Mobile shooter games’ trend breakdown 2021 reveals update patterns, battle pass evolution, monetization, and more

The market has been devoid of new successful shooter games for a long time

In the last several years, shooter games have emerged as a major genre in mobile gaming, the latest trend breakdown 2021 reveals. It is the sixth most popular genre in the US iOS market, accounting for approximately 6% of total sales, GameRefinery reports.

For a long time, the market has been devoid of new successful shooter games. None of the new shooter games released in the last two years has cracked the top 200 in the United States. Zooba, the most recent game to accomplish so, was launched in 2019. Even if we broaden our focus to the top 500 grossing games, only one new game, Bullet Echo, was published more than a year ago (May 2020).

cod mobile, call of duty mobile
Image via Activision

The huge popularity of Call of Duty Mobile has prompted several AAA developers to go to mobile. With more than two years passing since the last top-grossing shooter, there are some interesting challenges on the horizon from the industry’s largest studios. Valorant Mobile, Apex Legends Mobile, Battlefield Mobile, and Final FantasyVII: The First Soldier are among them. Will these games successfully compete with the “Big Three” of mobile shooters and inject new life into a stale market in the coming months? That is yet to be determined.

Mobile shooter games’ update patterns 

All of the top shooter games follow a similar schedule of content releases. All are built on several seasons (Battle Pass, ranked seasons, and so on) that pace the games and their larger releases, such as feature releases. Furthermore, during the seasons, there are various “smaller content” updates in the form of events, cosmetics, gachas, bundles, smaller limited-time game modes, and so on.

Mobile shooter games trend breakdown
Free Fire Mythos Spin (Image via Garena)

If we look at Call of Duty Mobile during the last year, we can see two major updates (aside from other events) to the game: Clan War and the re-release of the Zombie mode.

Mobile shooter games’ gacha monetization

Many of the most popular shooter games are nearly entirely built on the cosmetic economy (or skins with minor power benefits like Garena). So, how do they make a living? The amount of different cosmetic types/pure volume of things pushed out by these corporations raises the content cadence to dizzying heights. Gachas are a popular method of selling these products. CoD Mobile presently has two types of gachas available: Draw Gachas and Milestone Gachas.

Because the top shooters rely nearly entirely on cosmetic economics, it’s critical to not only have a wide range of cosmetics to collect but also to have systems in place to support and incentivize the collection. PUBG Mobile includes two features that increase the incentive to accumulate even more: Show Room and Season Gallery.

The ShowRoom feature allows players to effortlessly curate and display their favorite cosmetic items to other players. Season Gallery then capitalizes on the completionist drive-by rewarding players for completing collections and visually displaying how much they have finished.

Mobile shooter games’ battle pass evolution

Since Fortnite, Battle Pass has been one of the must-have elements in top-grossing shooters, since it synergizes incredibly well with the games’ aesthetic economies. Nowadays, we’ve seen several variations of the traditional Battle Pass system, with PUBG Mobile’s Royale Pass being one of the most unique.

Mobile shooter games trend breakdown
PUBG Mobile Battle RP Team

Battle Passes are typically extremely personal. You must complete your own objectives and earn reward criteria on your own. PUBG, on the other hand, innovates in this area as well, with the RP Team function. Players can build or join an RP Team after purchasing the season’s Battle Pass.

It awards benefits to each team member based on the number of players in the team and the Battle Pass rank of all team members added together. This increases the “social pressure” to carry your own weight so that everyone can achieve the best benefits. Traditionally, Battle Pass advancement is gained either directly as a gaming reward or through a task-based mechanism.

Final Thoughts

Mobile shooter games albeit being stagnant from new big releases are still very much big with classic esport titles like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile leading the charge. Considering the complexity of such games in comparison to other mobile games, it is quite interesting how far it will push mobile gaming and how it will help improve for future updates and future releases of other developers.

What are your thoughts on the trend breakdown 2021 reveals about mobile shooter games? Let us know in the comments below!

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