Honor of Kings from @TencentGlobal was the top grossing mobile game worldwide for December 2020 with $258M in spending, a 58% increase from December 2019. The game surpassed @PUBGMOBILE, #GenshinImpact, and @PokemonGoApp: https://t.co/ZaSvUIpWJw #mobilegames #honorofkings #pubg pic.twitter.com/zR24Xn4b7p
— Sensor Tower (@SensorTower) January 12, 2021
Sometimes a game that captures the imagination of players all over the globe comes along. Honor of Kings is one such game, and what’s the best part – it’s free to play.
Its popularity has soared in 2021, making it the highest-grossing game so far this year, even if it’s still pretty unknown to the players from the west. In May alone, the game grossed $264.5 million in player spending on its publisher Tencent, building on the $257.5 million and $258.8 in March and April respectively. The revenue from the game is generated overwhelmingly from China, with smaller amounts from Taiwan and Thailand.
There are many other F2P games out there like PUBG, Genshin Impact, or Roblox, proving popular with gamers everywhere, though none can quite knock Honor of Kings off the top spot. Let’s take a closer look.
Honor of Kings Dominates Top Grossing Chart
In March this year, Honor of Kings knocked PUGB Mobile off the top spot of the top-grossing F2P chart and has stayed there ever since. Not only is it taking in astronomical revenue, but it is also seeing enormous growth from last year – 63 percent growth from March 2020 to March 2021.
Honor of Kings player base is overwhelmingly Chinese – the revenue from China accounts for more than 95% for March, April, and May. Smaller amounts come from other parts of the Asian gaming market – Taiwan and Thailand primarily.
And Tencent will be thrilled – PUGB Mobile is another of their games, and still sits in the second spot on the list.
F2P Popularity and Market Growth
So, why are games such as PUGB Mobile and Honor of Kings growing at such an astonishing rate?
There are a few reasons for that, but the fact that they are free to play is a major reason – anyone with a smartphone or tablet can get involved. This also massively broadens the demographic of potential players – how many more mobile devices are there than consoles or PCs? Mobile gaming is now a legitimate platform, downloading a game is simple and easy, no setup, no cost. And finally, shooter games are incredibly popular, the online multiplayer battle arena format is starting to dominate the gaming landscape.
Another major factor in the growth of the F2P market has been the impact of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. The market has been performing at a high level since major lockdowns began, and we’ve seen player spending increase 10.8 percent year-over-year in April 2021. The App Store and Google Play alone took in $7.2 billion during that month – The App Store earned $72.3 billion during 2020. And market experts believe that even when lockdowns are (hopefully) fully lifted over the next year, that F2P mobile games will manage to sustain their remarkable grip on the industry.
What other F2P games are popular?
Let’s look at a few more games that are proving popular and high-grossing on the F2P scene. It may give you a few ideas for your next download!
This is a fun action RPG published by Nintendo, available on iOS and Android. It is the story of a fallen fantasy kingdom, and the rag-tag group of plucky adventurers trying to restore it to greatness. Of course, there are plenty of free play limitations, but the gameplay is slick, especially in the action RPG dungeon-delving sequences and boss battles.
Ever wanted to be puppet master (or overseer in the game) of a vault full of poor, unsuspecting people? Thought so – in which case, Fallout Shelter is for you! It’s been around for six years now, but Bethesda Softworks have done a great job in keeping it updated and relevant – new themes and features abound, making this one of the most fun F2P games for mobile.
Free casino games I hear you ask… Well, while it’s true that most online casinos are real money experiences, with many providers F2P options are on offer too. For example, if you are a roulette fan, using resources like asiabet.org that group together options available on the internet, you can find both real-money and free-to-play online roulette. From this page, you can jump between the two, for example practice on the free game, and once you’ve developed good skills, you may well try winning some prizes on the real money versions. Pages like this one are great because they also walk you through all the available game variants, in this case for example American, French, or European roulette.
Bombergrounds: Battle Royale
Everyone loves battle royale games at the moment, some serious multiplayer fun. And someone (Gigantic Duck Games) has mashed that concept up with an all-time classic – Bomberman. BBR is what it says on the tin – fast-paced multiplayer action with lots of bombs and not much accuracy. Great fun though.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Set within the Warcraft universe, Hearthstone is a digital-only, turn-based collectible card game that pits two opponents against each other. Players select a hero from one of ten classes. All classes have unique cards and abilities, known as hero powers, which help define class archetypes. If you were a fan of collectible card games such as Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering, these are for you.
Dominating the year so far, the highest-grossing game Honor of Kings looks set to top the charts again as we get to the end of June. But there are countless other great games, free to play for mobile users!