The 10 Largest Mobile Gaming Companies in the World and What They Do

The mobile gaming industry has absolutely exploded over the last decade. Once just a niche part of the broader video game market, mobile games now make up over half of total gaming revenue worldwide. An estimated $98 billion was spent on mobile games in 2022 alone.

With so much money flowing into the mobile gaming ecosystem, a few giants have emerged as the dominant players. The 10 largest public mobile gaming companies account for a staggering $55.8 billion in revenue, or over 57% of the total market.

Asian firms like Tencent and NetEase make up over half of this amount, capitalizing early on the rapid smartphone adoption across China. However, stalwart Western gaming companies and relative newcomers have also carved out solid positions in the top 10 rankings.

Below we dive into the world’s mobile gaming behemoths based on their 2021 revenue. For each company, we’ll uncover their most successful titles, acquisitions, partnerships, and more as we analyze what has fueled their rise to the pinnacle of the multi-billion dollar mobile gaming industry.

1. Tencent – $27.9 Billion

It’s no surprise that Chinese conglomerate Tencent tops the mobile gaming revenue list, raking in over $27 billion from mobile games in 2021 alone. That’s more than the next nine companies on this list combined!

Tencent owes this mobile dominance primarily to mega hits like Honor of Kings, PUBG Mobile, and Peacekeeper Elite in its home market of China. For example, Honor of Kings brought in $1.64 billion in 2021 even after years on the market.

The company has also had major success exporting games to international audiences. PUBG Mobile earned Tencent over $2 billion from the App Store and Google Play in 2021, making it the company’s most downloaded mobile game globally.

Beyond developing its own titles, Tencent has invested in over 40 gaming studios worldwide. These include makers of legendary franchises like Fortnite, Clash of Clans, and League of Legends. Revenue from these equity stakes contribute immense additional value to Tencent’s bottom line.

2. NetEase – $10 Billion

NetEase has followed in fellow Chinese firm Tencent’s footsteps to become a mobile gaming giant in its own right. With around $10 billion in annual mobile revenue, NetEase has produced multiple longstanding hits in China like the Westward Journey RPG series and fantasy title Tianxia.

In recent years the company has focused heavily on bringing Western console and PC titles to Chinese mobile gamers. Through partnerships with Activision Blizzard, NetEase now operates mobile versions of World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft and more.

NetEase has also collaborated with Mojang Studios to launch localized editions of Minecraft in China. And the company is testing globally-facing titles like the battle royale Knives Out, which has found particular success in Japan.

As NetEase continues to adapt successful Western IP for Chinese mobile users while experimenting with worldwide releases, expect its revenue to challenge Tencent’s supremacy.

3. Garena – $4.3 Billion

Singapore’s Sea Ltd, through subsidiary Garena, single-handedly dominates the mobile gaming scene in Southeast Asia. Garena‘s greatest claim to fame is Free Fire, the breakout battle royale hit with over 1 billion downloads since its 2017 debut.

Analysts trace Free Fire’s initial popularity to its lower hardware requirements, allowing it to thrive across the wide array of Android devices used by gamers in developing Southeast Asian countries. Garena has since expanded the game’s scope and graphics to court more advanced device users.

Free Fire now amazes with figures like 100 million daily active users in the U.S. Garena’s release of an even higher fidelity version, Free Fire MAX, pushes boundaries further and builds revenue simultaneously.

Beyond Free Fire, Garena has licensed games from top developers to distribute in Southeast Asia, including Riot Games’ League of Legends and EA’s FIFA Online 3.

4. Activision Blizzard – $3.2 Billion

Activision Blizzard rounds out the Top 5, standing as the largest Western mobile gaming firm. Yet the famed producer of franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft only recently tapped into mobile’s money-making potential.

Following a late entrance to mobile in 2016, Activision’s key mobile titles include Call of Duty Mobile (which crossed $1.5 billion in lifetime player spending last year) and acquisitions like Candy Crush maker King Digital.

In fact, Candy Crush Saga generates the lion’s share of Activision Blizzard’s mobile revenue even today. The iconic mobile puzzler still pulled in over $1.2 billion in 2021 despite launching a decade ago in 2012!

Now with Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, the soon-to-be console/PC/mobile gaming juggernaut seems certain to unlock more touchscreen prosperity across beloved properties.

5. Cygames – $2.3 Billion

Japanese mobile gaming firm Cygames comes in at number five, edging out larger Western publishers with expertise in hit genres like RPGs. The Tokyo-based subsidiary of CyberAgent rose to prominence through flagship title Fate/Grand Order (based on the popular anime franchise).

But in 2021, a single unconventional new title accounted for the bulk of Cygames’ impressive mobile revenue. Uma Musume Pretty Derby, which reimagines famous Japanese racehorses as cute anime girls (yes, really), became Japan‘s top downloaded mobile game for the year.

Despite eccentric manga-inspired synopses that can bewilder Western audiences, Cygames clearly has a winning formula. With Uma Musume profits complementing earnings from RPG staples like Granblue Fantasy, the company should continue climbing the revenue rankings.

6. Zynga – $2.3 Billion

Once synonymous with Facebook gaming thanks to smash viral hits like FarmVille and Words with Friends back in the late 2000s, Zynga has more recently refocused efforts on mobile platforms with great success.

The San Francisco firm’s current breadwinner is Empires & Puzzles, a “match-3” style mobile RPG hybrid that generated close to $300 million last year. However, endless runner High Heels! takes the crown as Zynga’s most downloaded mobile title recently, accruing over 127 million global downloads to date.

Reinforcing its mobile gaming trajectory, Zynga agreed to a $12.7 billion acquisition deal with console/PC publisher Take-Two earlier this year. The merger should allow the two companies to better leverage popular cross-platform IP like NBA 2K, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption via mobile releases.

7. Supercell – $2.2 Billion

With just five mobile game releases since 2011, Finnish studio Supercell shows how a few well-supported evergreen titles can drive immersive revenue through the roof. Supercell’s seminal title Clash of Clans still pulled in half a billion dollars in 2021 (9 years post-launch!) thanks to a rabid community of online multiplayer fans.

And farming simulation game Hay Day has grossed over $1.4 billion to date on its own. Chinese tech giant Tencent snapped up an 81% stake in Supercell back in 2016, demonstrating the trust and upside investors see in Supercell’s selective but wildly profitable mobile portfolio.

8. miHoYo – $1.5 Billion

Chinese upstart miHoYo has recently emerged on the scene thanks to explosive first year sales of its triple-A mobile/console RPG Genshin Impact, which featured groundbreaking open world exploration mechanics.

While the majority of Genshin Impact’s $3 billion 2021 haul came from PlayStation and PC copies (hence miHoYo’s lower position on this mobile gaming list), the title put the young Shanghai games studio squarely on the map.

Coupled with modest early success for other in-house mobile titles like Honkai Impact 3rd and Arsenal-inspired shooter Gun GirlZ, misHoYo seems poised to enjoy a stratospheric rise up future rankings if it can pump out even one more hit on par with Genshin Impact.

9. Niantic – $900 Million

Niantic sits just shy of a Top 10 billion dollar valuation, but boasts something more elusive: a mobile AR gaming phenomenon. Of course we’re talking about Pokémon GO, a once-in-a-lifetime blend of nostalgia, exercise motivation and app store virality.

San Francisco’s Niantic keeps the Poké-pandemonium going years later with regular gameplay improvements, in-person events and collaborations with brands like Starbucks. And the technique of overlaying real world visuals with interactive tracking/collection continues paying dividends; Pokémon GO revenue made up nearly 95% of Niantic’s total 2021 mobile take.

With expertise in enhancing mobile AR gaming before anyone else, Niantic is the after-hours darling of tech visionaries who imagine a hybrid digital/physical future for mass entertainment. The company probably can’t match pace with gaming behemoths atop the revenue rankings, but expect chartbusting experiments to continue.

10. Electronic Arts – $700 Million

It almost seems unfair to see the legendary company behind Madden, The Sims, Battlefield and myriad other gaming blockbusters scrape into the bottom of this top 10 list. But Electronic Arts’ slow movement into mobile has relegated it behind upstarts and Asian juggernauts when it comes to touchscreen torment.

Interestingly though, acquisitions like Glu Mobile, Playdemic and Dirt developer Codemasters may accelerate EA’s mobile fortunes. Codemasters’ Formula One racing franchise seems a prime candidate for mobile adaptation through EA’s resources and expertise.

And while EA mints billions yearly on console and PC platforms, even minor mobile hits like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (which still drew in an estimated $100 million during 2021) prove the company can succeed on phones when focused. With some restructuring and strategic IPs entering the mobile pipeline soon, EA might start ascending the mobile rankings.

Stepping back, we can slot the top 10 public companies into three geographical buckets:

1. Asia (China): Obviously Tencent and NetEase dominate here from a revenue perspective, with fellow Chinese companies miHoYo and Singapore subsidiary Garena chipping in substantial sums as well. Gaming culture permeates countries like China, with mobile providing affordable access.

2. North America: Major players Activision Blizzard, Zynga and Niantic drive most of the Western revenue, with legacy firms like EA pulling up the rear for now. Consumers here are used to purchasing games on pricier platforms like consoles, so game makers grow mobile presence through acquisitions.

3. Europe: Supercell out of Finland makes its mark being a category leader in mobile gaming first, developing hits for touchscreens instead of adapting titles later on. Gaming and mobile converge seamlessly in the Nordic country.

Asia is clearly winning the mobile arms races for now. But American and European companies seem to be shifting focus to mobile releases based on once console-centric IP. This could spark a resurgence in Western mobile gaming revenue as 5G connectivity and devices improve. 2022 promises heavy competition at the top!

RankCompanyCountry of HeadquartersMobile Gaming Revenue
1TencentChina$27.9 billion
2NetEaseChina$10 billion
3GarenaSingapore$4.3 billion
4Activision BlizzardUnited States$3.2 billion
5CygamesJapan$2.3 billion
6ZyngaUnited States$2.3 billion
7SupercellFinland$2.2 billion
8miHoYoChina$1.5 billion
9NianticUnited States$900 million
10Electronic ArtsUnited States$700 million

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