The past few months have been a tough time for sports fans. Whether they are avid participants or devoted spectators, people are looking to fill the void of canceled or postponed sports events. Fans across the globe have been turning to their most convenient device for entertainment and excitement: their smartphones. Apptopia has shared its data on the mobile game categories that have seen successes in recent weeks. North America and Australia are among the several regions that have seen boosts in sessions and downloads in sports games.
The shutdown of professional sports leagues around the world has caused fans to find other means of entertainment. Many are turning to eSports, whose engaged and enthusiastic audience continues to grow rapidly. Simultaneously, fans are turning toward mobile games that simulate the sports and outdoor activities they miss playing or watching.
Across approximately two months, sports games have seen dramatic growth in both downloads and sessions worldwide. Since February 15, sessions for the category had been steadily decreasing, reaching a low point on March 13. However, since then, numbers have been climbing for sessions and have remained stable until mid-April. Downloads had been stable since mid-February but decreasing slightly. After March 10, installs began growing rapidly for the next few days before maintaining steady numbers.
With the NBA and NHL seasons being cut short, sports fans in North America are looking to mobile games to keep them entertained. NBA 2K Mobile Basketball was one of the top games in this category last month. In March alone, the Take-Two Interactive Software title reached 761,900 downloads in the United States. The gender breakdown of its audience is 77% male and 23% female. Its average ages of players are 30 (males) and 35 (females). Its success in download numbers can be attributed to its wide-ranging audience that has recently made the shift to working from home.
Downloads for sports games have maintained its high performance since mid-February with an average of approximately 888,000 downloads per day in North America. While downloads have been relatively steady, sessions for the category has seen more drastic changes in results. Daily sessions had been decreasing from mid to late February. After a brief uptick, numbers fell dramatically on March 8. After a few days of low results, sessions began to rise quickly and have remained steady until mid-April. Sports game players are finding more free time and therefore, having more sessions in their favorite mobile games.
When it comes to sports, Australia loves them no matter what form they come in – including mobile game apps. Sports gaming apps observed a near 20% increase during the same week in March when the Australian government announced tighter measures to encourage its residents to stay indoors. Playing and watching sports is an important part of Australian culture. The pandemic may have forced residents from down under to stay home but definitely did not take away their appetite for sports participation and some friendly competition.
Ultimate Disc by Supersonic Studios (App Store, Google Play) tops the charts in the number of downloads with more than 2.8 million while Miniclip’s 8 Ball Pool (App Store, Google Play) has exceeded 4.3 million daily active users across Asia-Pacific.
Australian Open took place in January 2020 and tennis fanatics in Australia have taken the heat online while the remaining tennis tournaments took a pause globally. Tennis Clash: Online League by Wildlife Studios (App Store, Google Play) ranked in the top three in both downloads and monthly active sessions in Australia in the last 30 days. We foresee the upward trend in sports gaming to continue as Australia enters into the cooler climate in May where the frequency of outdoor sports would be greatly reduced.
Similar to sports, mobile gaming is a social activity and used primarily for entertainment, having fun with friends, and to enjoy the competitive nature. The surges in downloads and sessions in sports games suggest we’re entering into a new era of mobile gaming.
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