Mobile gaming analytics company GameRefinery analyzed the top 200 grossing iOS games in the US and China to find out five features that impact the revenue the most.

GameRefinery’s breakdown was published on GamesBeat on April 18. Here are key takeaways from the analysis.

Top 5 features that drive revenue on mobile

1. Gachas are common in RPGs and can be tied to different events, in-game milestones, and festive themes. This feature is utilized in 69% of the top 20% highest-grossing US games and in 50% of the top 20% highest-grossing Chinese games.

This mechanic is featured in many mobile games, including AFK Arena and Fire Emblem Heroes, with Genshin Impact being one the most prominent examples. miHoYo uses gachas to introduce new characters, and this feature has become the main driver of the game’s growth. Here is how it impacts the revenue:

Image credit: GameRefinery

2. Cosmetic items were first popularized by shooters but are now common in more casual genres, like match-3. This feature helps players express themselves without affecting the game’s balance. Decorative skins are utilized in 44% of the top 20% highest-grossing US games and in 50% of the top 20% highest-grossing Chinese games.

Different cosmetics can be seen in numerous popular titles, like PUBG Mobile and June’s Journey. The latter is a hidden object game, where players also build their gardens between levels.

PUBG Mobile

3. Guilds were popularized by RPGs but are now making their way to casual genres. This feature is used in 54% of the top 20% highest-grossing US games and in 84% of the top 20% highest-grossing Chinese games.

Homescapes is a prominent example of a match-3 game implementing guilds. Playrix has already added special team events, while also allowing guild members to help each other. GameRefinery also notes that Chinese titles often use a “double guild” system to let players gather in smaller guilds along with regular ones. The best example here is Honor of Kings.

Homescapes

4. Battle Pass was popularized by Fortnite and later found its way to other genres. It is now utilized in 57% of the top 20% highest-grossing US games and in 86% of the top 20% highest-grossing Chinese games. You can read more about battle pass’ impact on the revenue here.

Battle Pass popularity in the US over 12 months (Image credit: GameRefinery)

5. Collaboration events are common in RPGs and other games that focus on character collection. These events are often time-limited, so they work well to increase the revenue and players’ engagement.

Dragalia Lost serves as a good example of using this feature. The game had different crossover events with other franchises, including Monster Hunter, Megaman, and Fire Emblem. Epic Seven’s revenue also spiked after its collaboration with virtual YouTuber Kizuna AI.

Image credit: GameRefinery

You can read GameRefinery’s analysis in full here.

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