Mobile Game Genre on the Rise: AAA Mobile Games

6 min readAug 26, 2021

1. Introduction

Mobile games have become an important part of the gaming industry in the last few years. The developing technology and the increasing use of smartphones greatly impacted this. People are now very interested in mobile games that they will always carry in their pockets and have a good time, as well as computer games.

Several game types in the mobile game industry are created to entertain people, like hyper-casual, casual, and core. AAA games are a game genre that has core game mechanics. AAA games have been frequently encountered in the last couple of years; we will probably see more of this type of game in the future. If developers want to publish an AAA game, they should know the details like recent trends and different monetization methods. At the end of this article, you will learn a lot about AAA games.

2. What is AAA Game?

An AAA game is a genre produced and distributed by a medium to large publisher, and it usually has a higher development, marketing, and advertisement budgets. The term “AAA” mostly defines the huge budgets and teams; actually, it’s an informal classification. Generally, AAA games have good graphics. So we can say that it’s eye-catching and it attracts a wide number and variety of people.

3. AAA Games Place in the Mobile Gaming Industry

In recent a years, besides casual and hyper casual games, AAA mobile games are also quite popular. In 2020, miHoYo released Genshin Impact and this new game had a huge impact on the market. The game earned more than $150 million in revenue. The reasons behind this success was the high quality graphics, open-world gameplay, and gacha-style monetization. Just like the PC and console games, but on smaller screens and in our pockets.

Let’s take a closer look at the AAA mobile game examples. One of the biggest in the industry comes at the top of the examples, I’m sure every gamer has played or heard it once in their life, it’s GTA! Rockstar has adapted a few games from the Grand Theft Auto series to mobile devices. GTA: San Andreas ($6.99 on iOS, Android) is the most popular one.

Here are some other big publisher and game examples; Call of Duty Mobile (Activision) League of Legends: Wildrift and Legends of Runterra (Riot), PUBG Mobile (Tencent), Zula Mobile (MadByte Games), The Sims Mobile (EA — Electronic Arts). These are free to download unlike Rockstar’s games. Let’s analyze these games in more detail.

For example, PUBG Mobile was the highest-grossing mobile game last July! The popularity of PUBG among streamers and Youtubers brought a brand new vision. The company set the motto “PUBG for everyone”, then brought the game to the mobile platform and made a big impact in the mobile game industry.

Another example is League of Legends: Wild Rift, developed and published by Riot Games. The game, which is highly awaited all over the World, was released in 2020. Riot Games’ Wild Rift developer team has done a long and detailed work on the game controls. The team’s aim was serving the best user experience and implementing a player-friendly, innovative control system. In order to break the taboos of the mobile game world, Riot did not include factors such as getting an advantage in exchange of money and waiting for a certain time to play. Wild Rift, recreated for mobile gamers, is perfect for those looking for fun!

In previous years, based on the PC version of The Sims 4, The Sims Mobile was released on the App Store and Google Play. It is possible to play The Sims Mobile for free, which includes all of the most popular basic features of The Sims 4 (character creation, home building, making a career, starting a family). The game also includes in-app purchase options to enrich the user experience.

Zula Mobile, the mobile version of the Turkish game Zula, was released on Android and iOS platforms in January 2020. Zula Mobile has the features of FPS games. The graphics quality and gameplay are satisfactory.

4. Monetization of AAA Mobile Games

Mobile game monetization is the strategy developers use to gain revenue from their games. There are different monetization models adopted by mobile game developers like in-app advertising, in-app purchases, paid, and more. In AAA games, sometimes only one of them is preferred, and sometimes a mixed model is used.

In-App Ads

In-app advertising is one of the most effective monetization methods and is frequently preferred. In this model, the game is usually free to download, and various advertisements show up in the game. Every time the player clicks on these ads, you earn revenue. In this type, advertisers are also advantageous because they can show their ads. However, you should be careful when using this method because players are not satisfied with exposure to too many advertisements.

There are different types of in-app ads like rewarded ads, playable ads, and more. The working principle of rewarded ads is generally as follows: players agree to watch ads to win various rewards (coins, energy, items) in the game. Playable ads are another important method. In this type, players can play the mini demo version of the advertised game. Besides, this is not a boring ad at all! However, in-app ads are not usually preferred by AAA mobile game developers. We may still see some in-app ads in a few games like Call of Duty: Mobile and PUBG Mobile, but these games not only adopt in-app ads methods, they are using a mixed monetization strategy.

In-App Purchases

In this model, players can buy various characters, skins, or battle passes or levels up by spending extra in the game. It is usually preferred to play games. Players download and play the game for free, but if they want additional content in-game, they can make some in-app purchases. It is a method where game developers have earned a lot of revenue in recent years, so in-app purchases are also a trending way to monetize your game. AAA mobile games use this monetization type a lot. We can give PUBG Mobile, Genshin Impact, COD: Mobile, League of Legends: Wildrift, The Sims, and many others as examples.

Paid Games

In the paid model, players must purchase the game for a certain fee before downloading it. In-app purchases generally work better than paid games, but this is still a mobile game monetization trend, especially if the company has a huge fanbase! We can give Rockstar as an example. They have a large fanbase and people don’t mind paying a fee for their games.

The core of the article is, that AAA mobile gaming has been on the rise in recent years, and it is expected to be very popular in the coming years too! One of the perfect ways to get involved in the changing and evolving world of the mobile game industry is to adapt AAA games to mobile and gain more and more players every day. Also, if you are going to release such a game, there are many monetization methods you can choose. Game companies can earn a lot of income and competitive advantage by applying the method that suits them best.

Content created by Hazal Yaman