Although games represented about 35% of total iOS App Store and Google Play app downloads in 2016, games generated over 80% of combined direct App Store and Google Play spending worldwide. As in previous years, spending on iOS games was significantly higher than the Google Play total, and was indeed higher than all Android-based stores put together, last year.

For mobile games, Pokemon GO came in third in 2016 for total game spend across iOS and Google Play, despite being available for only half the year. The title generated about $950 million in direct spending in 2016.

Given the rising interest in mobile AR games such as Pokemon GO and in mobile VR games like Mojang's Minecraft Gear VR Edition and CCP's Gunjack, the Gaming Spotlight, 2016 Review also delves into this topic in some detail based on a survey of over 4,600 mobile and handheld gamers in United States in 3Q 2016. Two of the most notable takeaways from this survey are that:

Approximately 24 million Americans played an AR game in September 2016, and 56% of this gamer base was under 25 years of age (primarily reflecting Pokemon GO's popularity among children and young adults).
About 4.5 million Americans played a VR title on their smartphone last September, and these gamers were fairly hardcore (46% played mobile games for >15 hours a week, 56% were male, and the group's average consumer spend on mobile games was 42% above the total mobile/handheld gamer average spend in 3Q 2016).
"2016 was the breakout year for mobile AR games," said Lewis Ward, research director of Gaming and AR/VR at IDC. "Since a quality mobile VR gaming experience generally requires a separate hardware purchase such as a Gear VR or Google Daydream viewer, it's unlikely that mobile VR gaming in 2017 will replicate what AR gaming achieved last year.

The demographics of mobile VR gamers nonetheless point to rapid revenue growth moving forward, and the fact that a large share of mobile VR gamers also enjoy eSports content implies that competitive multiplayer gaming will emerge as an important mobile VR market driver and help put some distance between the leading suppliers and the competition."

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