In 2023, a shifting global economy impacted financial landscapes across sectors, and the mobile gaming industry was no exception. Mobile gaming still saw YoY growth of 0.6%, but consumer spending on in-app purchases lagged and total downloads dipped slightly, according to At the same time, demand for games hit an all-time high, indicating that those who are downloading and engaging with mobile games are doing so often and with great enthusiasm. 

As mobile games continue to evolve in the year ahead, the industry is positioned for another demanding and eventful year in 2024. From new ways to maximize monetization in the current economic climate to optimizing in-game ads and focusing on new genres, here are some of the top gaming industry trends to keep in mind as you continue to build your 2024 strategy. 

1.  Tech’s starring role
Maytal Shaul, VP Strategic Operations & GTM at Unity

Maytal Shaul, VP Strategic Operations & GTM at Unity
Tech will continue to take center stage as more developers and publishers use software to move to in-app bidding, test for game marketability before publishing, and run campaigns through CTV. Additionally, developers will scale up their use of AI to help improve their creativity, from ideation to design.

On the business side, AI will become a communication tool to help smaller or indie game developers track their business and provide tech support. At Unity, we’re already using a chatbot to provide developers with additional support on a range of topics, like integrating SDK.

2.  Optimizing the ad experience 
Anna Poporeko, Senior Game Design Consultant at Unity

Anna Popereko, Senior Game Design Consultant at Unity
This year, developers will place a greater emphasis on improving user experience (UX) when it comes to their ad monetization strategy. More developers will increasingly look at the quality and composition of in-game ads to strike a better balance between ad performance and a positive user experience.

This means rethinking the timing and frequency of interstitials, and the placements of rewarded videos to resolve user frustration. Google’s interstitial ad guidelines will also help shift the tides, encouraging more developers to refine their ad experience. As part of this pivot, more developers will embrace a data-centric approach to ad quality in order to achieve a better balance of performance with churn. Developers will also lean more heavily on what the data says about the quality of their ads, both in the composition of ad formats and in the content. This is possible with tools like Ad Quality by Unity.

3.  Hyper-casual games will evolve and more games will go hybrid 
Nadav Ashkenazi, SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for Unity Grow

Nadav Ashkenazi, SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for Unity Grow
While gaming trends indicate hyper-casual games are still going strong, it’s getting harder to launch a hyper-casual hit that’s successful over the long run. In order to reach the chart-topping success that Going Balls and Bridge Race achieved, developers will need to work on the evolution of their gameplay, adding more depth and progression to ensure optimization. 

Among gaming trends in 2023, we also saw larger hyper-casual developers launch new hybrid-casual games. With an eye toward the future, the entire mobile gaming market is taking it all in and doubling down their hybridization efforts. In 2024, many more hyper-casual developers will look at ways to hybridize their existing hyper-casual game as a way to increase retention of quality users. This means adding richer gameplay and a deeper economy that includes more casual monetization techniques with a wider variety of ad formats like IAPs.

4.  Puzzles for the win 
Yuval Lotan, Director, Head of Growth, LevelPlay at Unity

Yuval Lotan, Director, Head of Growth, LevelPlay at Unity
There’s no doubt that 2023 was a very strong year for the puzzle game sub-genre. Known for their solid retention rates that lead to the generation of high ad revenue, 2024 is set to be another profitable year for puzzle games, as more developers and advertisers will increasingly focus their monetization and UA strategies on this genre. 
5.  Letting go of the myth that ads will cannibalize IAPs
Eyal Hendelman, Senior Director, Head of Offerwall at Unity

Eyal Hendelman, Senior Director, Head of Offerwall at Unity
To find success in today’s market, more game developers will soon start to step outside of their comfort zone and test new ways to optimize their growth. Another top gaming trend this year will involve more developers embracing user-initiated ad formats to monetize non-paying users.

As developers start implementing user-initiated ad formats like Offerwall, they’ll find that they are not only a great way to monetize non-paying users, but they can also lead to an increase in IAP and turn more players into payers. In fact, implementing offerwall into games is a great way to increase retention and user engagement, while complimenting your IAP.

6.  A market rebound on the horizon
Amir Shaked, VP, Revenue, Ads at Unity

Amir Shaked, VP, Revenue, Ads at Unity
Along with the economic slowdown in 2023, the gaming industry has also experienced a noticeable drop in both acquisitions and IPOs. Despite this decrease, the future of mobile gaming appears much more promising as we head into 2024. Looking ahead to H2, it’s becoming clear that the stage is now set for considerable growth. 

We are hopeful that this period will mark the beginning of an industry-wide resurgence that will continue into 2025, characterized by the launch of new studios, and a significant uptick in UA investment.

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