young man in hat inside playing on his phone
Mobile Data , Mobile Games

German Gaming Market: A Lucrative Landscape?

MADE IN GERMANY – the seal of high quality and appeal. We usually hear this label in reference to Germany’s quality industrial output, but the nation’s reputation of high quality has also trickled down into the mobile app economy. In gaming – and particularly, in mobile gaming.

Compared with other countries, the German gaming market is still considered young. But as the biggest gaming market in Europe, there are mounting reasons for app publishers and developers to consider the German GEO as a goldmine for unparalleled quality and growth.

Looking at a Landscape for Growth

Straight out the gate, Germany is a mobile-first market. Its smartphone penetration rate will exceed 93 percent by 2028. Compare this rate with other European nations known for their top-tier traffic in Europe. It’s currently higher than that of France, Austria, Spain, and Italy – but just a tick lower than the rate in the UK, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Just remember, though, that the population of Germany – at over 83 million – by far outnumbers all of these countries – and, in fact, almost all European countries. Mobile has become the most widely used gaming platform in Germany, above consoles, PCs, and tablets. And if the gap between smartphone penetration rate (roughly 89%) and mobile gaming penetration rate (20%) continues to close up, publishers and developers will have millions of highly valuable German users at their fingertips.

Connecting More Users with 5G Connection

A fertile landscape for acquisition and revenue growth doesn’t just rely on access to a smartphone but on access to a high-performance 5G network. High user engagement and retention are only possible when players can enjoy uninterrupted high-quality mobile gaming experiences. Whether they’re on the go or in their homes.

This is why the German Games Industry Association (Game) is campaigning to “ensure digital infrastructure for all.” And there’s more than enough reason to believe that German players are fans of this digital development. The association found that 40 percent of Germans play mobile games more frequently following upgrades in mobile games’ technical quality.

map of europe showing smartphone penetration rate and 5G coverage

Germany‘s 5G network currently covers 42 percent of its population. It critically needs to catch up with its European counterparts the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Spain, for example, where a 5G network covers over 50 percent of their respective populations. However, Germany’s federal government has allocated 66 million euros to the expansion of the 5G network. And where the potential for highly engaged traffic is high, the opportunity for publishers and developers is just as high.

Who Are These Users?

This impressive scalability potential is just the tip of the iceberg. App users in the German gaming market are typically highly protective of their data. So, with no relevant insights, there’s no chance of developing a winning and polished UA strategy. 

That’s why reports such as adjoe and Appinio’s Mobile Gamers of Germany 2023 publication, which unveil insights directly from German mobile gamers themselves, are nonnegotiable resources that give you a narrative for your strategy:

  • Seven in ten Germans play games on an Android device compared with three in ten who use an iOS device. While the platform split is equal among Gen Zers, over 75 percent of 45- to 65-year-olds prefer playing mobile games on Android devices. 

  • Most Germans play two to three mobile games at a time – especially simulation, strategy, and adventure gamers.

  • In total, 80 percent of players installing new games onto their device once or twice a week are on Android. Not just that – the majority of players who discover new games through in-app ads are also Android users.

  • The most popular gaming verticals are casual games, strategy games, and puzzle games – the latter of which is a particular favorite among female players. The favorite among men is strategy games.
infographic showing German gaming market’s preferences for mobile games

With 5G coverage set as a national priority, another thing to briefly note is Game’s push to create the right conditions for esports to thrive in the German gaming market. And it’s not just the financial and cultural impact of this category that is so significant. It’s what these gamers bring – they are, by nature, highly competitive and committed to investing a lot of time and money in these mobile games. Game has revealed that one-third of players in Germany believe mobile esports will play a more important role in future.

How Do You Monetize These Mobile Gamers?

Germany is home to Europe’s biggest app spenders, after those in the United Kingdom. These users have money to spend – but are spending less amid the rising cost of living. So, publishers will need new tricks to be lucrative in the fast-evolving German gaming market.

In total, 83 percent of Germans surveyed as part of the Mobile Gamers of Germany 2023 report choose F2P games over paid games, indicating the growing importance of monetization models with in-app purchases and advertising. In fact, over 50 percent of Germans enjoying free mobile games interact with in-app advertising. And attention, advertisers: Of the Germans playing mobile games multiple times a day, over 60 percent discover new mobile games through in-game ads.

Instead of IAPs, we’ve seen in this report that more German players are turning to rewarded ads to “purchase” their own progression in a mobile game. Those engaging with rewarded ads, according to the report, include 66 percent of female players, 63 percent of male players, and almost 75 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds. And publishers reap the rewards too. These ads drive users to spend longer in their favorite titles and return to gameplay more frequently.

pie chart showing how rewarded ads affects mobile gameplay

Add to that the potential of highly committed, engaged players in the German gaming market. Over half of the German gamers surveyed as part of the report play multiple times a day. A quarter spends more than five hours glued to gameplay per week. Leverage this and you’ve got a highly monetizable audience who engage in and invested in gameplay.

A Top Tier on an Upward Trajectory

As the cliché goes, “quality over quantity.” But what if app developers and publishers could enjoy both?

While Germany’s no China, Japan, or US, which boast a considerable share of worldwide mobile gaming revenue, the German gaming market is geared up for growth. Especially, as its government has decided to increase investments in its gaming infrastructure to around 70 million euros.

If Germany plays its part well, it will be up to global advertisers and publishers to better understand these users. To better understand what makes them tick. If they do that, they will be able to scale successfully – and smartly – in a competitive and profitable GEO. They’ll be able to suss out a winning monetization strategy based on their users’ wants and needs.

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