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There is no sign of slowing down in the global race to acquire outstanding developers. In the past year, there have been many large transactions, such as EA’s acquisition of Glu Mobile for US$2.1 billion, and the recently completed US$1.4 billion acquisition of Playdemic. Other major acquisitions include MTG’s deal with racing game specialist Hutch, valued at up to 375 million U.S. dollars, Take-Two’s acquisition of Top Eleven studio Nordeus for 378 million U.S. dollars, Jam City’s acquisition of Ludia for U.S. dollars 165 million, and more acquisitions, investments, and Fundraising activities.

We analyzed several of the top genres by player spending in the United States from January 1 to August 31, 2021, to look at how the heated M&A market is impacting the industry. From this data, we can see how a publisher’s portfolio of titles is performing in a particular category, while also identifying how new launches and M&A activity have impacted the market. In some cases, we have applied player spending retroactively to show how market share has changed.

 

Table of Content

 

Puzzle Pieces

Between January 1 and August 31, 2021, Activision Blizzard, which includes King, maintained its position as the No. 1 publisher in the Puzzle genre. The company generated approximately $873 million from percent of U.S. player spending, spurred on by the best start to a year ever by its flagship title, Candy Crush Saga. Playrix, meanwhile, generated $625 million from its puzzle titles, which include Gardenscapes and Homescapes.

AppLovin has grown its share in the Puzzle genre significantly with key acquisitions, generating approximately $394 million during the first eight months of 2021. The publisher’s top titles include Project Makeover and Matchington Mansion, both from Magic Tavern, which it acquired in January 2019. Other key strategic investments include Clockmaker developer Belka Games and Wordscapes studio PeopleFun, which have helped AppLovin become a major player in the Puzzle space.

 

Lifestyle Lift

EA became the No. 1 publisher in the Lifestyle games genre between January 1 and August 31, 2021, accumulating approximately $123 million. This is thanks to its $2.1 billion acquisition of Glu Mobile, the publisher behind titles such as Design Home, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and Covet Fashion.

Playtika ranked as the No. 3 publisher in the Lifestyle genre, accumulating $53 million during the first eight months of the year. The company’s only title in the space is Redecor from Reworks, a developer it acquired earlier this month in a deal worth up to $600 million. Elsewhere, Stillfront Group has claimed the No. 7 spot, generating more than $18 million from player spending in Lifestyle games during the period, thanks to its acquisition of Hollywood Story: Fashion Star developer Nanobit in September 2020.

 

Sports Stars

As in the Lifestyle genre, EA also ranked as the No. 1 publisher by U.S. player spending in Sports, generating approximately $176 million during the last eight months. While the company previously had its own mobile titles such as FIFA and Madden NFL 22, the acquisitions of Glu Mobile and Golf Clash developer Playdemic have seen it rise to the market leader in the space.

Miniclip ranked No. 2 for mobile Sports game revenue during the period, accumulating $77 million. The publisher’s Sports portfolio is led by its flagship title, 8 Ball Pool, and also features titles from recent acquisitions, such as Head Ball 2 from Masomo, which it purchased in 2019. Other publishers in the Sports genre making notable acquisitions include Zynga’s purchase of Golf Rival and developer StarLark for $525 million, and Take-Two’s deal for Top Eleven developer Nordeus, worth up to $378 million.

 

Hypercasual High-Flyers

Voodoo ranked as the No. 1 Hyper casual games publisher in the U.S. during the last 10 months, picking up 139 million downloads. AppLovin, meanwhile, which counts its subsidiary Lion Studios in the genre, ranked No. 2 with approximately 96 million installs.

Zynga ranked as the No. 3 publisher for downloads market share in the genre during this period, thanks to its acquisition of Rollic Games in October 2020. Embracer Group now also takes up a significant share of the U.S. market, following its purchase of Crazy Labs in August 2021.

 

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