamers to play on their consoles remotely.
3. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)
Market cap: US$1.09 trillion; current share price: US$1,607.42
Alphabet, or Google as we all know it, is the largest mobile gaming company in terms of market share. In the third quarter of 2020, Google Play accounted for 25 billion of 33 billion total app downloads for revenues of US$10 billion — up 10 percent from the same period last year. Gaming accounted for 80 percent of that revenue.
In November 2019, Google launched Stadia, a cloud gaming service that doesn’t require any special hardware that gamers don’t already own. A variety of games can be purchased on the Stadia store and then played via Wi-Fi and wired internet connections.
4. Tencent Holdings (OTC Pink:TCEHY)
Market cap: US$693.74 billion; current share price: US$72.40
The world’s largest gaming company by revenue, Tencent released its PC emulator for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile in July 2019. It allows users to play the mobile game on their PCs. PUBG Mobile is the company’s most popular game, according to monthly active users. The multiplayer battle royale game is available on Android and iOS.
Tencent also owns games such as League of Legends and Hearthstone. As one of the leading esports studios in the world, League of Legends creator Riot Games has sold franchises for US$10 million.
In May 2019, Riot Games announced it was working on mobile app development for its League of Legends series; it had previously rejected making a mobile version of the game in 2015.
The giant mobile games company is about to get even bigger. In late 2020, the South China Morning Post reported that Tencent has set the wheels in motion “to create a US$10 billion Twitch-like live-streaming behemoth.” The company currently owns one-third of both of Huya and DouYu, China’s two largest video game live-streaming platforms with a combined 300 million users; the two are finalizing a merger.
5. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)
Market cap: US$62.3 billion; current share price: US$80.71
With hallmark games including Candy Crush Saga and Hearthstone, Activision Blizzard has a long history in the mobile gaming market. As the gaming titan behind PC and console games World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Overwatch and Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard has had an interesting history in trying to transition some of these games onto mobile. According to Pocket Gamer, the company has released and then canceled at least 20 mobile games.
6. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA)
Market cap: US$36.65 billion; current share price: US$126.92
Electronic Arts is one of the world’s leading esports companies. Its video game offerings covers many genres, from sports to action/adventure to role playing to family games. Among others, the California-headquartered company owns key major titles such as the the Sims, Madden NFL, FIFA, Battlefield, Need for Speed, Dragon Age and Plants vs. Zombies.
7. Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO)
Market cap: US$18.67 billion; current share price: US$163.29
Take-Two Interactive has an extensive mobile game portfolio, owning studios that exclusively produce mobile games. For example, Take-Two owns Social Point, a gaming studio based in Barcelona, Spain. Among its suite of mobile games are NBA 2K, WWE 2K and World Poker Tour. NBA 2K is built with advanced graphics and allows users to select an all-star team and play in five-on-five basketball matches.
Take-Two’s Rockstar Games division acquired video game developer Ruffian Games in the fall of 2020. Renamed Rockstar Dundee, the studio has produced games such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Crackdown 2. “Take-Two’s expansive acquisitions of gaming studios are expected to boost its competitive position against the likes of Electronic Arts EA, Zynga ZNGA and Activision Blizzard ATVI, among others,” reported Zacks Equity Research.
8. Bilibili (NASDAQ:BILI)
Market cap: US$15.65 billion; current share price: US$45.30
China’s Bilibili is an anime gaming company that spans across mobile, media and live broadcasting operations. Bilibili has acquired a number of exclusive rights for mobile gaming content. In June 2019, Bilibili obtained the rights to the anime mobile game the Three-Body Problem, based off of an acclaimed science fiction novel in China published in 2006.
The company’s mobile division has over 171.6 million monthly active users and is responsible for the majority of its revenues. In the second quarter of 2020, Bilibili’s revenues came in at US$370.5 million, up 70 percent from the same quarter in the previous year. Also in Q2, the company announced a US$400 million cash investment from Sony (NYSE:SNE,TSE:6758). The press release states that the companies plan to “pursue collaboration opportunities within the area of entertainment business in the Chinese market, including anime and mobile games.”
9. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA)
Market cap: US$10 billion; current share price: US$9.30
FarmVille creator Zynga is a mobile and web game company with over 1 billion users. Based in San Francisco, and the company has operations in countries such as Turkey, Finland and India.
Words with Friends, its other popular game, allows users to compete against Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) friends in a wordplay game. According to Zacks Equity Research, in 2020, “Zynga is having a terrific year driven by its robust mobile-games portfolio. The company is benefiting from growth in mobile-live services, supported by its five forever franchises, namely CSR Racing, Words With Friends, Zynga Poker, Empires & Puzzles and Merge Dragons!.”
The firm also points to Zynga’s recent mobile games acquisitions as creating further value, including Peak for roughly US$1.85 billion and 80 percent of Rollic for roughly US$180 million.
10. Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU)
Market cap: US$1.35 billion; current share price: US$7.91
Founded in 2001 in San Francisco, Glu Mobile is a leading developer and publisher of mobile games for smartphones and tablets across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows Phone and Google Chrome. The company’s portfolio includes award-winning original and licensed intellectual property titles such as Covet Fashion, Deer Hunter, Design Home, Diner DASH Adventures, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and MLB Tap Sports Baseball.
In the second quarter of 2020, Glu reported the best financial results in its history, with revenues rising 40 percent over the same period in the previous year to reach US$133.3 million.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.