Top five IP titles grossed $ 1.4 billion in the US in 2020
Many of the world’s best intellectual properties (IP) are increasingly being exploited in the mobile games space, coming from industries such as film, comics and video games. Useful as a marketing tool, intellectual property may become more important in a post-IDFA landscape where granular targeting is not possible. Using the new types of IP ratings found in Sensor Tower’s Game Intelligence platform, our latest report, Intellectual property in the mobile games market 2021, looks at the world of licensing to analyze the best performing franchises and compare the performance of licensed titles to that of non-IP games.
Three of the 10 top-grossing mobile games in the United States in 2020 used IP: Pokémon GO of Niantic, PUBG Mobile of Tencent, and Call of Duty: Mobile of Activision, developed in partnership with Tencent’s Timi Studio. Two additional titles, Marvel strike force of Scopely and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Dokkan of Bandai Namco, also held positions in the 20 top-grossing games on the US App Store and Google Play. Together, these five titles racked up $ 1.4 billion from player spending in the United States last year, led by Pokémon GO with $ 480 million.
In 2020, 23% of total spending by mobile game gamers in the United States was generated by IP titles. The downloads market share was slightly lower, accounting for 17% of all installs. However, the overall market share of IP games is disproportionate to the number of licensed titles. While only 9% of games used an IP address, they accounted for almost a quarter of gamer spending.
In addition to taking a notable market share, the growth of IP games also matches and exceeds that of unlicensed titles. Comparing just the 10 top-grossing IP and non-IP games in the United States, data from Sensor Tower shows these games experienced similar year-over-year growth of 33.8% in 2020, while installs for the top 10 top-grossing IP games grew about 31% Y / Y, compared to a 3.9% drop in downloads for the top 10 non-IP titles.
Video game IP addresses accounted for a third of the revenue generated by licensed mobile games in the United States in 2020, more than double the share of any other type of IP. The leading franchise in this category was Pokémon GO, which accounted for about 12% of all player spend on IP games last year, followed by PUBG Mobile with 7% and Call of Duty: Mobile with 6%. Manga ranked # 2 for IP revenue with 13% market share, followed by # 3 TV with 12%. Manga was also the fastest growing type of PI, increasing by 54% year over year in 2020.
Click on the interactive table below to browse IP game types and titles by revenue share among all IP titles.
Manga IP is dominated by Japanese licenses such as Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh! And The Seven Deadly Sins, which have proven popular with American audiences. Meanwhile, Marvel accounted for the vast majority of player spending on comic-book-based intellectual property, led by Marvel Strike Force and Marvel Contest of Champions of Kabam.
Analyzing the Y / Y revenue growth against the proportion of IP by genre in the United States in 2020, Sensor Tower data shows that core game genres such as Shooter, RPG, and Action had the highest percentage of ‘IP, while experiencing the fastest average growth.
While the Puzzle genre is one of the largest categories in the United States, only 5% of its revenue comes from IP titles. In the sports genre, meanwhile, intellectual property accounted for over a third of all player spending.
For more analysis of Sensor Tower’s new IP features, including key insights on major types of IP, created in tandem with our Game Intelligence and Taxonomy tools, download the full report as PDF below: