Glossary
Mobile App Terminology simply explained

What Are Strategy Games?

Mobile strategy games typically consist of combat and warfare-focused gameplay. They demand deeper user commitment and incorporate battles against rival forces, balancing economy, and conquering lands.

Players are driven deeper into gameplay by connecting and teaming up with other gamers to strategically overcome the obstacles of the game together.
Key Takeaways
  • The average CPI for strategy games is relatively high compared with other gaming genres
  • Men between 20 and 35 years typically spend the most time in these games
  • Strategy games usually have a high LTV and RPI

Who Plays Strategy Games?

Based on data, mobile strategy games – classified as hardcore games – are especially popular among 20- to 35-year-old male users based in Tier 1 countries. For the majority of them, gameplay typically lasts over 30 minutes. This is significantly longer than gameplay in other gaming verticals, such as casual games.

Players attracted to this genre want to relieve stress and feel a sense of accomplishment. They seek exciting content, interesting characters and an alluring narrative, rewards, and community engagement. Whether through PvP tournaments, multiplayer gameplay, or live-chat features, the more they can work on game strategy with friends and fellow gamers the better.

young man between 20 and 35 in a beanie sat down playing strategy games with icons that he plays 30 mins and is from a tier 1 country

When looking at user acquisition for this vertical, strategy games usually have a high lifetime value (LTV) and revenue per install (RPI). However, the cost per install (CPI) for these games is significantly higher than, for example, for hypercasual games – and retention rates are lower.

What Types of Games Are There?

As with many mobile gaming verticals, this vertical can be split up into further subverticals. These include the following:

  • 4x: Players build and control an empire; they explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate in gameplay. 
  • Build & battle: Players develop bases, accumulate resources, and gather armies for battle.
  • Multiplayer battle arena (MOBA): These games involve a fight between teams of players, whereby each team tries to destroy the rival’s base.
  • Asymmetric survival: Player groups have varying goals and gameplay mechanics. One side plays the hunter; the other plays the hunted.

What Are the Best Strategy Games?

Zooming further into this gaming subcategory, we need to talk about the rising star of strategy games: 4x march battle. In this subvertical, players build cities, armies, and carry out attacks through timed marches on a map. 

Branded as one of the most monetizable mobile gaming genres, 4X march battle games saw an impressive growth in consumer spend and total time spent worldwide. Especially, in Japan and the United States.

Top-ranking games in this vertical include 

  • Evony: The King’s Return
  • Clash Royale and Clash of Clans (by Supercell)
  • Lords Mobile: Tower Defense
  • Plants vs. Zombies

How Do You Monetize Strategy Gamers?

With the total worldwide revenue for mobile strategy games projected to exceed 34 billion US dollars by 2026, this vertical leaves a lot to be desired in terms of app monetization. In China alone, over seven million US dollars are generated by this gaming vertical. However, which monetization models are the most dominant for strategy games?

An IAP-heavy gaming genre – with gamers purchasing new characters or gear to help them progress faster – strategy games bring in around 15 billion US dollars of IAP-based revenue. Meanwhile, in-app advertising is catching up at just under 9 billion US dollars. 

pie chart showing how strategy games monetize: 35% in-app advertising and 64% in-app purchase

With strategy game download numbers declining in recent months, game publishers will now be looking to acquire better-quality traffic with which they can more effectively monetize. Keeping their users engaged through long sessions, game developers will especially look to leverage any revenue they can generate with engaged ad consumption, rather than turning to in-app purchases during a time of economic uncertainty.

Conclusion

Courtesy of co-op gameplay and the need to acquire the right strategic skills and gear to progress in the game, strategy games have enjoyed a reputation of superior LTV and RPI in the gaming world. 

Yet as in-game advertising gains more traction in mobile gaming, game developers in this segment must look to see how they can sustain high engagement in their games through their various game mechanics. They must do this while also considering the integration of engaging and suitable ad formats within their monetization mix.


FAQs

What Are Strategy Games?

Mobile strategy games revolve around combat and warfare-focused gameplay. They demand deeper user commitment and longer playing times as users connect and team up with other gamers to strategically progress in the game.

Who Plays Strategy Games?

This gaming genre is especially popular among 20- to 35-year-old male users based in Tier 1 countries. For the majority of them, sessions typically last over 30 minutes.

How Do You Monetize Mobile Strategy Games?

Like other gaming verticals, in-app purchases and in-app advertising are the dominant sources of revenue for these games.


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