Sensor Tower has released a new report on puzzle mobile games, as well as their revenues and downloads over the past 11 years. Analysts also explored the performance of various sub-genres and the top-grossing titles in the market.

Breakdown of mobile Puzzle market: $42 billion in revenue over 11 years, rise of hybrid-casual monetization model


As can be seen in the Sensor Tower report, the 11-year period covers data from January 1, 2012 to June 15, 2023. All revenue figures are based on player spending (including app store fees), and Android data doesn’t take into account third-party stores (Google Play only).

  • Mobile puzzle games have reached $42 billion in revenue globally over the past 11 years, also generating 50 billion downloads.
  • Sensor Tower identifies 19 main sub-genres in the Puzzle category. Swap (match games) is the top one by revenue, accounting for 61% of the market’s total player spending.
  • The second highest-grossing sub-genre is Blast (10% of total revenue), which includes puzzle games where players have to blast tiles by tapping on matching colors. It is followed by Chain (6%), Hidden Objects (4%), Merge (4%), and Bubble Shooter (4%).
  • Swap is also a leader in terms of downloads, accounting for 16% of the Puzzle market’s total installs. It is followed by Physics (14%), Riddle (10%), Word (9%), and Trivia (6%).

  • The top 3 Swap titles by revenue are Candy Crush Saga, Gardenscapes, and Homescapes. The highest-grossing Blast games are Toon Blast, Toy Blast, and Pet Rescue Saga, while the top-3 Chain titles include LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum, Yo-kai Watch Wibble Wobble, and Two Dots.

  • It looks like Match titles are especially popular in China and Europe. Last year, this sub-genre accounted for 83% and 71% of the Puzzle market’s revenue in these countries, respectively.
  • Chain games have a solid 27% share in Japan, thanks to the popularity of LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum, which generated $123 million in 2022.

  • To see how selected sub-genres perform against market headwinds, Sensor Tower looked at their revenues and downloads between January and May 2023 and how they changed compared to the same period last year.
  • Most sub-genres experienced declines in both metrics year-over-year. However, Real-Time puzzle titles saw a 103% increase in downloads and a 64% jump in revenue.
  • The growth was largely driven by Tetris (11 million downloads, $231k in player spending from January to May 2023) and Traffic Jam Fever (10 million downloads and $212k in revenue).

  • The Pair sub-genre experienced the second biggest revenue growth of 47%, also seeing a 14% increase in downloads.
  • Although downloads of Merge games fell 28% year-over-year, the category showed a 26% growth in revenue.
  • According to Sensor Tower, more Puzzle games are now adopting a hybrid-casual monetization model, which combines in-app purchases and advertising. As a result, hybrid-casual Puzzle titles saw a nearly 430% increase in revenue from January to May 2023 compared to the same period last year.

More data about the Puzzle market, the performance of selected sub-genres, and current trends, can be found in the full report.

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