Game development

Mobile Market Highlights 2021 | App Developer Magazine

At the end of the year everyone was talking about the future and making predictions, but what about the highlights of 2021? The past year has been full of excitement, new names have appeared in the market, and many industry giants have cooperated to strengthen their power or work on large-scale joint projects. Apptica has compiled a selection of the most significant events, cases and changes that have shaped the entire mobile market over the past year.

Mobile market 2021: the highlights of the year


Earlier this year, Apple removed 39,000 unlicensed mobile games from the Chinese App Store in a single day. Previously, in the summer of 2020, some games had already been removed, but the January case became the biggest one-time removal ever.
The year did not start with exciting news, but later the mobile phone market experienced a Flag boom. This platform was released in April 2020, but the peak of its popularity came in the winter of the following year. The Clubhouse app saw around 10.6 million installs in February 2021, but the stats then plummeted.

Also, last winter simulation games have started to show growthfirst in the amount of money players have spent on in-game purchases. Spoiler: at the start of 2022, mobile game markets will be flooded with games like this, so you can draw conclusions easily!


The most debatable news from last spring was the release of iOS 14.5 in April. Its app tracking transparency has enhanced user security, but at the same time caused problems for app developers and mobile marketers. For them, these updates made it impossible to access the IDFA by default unless users agreed to share their data. The winner of this situation was Android: iOS privacy updates forced advertisers to shift their budgets to another platform.

This can Netflix shared their plans to enter the gaming industry for the first time. At that time, the popular streaming service had already created a mobile title based on its famous show “Stranger Things”, but still wanted more, so applied to experienced specialists to join their company.

Also, this spring interest in NFT and bitcoins bloomed. The rise in bitcoin’s value has awakened attention for blockchain… and game developers who want to integrate cryptocurrency into their products. As a result, some of the popular developers have moved to the crypto side and many gamers have turned into investors.

In addition, at the end of spring, Jim Ryan, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced the upcoming launch of the most successful PlayStation franchises on mobile.


In July Garena Free Fire reached 1 billion downloads on the Google Play Store. The game developed by Singapore-based studio Garena became the first game in the Battle Royale genre to surpass that mark.

Later this month, the legendary The Talking Angela game was back…and quickly gained many downloads. At the end of July, My Talking Angela 2 took 1st place in the top charts of several countries and had more than 24 million downloads on Google Play alone.

Speaking of world leaders, the summer of 2021 has been full of partnerships and agreements between industry giants:
Vungle and JetFuel;
Homa Games and GameAnalytics;
Xsolla and Devcom;
Azerion and Delta projects;
TapNation and Advertising;
Huawei and CrazyLabs;
Tenjin and Huawei advertisements;
CrazyLabs and Firescore;
Zynga and Chartboost;
Rovio Entertainment and Ruby Games;
voodoo and storms;
Voodoo and Electric Manta and much more.


Despite the month of September iOS version 15 which deprived marketers of the possibility of receiving important data on users and their activity, there were no more unpleasant events this fall.

As usual, this season was overflowing with novelties and records. First of all, TikTok showed incredible results: it exceeded the mark of 1 billion active users in a month.

During the fall, many new mobile games have been released. KRAFTON studio released PUBG: NEW STATE, the newest battle royale in the popular franchise. And it was a definite hit: the new title crossed 20 million downloads in just 5 days.

The mobile market has also recovered with two augmented reality games from the Niantic studio: Pikmin bloom in partnership with Nintendo and Fold AR in collaboration with bitcoin rewards company Fold.

Also six months after announcing its desire to expand into the mobile gaming industry, netflix company has rolled out its own games. The first 5 mobile titles arrived on Google Play in November.
Another Netflix product, squid gameundoubtedly the biggest sensation of the whole season, caused a real fever: mobile games and applications based on the series flooded both stores at breakneck speed (and many of them were later revealed to be malicious ).

December 2021

In December, Sneaky Panda, an Israeli development company, revolutionized mobile games. He introduced a whole new kind of game “Luck-Puzzler” which is supposed to be more difficult and put more emphasis on skill and strategy than familiar mobile games.

Also, we can definitely see that the NFT-obsession went further: In the last month of 2021, many NFT-based games and projects were announced, and blockchain executives said they were ready to invest in them.

Of course, the end of the year also brought us new mobile titles. Call of Duty: Mobile was released worldwide on December 16, and Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is announced for a launch in 2022.

And last but not least: Netflix has released more games (and certainly has plenty more to come in 2022). Its mobile title Asphalt Xtreme has become the 7th game of a famous online streaming service.

It’s been a pretty productive year, hasn’t it?

2021 rocked the mobile market with questionable metrics, created many new trends, and threw old ones back. We certainly see that in 2022 the problems and tasks of last year will be solved, but at the same time the global trends, which are likely to change the world, will strengthen. While we may now see slightly (or rather strongly) emerging patterns and trends, there’s always an element of surprise, and that’s what we love most about this fast-moving sphere.

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