How Many People Play Mobile Games in 2020

by Darina Lynkova | April 11, 2019

In 2019 we live in the Golden Age of Gaming.

Enjoying a game has never been easier!

Game developers don’t hold back because smartphones grow in power quickly.

Epic, right?

And a bit overwhelming, maybe.

For a lot of people today, free time equals gaming time.

In that spirit, we have a two-part question for you:

First: Do you know how many people play mobile games?

And second: How much do you know about mobile gaming demographics?

(Spoiler alert: female gamers statistics may surprise you!)

I suggest we look at some numbers from 2018 first and then we’ll talk more:

Impressive, I know!

How about you? Are you a passionate mobile gamer?



Mobile gaming stats say there is a good chance that you are, regardless of your education, gender, age, or social status.

Well, some of us play mobile games, others read fantasy novels. The outcome is practically the same – you escape to a world of your own and spend some peaceful time there. Or just shoot stuff dead for stress relief or fun.

In general, we rarely let our gaming apps collect dust on our phones’ shelves, do we?

And why would we?

Gaming is just great!

Games, in general, have influenced our society positively in different ways. Gaming makes us more competitive, and better problem-solvers. It enhances critical thinking, and it helps us make friends with similar interests.  

Mobile gaming has contributed greatly not only to the gaming industry but to our daily lives.

You’ll see.

Now, let’s get back to our numbers and get crazy.

Mobile Gaming and Demographics

What will the numbers say when we dig deeper into mobile gaming gender distribution?

Who enjoys gaming more, nowadays?

Women or men?

Teens or adults?

Is gaming addiction a “prerogative” of male gamers or does it afflict women as well?

Let’s start with the most popular titles and see who enjoys them the most.

What Are the Most Popular Mobile Games in 2019?

Traditional games like Snake aside, if you want to stay in fashion, here is what you need to know in 2019:

Top mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite proved that technology has finally reached a stage where desktop and mobile can provide a similar gaming experience, even for a shooter game. And the rewards for mobile developers are huge.

Those are the 6 most popular mobile games for 2018 – in that order:

PUBG, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Fortnite, Minecraft, Pokemon GO.

Mobile gaming demographics have shifted and the numbers in 2019 surprised everyone.

Women of all ages have peeked behind the curtain of gaming, and let me tell you:

They like what they see in there. Who wouldn’t?


Every day we enjoy monsters, aliens, and stuff made of jelly or creepy looking fruit that smiles for some reason!

We also seem to like shooting NPCs or other players and collecting virtual currency and artifacts. Our adventures also may include fancy weapons, zombie infestations (a little out of fashion these days, but still), robots (classic), and all sorts of warriors…

Mobile Gaming Facts

The list is endless.

When it comes to women in mobile gaming, things are getting quite exciting nowadays.

Here we go.

1. In 2019, there are 2.1 billion mobile gamers worldwide.

(Source: MediaKix)

And over 56% of them play 10 or more times a week. Hm… I wonder how many times you played a mobile game this week?

Care to share in a comment below?

2. In 2019, 63% of all mobile gamers are women.

(Source: MediaKix)

OK, we started strong!

Female gamers in 2018 definitely outnumber their male counterparts!

The biggest mobile game consumers in 2019 are women. They also prefer mobile games over online platforms and consoles, which are still the first choice of 38% of men.

3. In 2017, 69% of match-3 games were played by women.

(Source: Quantic Foundry)

Match-3 games (3-in-a-row games – puzzle games)  are generally a favorite among the female audience. Mobile game makers have provided plenty of options.

There are so many examples of a free game for women these days. Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds Match, and Jelly Splash are just some of the best known match-3 games.

How about all the endless runner mobile games like Subway Surfers and Temple Run? So many options, so little time…

Actually, there are many different types of games women play.

4. In 2018, 28% of iOS Fortnite gamers were female.

(Source: Business of Apps)

In 2008, research among adolescents revealed that girls preferred creative games and puzzles.  Strategic and fighting games, however, were mostly reserved for boys.

But today, almost a third of all players in one of the most popular games worldwide (Fortnite) are women. For a last-man-standing shooter game, that is rather surprising.

Yes, the female audience, in general, prefers mobile games that are less violent. Then there are enthusiasts that will tip the scales in the near future.  

Ah, how times change.

5. In March 2019, there were 250 million Fortnite players.  

(Source: Business of Apps)

Now imagine that one-third of mobile players are female… Ouch!

How about other games?

I think we can all agree that Candy Crush Saga players reached a notable level of madness, since the release in 2012.   

6. In 2018, 58% of Candy Crush Saga players were female.

(Source: DMR)

Girl gamers for the win!

Soda crush!

Candy Crush Saga is one of the most popular and best-loved games. Not to mention it is the most downloaded mobile game for iOS.

For some reason, people loved that puzzle and in April 2019 it already has more than 4,430 levels. In 2018, Candy Crush Saga reached 140 million downloads.

Did you know:

The revenue of Candy Crush Saga for 2018 was $1.5 billion while Fortnite made $2.4 billion.

7. 65% of U.S. women ages 10-65 play mobile games.

(Source: Game Analytics)

OK, we can already say with certainty that yes, women are playing a lot more than they used to. Interestingly enough, the girls that grew up with a smartphone glued to their hands are NOT the main audience.

8. In 2018, the average age of a female gamer was 36 years. For male gamers, it was 32 years.

(Source: Mediakix)   

The female audience is growing rapidly, as well as the average time we spend gaming per week. (I am dreaming of a Candy Crush gaming session on the beach already – leave swimming to the n00bs!)

9. Women mobile gamers are 79% more likely to make an in-app purchase.

(Source: Venturebeat)

Mobile gaming is not only super easy to manage – it saves money as well. There are so many free or super cheap games, and the beautiful thing is you don’t need to buy an additional device to play them. All you need is your smartphone.

It is not a crime after all if you want to buy some additional features (some virtual currency, or lives, or diamonds – whatever it is).

10. Only 27.8% of the gaming industry is female.

(Source: Business of Apps)

While women are increasing their gaming time at an ever-growing rate, the industry hasn’t adapted to the female customers yet.

Soon enough, gaming companies will embrace the demographics and start developing games specifically for women.

Now that we’ve harped on the topic of female gamers enough, let’s look at the general tendencies in gaming.

Mobile Gaming Revenue

How about we look at the bigger picture for a moment?

11. In 2018, 46% of all mobile gamers spent money on games.

(Source: Newzoo)

619.5 billion of them are in China.

Keep those numbers in mind when you go to the next one.

12. In the US, the ratio of male to female gamers in 2018 is 11:9, or 55% to 45%.

(Source: Statista)

According to statistics, women also play more frequently than men – 43% of female players play mobile games five days a week or more, compared to 38% of men.

13. Mobile games generated $40.6 billion in revenue in 2017.

(Source: Statista)

Smartphones account for the lion’s share of this revenue – 80%, against 20% from tablets.

In 2018, mobile gaming accounts for more than 50% of the global games market, which is at $137.9 billion. That number is expected to reach $180 billion in 2021.

14. Almost 70% of Americans, or roughly 210 million people, play games on at least one type of mobile device. 90% of those play games on their smartphones.

(Source: Variety)

Mobile gaming has given everyone a chance to play. Desktop gaming is great, but it’s not exactly convenient in today’s world. With mobile, there are almost no restrictions.

The crew of the International Space Station plays mobile games too!

It makes you wonder who are the real space invaders.

15. In 2019, mobile gamers in the US are 209.5 million.

(Source: Statista)

For 2020 this number is expected to reach 213 billion. According to a 2016 research, 88% of people play mobile games in their leisure time (and 30% on the toilet…).

It’s time we moved our mind’s eye to the Far East.

16. In 2017, 66% of all mobile gamers in China were female. Women aged 21-35 accounted for 23% of Chinese female gamers.

(Source: Newzoo)

In comparison – 53% of desktop gamers in China are female.

China is the #1 country in the games market with $37.9 billion in revenue and 619.5 million players in 2018.

In the spirit of leaving no stone unturned:

17The share of mobile out of the total gaming revenue will grow from 18% in 2012 to 59% in 2021.

(Source: Statista)

According to stats for the US, women play 58% of mobile games and 36% of desktop games. Women are definitely “in” on the latest game-playing trends.

As Lady Galadriel said: “The world is changing.”

Now, let’s see what the future of gaming has to offer.

Latest Trends and Forecasts

Gaming apps are the most popular apps, no doubt.

They are affordable, interactive, relaxing (well, some of them are), easy to manage, there is a great variety to choose from, and they are a perfect pastime. I could add they are also addictive, but let’s not look under that rock.

They are like sirens – they lure you in and you can’t resist.

They are safe to use as well – no one has ever received a Darwin Award for falling from a cliff in the woods playing mobile games.


I checked!

Bottom line: unlike taking selfies, mobile gaming is not life-threatening!

Actually, that’s true for almost all games – there’s an exception as you’ll soon find out….


2020 promises to be a great year in the world of gaming.

Oh, yes. We have lots to look for in the near future:

18. The expected number of mobile gamers in 2021 is 2.7 billion.

(Source: Statista)

With phones being cheaper and more powerful than ever, mobile gaming will continue to spread.

19. The expected number of desktop gamers for 2021 is 1.4 billion.

(Source: Statista)

Earth’s population grows so rapidly and it’s only natural for the number of gamers to increase in the future years. Not unless a very cool new gadget gets invented and catches on (fingers crossed for time machines!)

Talking of fancy gadgets:

20. According to mobile game revenue statistics, in 2020 smartphones will contribute 41% of the total gaming revenue.

(Source: Statista)

Mobile gaming has overtaken the gaming market – the number of gamers in the world is mind-blowing.

Many mobile gamers are still casual, whereas most desktop gamers consider themselves serious about their gaming. However, the newest hits in mobile gaming prove that a third of the female audience has started to play even shooters.

Alright, we talked a lot about mobile games. How about we have a look at the companies developing them?

Top Mobile Gaming Companies

Let’s make a list of some of the most famous companies and the games they designed.


They created Candy Crush Saga and all its spinoffs (e.g. Candy Crush Soda, Candy Crush Jelly). Well done, King!

Microsoft Studios

The Swedish video game developer Mojang created Minecraft Pocket Edition in 2011 and Subway Surfers in 2012. In November 2014, Mojang became part of Microsoft Studios.

Electronic Arts

They own FIFA, The Sims, Need For Speed, Battlefield, Mass Effect, and Titanfall. But did you know they also own the unforgettable mobile classic Plants vs. Zombies? It was initially developed in 2009 by PopCap games, which was eventually acquired by Electronic Arts in July 2011.

Epic Games

Who were those guys? Only the creators of Fortnite. The mobile version of the game was released in 2018, and currently, the game makes $1.5 million per day.

Now, let’s move on to some future trends.

Future Trends in Mobile Gaming

Even though predicting the future is a tricky business, it is certain that advances like Samsung Galaxy Fold will bring about new, exciting gaming opportunities.

Cloud Gaming

Cloud gaming is one of the greatest innovations in the field of mobile gaming.

You can just open the game on the cloud and start playing it on your phone. You don’t need to download it to your phone.

Now, you can stream any game you want at any time. You can play on any screen, and you get to choose from a great variety of games. It’s also a safe place for kids.

Splendid, I know!

Gaming Companies Are Expanding Their Store to Mobile

Since the unheard of success of Fortnite Battle Royal in 2018, game developers are now taking mobile gaming more seriously. The developers of Fortnite, Epic Games, released their own online store to compete with Steam.

Because of the cloud, we can expect more online gaming in the future. It will remove the need for extra storage.

But wait, there’s more exciting news coming.

Game Stadia

It is simple:

They call it Netflix for games.

Simple but amazing!

In 2019, Google announced they intend to release a new gaming platform, which will bring gamers and developers together. Streaming games online will enable gamers to choose a game and start playing it in just a couple of minutes on any device – desktop, laptop, smartphone, TV, tablet – anywhere.

We have nothing to worry about. The future of gaming is ridiculously bright!

Surprising Mobile Gaming Facts

OK, we all know that when something becomes as popular as mobile games, weird things start happening. Suddenly, there are overhyped game zealots everywhere, and even celebrities get caught up and share the buzz.

Here comes our selection of surprising facts for today.

Subway Surfers Was the 1st Game to Get More Than 1 Billion Downloads in Google Play Store.

The game was initially released in 2012, and it was an immediate success. It was the first game in history to surpass the threshold of one billion downloads for Android. For comparison, we can add that the most downloaded app in Google Play Store in 2018 was the Facebook app with 4.119 billion downloads so far.


Candy Crush Saga developers were initially greatly inspired by the game Bejeweled. The company once offered to sell the franchise to Microsoft for $50,000. Eventually, 10 years later, Electronic Arts bought Bejeweled for $1.3 billion.

Good business, eh?

Let’s exit the realm of peaches and cream and take a look at the side of mobile gaming we don’t hear about often.

Pokemon Go accidents

Since the release of the game in 2016, walking about around town just wasn’t the same anymore. The game presented us with a challenge or two… and somewhere along the way things got out of control.

A man actually did fall off a cliff while battling for a vyed addition to his collection.

(No Darwin Award, though!)

Collecting monsters while driving?

In 2017, the game may have contributed to 150,000 car accidents and 250 deaths in the US.

Anyway, let’s finish on a more cheerful note.

Did you know:

Activision Blizzard Announced the Release of Call of Duty: Mobile

In March 2019, the creators of Diablo Immortal announced the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Mobile – a free to play FPS. The game will launch this summer.

Now, we already mentioned that one-third of Fortnite mobile gamers are women. Perhaps Call of Duty will be the next target of the female audience.

Wrapping Up

No one is stealing the thunder away from mobile gaming apps any time soon.

Many mobile games don’t require any special skills AND they help us let some steam off.

They are fun, and easy, and challenging, and addictive. (Yes, I said it!)

According to mobile video game gender statistics, women now represent more than half of mobile gamers worldwide. They play as a means of stress relief, entertainment, and to just pass the time.

I think in 2019 it is safe to say that mobile gaming and mobile marketing are on the rise and women are a lucrative audience for both mobile developers and marketers.

Do you remember the percentage of female gamers is 2018?

It’s 63% and statistics predict a rise in the future. This will tie in nicely with the further development of smartphone technology.

Women are already a valuable target group and the spotlight will soon fall on them and their preferences.

Now you know how many people play mobile games, and if you go to a party and everyone starts talking about mobile gaming demographics – the microphone will be yours for the evening!

I mean, there are a couple more things to say about the demographics, but I already itch to check my Fortnite aim and will wrap it up here.

Have fun with your favorite mobile games, everyone!


  1. MediaKix
  2. MediaKix
  3. Quantic Foundry
  4. Business of Apps
  5. Business of Apps
  6. DMR
  7. Game Analytics
  8. Mediakix
  9. Venturebeat
  10. Business of Apps
  11. Newzoo
  12. Statista
  13. Statita
  14. Variety
  15. Statista
  16. Newzoo
  17. Statista
  18. Statista
  19. Statista
  20. Statista
Darina Lynkova
Darina Lynkova
I am a proud Ravenclaw and a fan of Stephen King (seriously, one of my dreams is to write something that the King will read. Plan B is to get invited to his house and have a coffee with him and his wife. Never mind!) I enjoy being a part of an awesome team of tech writers and we are having a ball writing our techie articles. Currently, I am finishing my second master’s degree, at Vrije University, Brussels (Linguistics and Literature!) What else? Oh yeah, and I am a fan of progressive metal... and progressive technologies like AI and deep learning.