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Russians are switching from mobile games to browser-based ones. All because of problems with payment in app stores

Today, March 17, the Kommersant news outlet, citing the Sensor Tower analytical agency, reported quite interesting statistics on the mobile gaming market in Russia. For example, the number of mobile video game downloads in the country in 2022 decreased by 11% compared to the previous year, but even despite a significant decline in downloadable content, Russia still remains the largest market for digital content in Europe – in the fourth quarter of last year, the country accounted for 24% of the total number of downloads in the region. This is a significant figure, due to which, in fact, video game developers have to adapt to new market realities and create new monetization tools.

The fact is that due to problems with payment systems, the total volume of payments that are made through the infrastructure of the App Store and Google Play sites in Russia fell by 72% compared to 2021. The reason, of course, is the disconnection of the payment infrastructure by the largest market players represented by Apple and Google, which is why users simply cannot buy applications or pay for content. The specialists note that for three quarters the volume of payments has remained at the same level – slightly below $70 million per quarter, that is, there are no fluctuations or sharp drawdowns either. In Europe, there is a decrease in the volume of payments – in Germany, the decline is 6%, in the UK, sales fell by 13%, and in France – by 4%.

Accordingly, video game developers have had to integrate various third-party content payment services into their applications to stay afloat, such as web services for paying for services or in-game content. Such payment services in certain scenarios even allowed the publisher to increase their revenue compared to the period before the Google Play payments were disabled (probably due to the fact that now they can not pay a percentage of Google’s profit), but it is problematic for analysts to estimate the volume of these sales. . Moreover, developers are transferring to the web not only payment systems, but also mobile video games themselves – this allows you to expand the audience in many ways and remove any restrictions.

“There is a trend in the revival of the direction of browser games, close to mobile gaming,” said Vasily Ovchinnikov, head of the Organization for the Development of the Video Game Industry.

According to experts, publishers are faced with the need to find new ways to implement their video games, and the browser format is just perfect for this. And the growth in the number of installations of such video games in Russia suggests that this direction is extremely promising and gamers are ready for this. The publishers themselves are confident that although the mobile games market has now declined due to limited difficulties with paying for content, in the future this will create alternative points for audience aggregation and content monetization.

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