Today, mobile games account for a huge chunk of the video game industry, with consumers spending $93.2 billion globally on them in 2021. And by 2027, the global mobile gaming market is projected to reach $153.5 billion

Over the past five years, Tapjoy has surveyed tens of thousands of mobile gamers to get a holistic view of their gaming habits, brand and ad preferences, demographics and more. Its latest report, “The Modern Mobile Gamer 2022: Game Dev. Edition,” compares the current state of mobile gaming – with findings based on a survey it conducted among 9,000 mobile gamers in February 2022 – to the findings of its first report published in 2017. 

For its current report, Tapjoy released several surveys via its Offerwall in February 2022 and reached a total of 9,352 mobile gamers aged 18 and older. Each respondent opted in to participate in exchange for in-game rewards or premium content native to each game’s virtual economy.

Who’s Playing

According to the survey, 72 percent of Tapjoy gamers are women, 35 percent are Gen Z, 27 percent are millennials, 21 percent are Gen X and 86 percent live in North America.

What They Play

First up, Tapjoy found that 57 percent of respondents play more mobile games now than they did five years ago. Roughly one-third of these gamers said they have between four and seven mobile games on their phone. For Gen Z gamers, that figure rises to eight or more. Among the genres studied, puzzles are the top category in every age group but are particularly appreciated by Gen X (65 percent) and parents (58 percent). 

The action/adventure, strategy, and simulation categories tied for the second most popular at 33 percent. Tapjoy also found that action/adventure is more popular among men than the puzzle category; strategy is more popular among Gen X gamers and simulation is appealing to Gen Z, millennial and female gamers. Role-playing games (RPG) are popular among Gen Z and non-binary gamers, the report shows. 

Why They Play

More than anything else, respondents said they play mobile games to be entertained (73 percent) and to relax (60 percent). 

According to Tapjoy, 84 percent of users play mobile games, 36 percent play console or handheld games and 30 percent play on PC.  When asked why they prefer mobile games to other platforms, 67 percent cited the convenience, noting “I always have my phone on me.”

Twenty-two percent think that mobile games are now higher quality than they were before. Most mobile gamers discover new titles via ads in other games and only remove mobile games from regular rotation if they’ve grown bored or frustrated (39 percent), finished the story or mission (24 percent) or the publisher stops adding new content (12 percent). 

When They Play

Across generations, 49 percent of gamers play on mobile multiple times a day, with parents being the cohort most likely to do so at 58 percent, followed by Gen X at 54 percent. 

As much as 50 percent of gamers play more than 10 hours per week, which is similar to the average amount played on console and PC. As for what time of day gamers play, 47 percent play during work or school breaks, 44 percent during the evening or just before bed and 38 percent play after getting home from work or school.

What They Spend

Forty-eight percent of parents reported making occasional purchases compared to 40 percent who never do so. Forty-five percent of Gen X gamers make occasional purchases while 40 percent do not. 

More Gen Xers make occasional purchases (45 percent) than never make purchases (40 percent) while for millennials it’s split – 44 percent never make purchases in FTP games but 44 percent spend occasionally. 

About one-quarter of all respondents claimed to wait months before making in-game purchases while parents, Tapjoy found, are willing to spend much more quickly, waiting just a few days after downloading the game.

As for why they make in-app purchases in mobile games, 27 percent said it’s due to a lack of time to earn rewards while another 27 percent said it’s a small price to pay for the promise of continued entertainment. Fifteen percent said they make in-app purchases to reward developers and publishers.


With Google’s plans to scrap third-party cookies and Apple’s IDFA changes, publisher trust has become a major concern in the world of mobile gaming. As Tapjoy found, 43 percent of mobile users are open to app tracking with 29 percent saying the top reason they opt-in is because they trust the developer or publisher. On the other hand, 39 percent reported never opting into data tracking on iOS while the remaining 18 percent said they weren’t sure.


Then Vs. Now

To recap, here’s how players’ perception of the mobile ecosystem has changed since Tapjoy first started measuring these metrics in 2017:




Twenty-one percent of mobile gamers reported favoring ad-supported mobile games while 55 percent would have rather had free apps with in-app purchases.

Fifty percent of mobile gamers now favor ad-supported mobile games while 9 percent prefer paid apps.

Video ads were the most favored rewarded ad type with app installation rewards coming in second.

Video ads are still the most favored rewarded ad type though gamers are more accepting of survey ads and playables.

Forty-four percent of respondents noted that humorous video ads would be most likely to grab their attention.

Humor remains important to 57 percent of respondents who claim that there’s a greater chance of interaction with a video if it’s involved.