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The 2023 mobile gaming index

Mobile gaming has become a prevalent form of entertainment over the past decade. With the advent of smartphones and app stores in the 2000s and the rapid growth of mobile computing technology, it's now easier for consumers to access games that cater to various interests, skill levels, and demographics.
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A header image titled “the 2023 mobile gaming index” in white and blue text on a black background and a picture of a woman playing a game on her mobile phone sitting in a gaming chair.

Plus, the rise of 5G, higher data caps, and SIM only deals means that gamers can enjoy uninterrupted high-speed mobile internet, allowing for smoother gameplay and real-time multiplayer features, without committing to a costly contract.

But which mobile games are the most popular, and which ones should we all have downloaded to our devices?

An infographic listing the world’s most popular mobile games based on global annual Google searches. Each game is represented by its logo, with the number of searches indicated below in white text on a blue background.

First, we’ve taken a look at the most popular mobile games in 2023 when it comes to Google searches.

1. Subway Surfers - 63.64 million annual searches

In first place is the endless runner game, Subway Surfers, with over 60 million searches in the last year. Subway Surfers players take the role of young graffiti artists who run from a railway inspector and his dog, dodging oncoming trains and obstacles while collecting coins and power-ups.

Despite being released over ten years ago, it remains highly successful, likely due to its simple yet addictive mechanics. It's estimated to have been downloaded over 2 billion times, making it one of the most downloaded mobile games ever.

2. Genshin Impact - 45.68 million annual searches

Second is Genshin Impact, an action role-playing game with an open-world structure, developed and published by miHoYo.

The game features an open-world environment with action-based battle mechanics using elemental magic and character-switching. Genshin stands out among mobile games because of its high production values, making it more comparable to a traditional console game than a simple mobile one. While free to play, it uses a ‘gacha’ system, which means players can use real-world currency to obtain new characters and weapons.

3. Stumble Guys - 40.15 million annual searches

Completing the top three is Stumble Guys, with 40.15 million searches. Stumble Guys is a massively multiplayer party knockout game where players must overcome obstacles and challenges to emerge as the winner.

Taking inspiration from other games like Fall Guys and real-life gameshows, the game's chaotic nature has generated numerous viral social media clips that have helped its popularity.

RankGameGlobal Annual Google Searches
1Subway Surfers63.64m
2Genshin Impact45.68m
3Stumble Guys40.15m
4Geometry Dash31.13m
5PUBG Mobile26.08m
6Honkai: Star Rail17.61m
7Clash of Clans15.82m
8Angry Birds14.70m
9Pokémon GO14.48m
10EA Sports FC Mobile14.45m
An infographic showing Instagram’s most popular mobile games. “PUBG Mobile” ranks first with 14.3 million posts, followed by “Pokémon GO” with 13.8 million, and “Genshin Impact” with 7 million. Each game is represented by its logo, with the number of posts indicated below in white text on a blue background.


1. PUBG Mobile - 14.3 million posts

On Instagram, PUBG Mobile tops the list with over 14 million posts. PUBG Mobile is a battle royale game where 100 players parachute onto an island and fight until only one remains. It's an adaptation of the popular PC game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

Battle royale games have become very popular in recent years, with examples such as Fortnite and Call of Duty: Mobile, which places fifth on this list. Regular updates, tournaments, and live streams have created a global community for the game, which remains engaged to this day.

2. Pokémon GO - 13.8 million posts

In second is the augmented reality (AR) game Pokémon GO, which allows players to catch virtual Pokémon in the real world using their smartphones.

Tapping into the beloved Pokémon universe, this game is hugely popular with those who grew up with the Pokémon series. It also encourages players to explore their surroundings in the real world, promoting physical activity and exploration. Players often meet up in real life for events like raids and community days, adding to its popularity.

3. Genshin Impact - 7 million posts

After coming in second for searches, Genshine Impact takes third for Instagram posts, with just under 7 million. The console-level graphics are impressive for a mobile game, but it's also known for its engaging narrative and rich lore. Beyond mobile, the game is available on various other platforms, increasing its accessibility.

RankGameInstagram Posts
1PUBG Mobile14,317,870
2Pokémon GO13,798,329
3Genshin Impact6,960,310
4Clash of Clans2,753,209
5Call of Duty: Mobile2,235,434
6Clash Royale1,701,989
7Brawl Stars1,673,050
8Angry Birds1,213,697
9Fate/Grand Order947,956
10Madden NFL Mobile706,445


An infographic displaying mobile games’ popularity on TikTok. “PUBG Mobile” leads with 321 billion views, “Genshin Impact” follows with 164.9 billion, and “Clash Royale” has 81.7 billion views. Each game is represented by its logo, with the number of views indicated below in white text on a blue background.

1. PUBG Mobile - 321 billion views

Over on TikTok, PUBG Mobile is the clear winner, racking up a staggering 321 billion views. Be it a sniper shot, a close escape, or a strategic ambush, the gameplay of PUBG lends itself perfectly to TikTok’s brief content style. With millions of people playing globally, there are thousands of clips of PUBG highlights, strategies and funny moments on TikTok.

2. Genshin Impact - 164.9 billion views

In second, with just under 165 billion views, is Genshin Impact. Much of the Genshin TikTok content features its diverse cast of characters, including fan theories and appreciation videos of fan favourites. The stunning visual elements of the game also make for some spectacular clips that resonate with the aesthetic-loving TikTok audience.

3. Clash Royale - 81.7 billion views

Taking third with 81.7 billion views is Clash Royale, a real-time multiplayer game featuring characters from Clash of Clans. Players collect and upgrade cards, then pit them against opponents in strategic battles. As well as crucial moments, such as last-second wins, players often share their winning deck compositions and strategies, helping others climb the game's ranks.

RankGameTikTok Views
1PUBG Mobile321.0bn
2Genshin Impact164.9bn
3Clash Royale81.7bn
4Brawl Stars70.6bn
5Stumble Guys42.9bn
6Subway Surfers36.0bn
7EA Sports FC Mobile24.5bn
8Call of Duty: Mobile14.7bn
9Pokémon GO13.2bn
10Geometry Dash12.8bn

The highest-rated mobile games

An infographic illustrating the highest-rated mobile games by critics, featuring “Plants vs. Zombies” and “Papers, Please” tied for first place with scores of 92/100, “Spaceteam” and “Vampire Survivors” with 91/100 and “Jetpack Joyride” following with 90/100. Each game is represented by its logo, with the score indicated below as an orange bar.

With critics

1. Plants vs. Zombies & Papers, Please - both 92 out of 100

According to average critic reviews, two games are tied in first, scoring 92 out of 100. Plants vs. Zombies is a unique tower defence game with players using various plants to fend off waves of oncoming zombies.

Critics particularly rate its innovative gameplay, graphics, and catchy soundtrack. Papers, Please, a darling of the indie game scene, is a dystopian document thriller that places players in the role of an immigration officer. It's been lauded for its challenging moral decisions and unique storyline.

3. Spaceteam & Vampire Survivors - both 91 out of 100

There’s another tie for third place, with Spaceteam and Vampire Survivors scoring 91 out of 100. Spaceteam is a cooperative shouting game where players work together to repair an increasingly complex spaceship, known for its hectic gameplay, which often yields hilarious results.

Vampire Survivors is known for its engaging roguelike elements, involving players upgrading their characters and battling waves of enemies in a procedurally generated environment.

5. Jetpack Joyride - 90 out of 100

Completing the top five is Jetpack Joyride, with critics giving the game an average score of 90 out of 100. Jetpack Joyride is a side-scrolling endless runner game where the protagonist, using a jetpack, navigates a perilous laboratory. Critics praised its fluid mechanics, regular content updates, and charming visuals.

RankGameAverage Critic Score /100
1Plants vs. Zombies92
1Papers, Please92
3Vampire Survivors91
5Jetpack Joyride90
6League of Legends: Wild Rift89
6Monument Valley89
6Kingdom Rush89

With gamers

An infographic illustrating the highest-rated mobile games by users, with “Bejeweled Stars” scoring 8.8/10, “Plants vs. Zombies” at 8.7/10, and “Bit-Life - Life Simulator” and “Shadowgun Legends” at 8.6/10. Each game is represented by its logo, with the score indicated below as an orange bar.

1. Bejeweled Stars - 8.8 out of 10

Regarding user scores on Metacritic, Bejeweled Stars takes the crown with an average score of 8.8 out of 10. The Bejeweled series has been a staple in the match-three genre for years, and this iteration, with its vibrant graphics and engaging mechanics, ensures it remains a fan favourite.

2. Plants vs. Zombies - 8.7 out of 10

A game where critics and gamers are aligned is Plants vs. Zombies, with an average score of 8.7. Gamers clearly also enjoy the challenge this tower defence game offers, where plants are the last line of defence against an oncoming horde of zombies.

3. BitLife - Life Simulator & Shadowgun Legends - both 8.6 out of 10

Tied in third place are BitLife - Life Simulator & Shadowgun Legends. As the name suggests, BitLife offers a text-based life simulation where every choice affects the outcome, from birth to death. Shadowgun Legends is a first-person shooter with high-quality graphics, action-packed gameplay, and a substantial multiplayer mode.

RankGameAverage User Score /10
1Bejeweled Stars8.8
2Plants vs. Zombies8.7
3BitLife - Life Simulator8.6
3Shadowgun Legends8.6
5Papers, Please8.5
5Kingdom Rush8.5
7Wingspan: The Board Game8.4
7Rocket League Sideswipe8.4
9Vampire Survivors8.3

The most storage-intensive mobile games

An infographic showing the initial download sizes of various mobile games, with “Forsaken World: Gods and Demonds” being the largest at 4.5 GB, followed by “Tears of Themis” at 3.8 GB and “League of Legends: Wild Rift” and “Honkai: Star Rail” at 3.3 GB. Each game is represented by its logo, with the score indicated below as an orange bar.

1. Fantasian - 4.5 GB

Regarding download sizes, Fantasian comes top, with an initial download size of 4.5 GB. Fantasian is a role-playing game developed by Mistwalker, a company founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the mind behind the iconic "Final Fantasy" series.

Every scene in Fantasian has been created using handcrafted dioramas, blending physical art with digital elements to render the world. This physical craftsmanship is a primary reason for the game's larger file size.

2. Tears of Themis - 3.8 GB

Developed by miHoYo, the company behind Genshin Impact, Tears of Themis is a visual novel card game. The game weaves intricate crime stories that players must solve using evidence, interrogation, and courtroom battles. Like Fantasian, the game boasts detailed character designs and well-crafted animated sequences, contributing to its size.

3. League of Legends: Wild Rift & Honkai: Star Rail - both 3.3 GB

Tied for third place at 3.3 GB each are League of Legends: Wild Rift and Honkai: Star Rail. Wild Rift brings the intense action and strategy of the PC-based MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), League of Legends, to the mobile platform.

Another title from miHoYo, Honkai: Star Rail, is an extension of the "Honkai" universe. Set in a cosmic backdrop, it involves exploring space, visiting planets, and engaging in ship battles.

RankGameInitial Download Size
1Fantasian4.5 GB
2Tears of Themis3.8 GB
3League of Legends: Wild Rift3.3 GB
3Honkai: Star Rail3.3 GB
5Need for Speed: No Limits3.2 GB
6Asphalt 9: Legends3.1 GB
6Genshin Impact3.1 GB
8Call of Duty: Mobile2.8 GB
9PUBG Mobile2.5 GB
10Football Manager 2023 Mobile2.3 GB

The highest-grossing mobile games

An infographic showing the global revenue of mobile games, with “Honor of Kings” at the top with $1.65 billion, “Genshin Impact” at $1.25 billion, and “PUBG Mobile” at $1.12 billion. Each game is represented by its logo, with the revenue displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.


Regarding revenue, Honor of Kings sits comfortably at the top spot with $1.65 billion (£1.36 billion) in revenue. Developed by Tencent, it's an MOBA game that has taken China and, subsequently, the global market by storm. 

Genshin Impact holds the second spot. The game's immersive open-world environment and free-to-play model (with in-game purchases) contributed to its revenue of $1.25 billion (£1.03 billion). The battle royale game PUBG Mobile comes third, earning $1.12 billion (£920 million).

RankGameRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
1Honor of Kings$1.65bn£1.36bn
2Genshin Impact$1.25bn£1.03bn
3PUBG Mobile$1.12bn£920m
4Candy Crush Saga$1.00bn£821m
6Coin Master$760m£624m
7Pokemon Go$640m£526m
8Monster Strike$520m£427m
9Romance of Three Kingdoms$500m£411m
10Uma Musume Pretty Derby$490m£402m

United Kingdom

An infographic showing the UK revenue of mobile games, where “Roblox” leads with $39 million, followed by “Coin Master” at $37 million, and “Candy Crush Saga” at $34 million. Each game is represented by its logo, with the revenue displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.

Roblox tops the UK chart. This virtual world game appeals to a younger audience and has built a community-driven platform. Its revenue stands at $39 million (£32 million). Coin Master and Candy Crush Saga follow closely behind, suggesting their popularity isn't just global but specifically in the UK.

RankGameRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
2Coin Master$37.0m£30.4m
3Candy Crush Saga$34.0m£27.9m
4Royal Match$16.0m£13.1m
5Clash of Clans$13.0m£10.7m
6State of Survival$12.7m£10.4m
8Pokemon Go$12.1m£9.9m
9Evony: The King's Return$11.0m£9.0m
10Candy Crush Soda Saga$10.0m£8.2m


 An infographic showing Apple App Store revenue for mobile games, with “Honor of Kings” generating $1.65 billion, “PUBG Mobile” $936 million, and “Genshin Impact” $922 million. Each game is represented by its logo, with the revenue displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.

Honor of Kings again takes the lead on Apple devices, reinforcing its global dominance. PUBG Mobile and Genshin Impact follow, suggesting a preference for action and RPG games among iOS users.

While Candy Crush Saga and Roblox remain popular, newer entrants like Uma Musume: Pretty Derby have made a notable mark, too.

RankGameRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
1Honor of Kings$1.65bn£1.36bn
2PUBG Mobile$936m£769m
3Genshin Impact$922m£757m
4Candy Crush Saga$498m£409m
6Fantasy Westward Journey$445m£365m
7Monster Strike$367m£301m
8Pokemon Go$349m£287m
9Uma Musume: Pretty Derby$324m£266m


 An infographic showing Google Play Store revenue for mobile games, with “Coin Master” generating $521 million, “Candy Crush Saga” at $502 million, and “Lineage W” at $370 million. Each game is represented by its logo, with the revenue displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.

Coin Master, a social slot machine game, reigns supreme on Android with a revenue of $521 million (£428 million). Candy Crush Saga's consistency is evident, securing the second spot, followed by MMORPG Lineage W. Genshin Impact and Roblox completing the top 5 list on the Google Play Store.

RankGameRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
1Coin Master$521m£428m
2Candy Crush Saga$502m£412m
3Lineage W$370m£304m
4Genshin Impact$337m£277m
6Pokemon Go$321m£264m
7Lineage M$239m£196m
8Puzzles & Survival$232m£191m
9Evony: The King's Return$207m£170m
10Fate/Grand Order$206m£169m

The highest-grossing mobile game developers

An infographic showing the global revenue of mobile game developers for iOS, featuring Shenzhen Tencent Tianyou Technology Ltd at $95.5 million, NetEase Mobile Games at $61.4 million, and “Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.” at $43.5 million. Each developer is represented by its logo, with the revenue displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.


Shenzhen Tencent Tianyou Technology Ltd dominates the iPhone landscape, raking in a robust $95.5m (£78.4m). As a conglomerate, Tencent has multiple subsidiaries and holds significant stakes in many gaming companies, making their presence unsurprising.

NetEase Mobile Games is second with $61.4m (£50.5m). Both Tencent and NetEase have been significant players in the Asian market, especially China, and their popularity seems to have transitioned well globally.

Established developers like Bandai Namco, SQUARE ENIX, and KONAMI feature prominently, suggesting a blend of traditional and mobile gaming powerhouses on iPhones.

RankDeveloperRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
1Shenzhen Tencent Tianyou Technology Ltd$95.5m£78.4m
2NetEase Mobile Games$61.4m£50.5m
3Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.$43.5m£35.7m
4Tencent Mobile Games$32.0m£26.3m
5SQUARE ENIX$29.7m£24.4m
8GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.$22.2m£18.2m


An infographic listing the global highest-grossing mobile game developers for Android. King is ranked first with $50.9 million in revenue, followed by Moon Active at $48.2 million and Playrix at $35.9 million. Each developer is represented by its logo, with the income displayed in US dollars and pound sterling below as white text on a blue background.

King leads the Android revenue chart, garnering $50.9m (£41.8m). Known for their iconic Candy Crush Saga, King's success on Android underscores the game's widespread appeal.

Moon Active, creators of the popular Coin Master, are a close second, with only a slight margin separating them from King.

Playrix holds the third position on Android, highlighting the success of their various "scape" series games, such as Gardenscapes and Homescapes.

With its various popular games like Words with Friends and Roblox Corporation, Zynga also find their spot in the top five for Android.

RankDeveloperRevenue ($)Revenue (£)
2Moon Active$48.2m£39.6m
5Roblox Corporation$18.3m£15.0m
6Garena International I$18.0m£14.8m
8Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.$12.6m£10.3m
9Dream Games, Ltd.$12.4m£10.2m
10Product Madness$12.1m£10.0m

The highest-rated phones for mobile gaming

 An infographic comparing the gaming scores of various Samsung mobile devices on a scale of 0 to 10. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S22 Ultra 5G score 8.60/10, while the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and Galaxy Z Fold4 each score 8.07/10. The scores are represented by an orange bar below.

1. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra & Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G - both 8.60 out of 10

When comparing the current most popular phones in the UK on their display size, maximum internal memory and battery capacity, Samsung’s 2 flagship models are tied for first place.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra & Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G sport a large 6.8-inch display, optimal for immersive gaming experiences. They both have 12 GB of internal memory, ensuring smooth gameplay, and a robust 5000 mAh battery, ensuring gamers can enjoy extended gaming sessions.

3. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 & Fold4 - both 8.07 out of 10

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 & Fold4 tie for third place, showcasing the appeal of foldable technology in the gaming sector. While their specs closely match the Ultra series, the unique selling proposition is the foldable display, offering users an unparalleled gaming experience on a mobile device. The trade-off for this expansive screen is a slightly lower battery capacity.

RankBrandPhoneDisplay Size (in)Maximum Internal MemoryBattery Capacity (mAh)Gaming Score /10
1SamsungGalaxy S23 Ultra6.812 GB5,0008.6
1SamsungGalaxy S22 Ultra 5G6.812 GB5,0008.6
3SamsungGalaxy Z Fold57.612 GB4,4008.07
3SamsungGalaxy Z Fold47.612 GB4,4008.07
5SamsungGalaxy A23 5G6.68 GB5,0006.14
6AppleiPhone 15 Pro Max6.78 GB4,4415.97
6SamsungGalaxy S23+6.68 GB4,7005.97
8SamsungGalaxy Z Flip56.78 GB3,7004.56
8SamsungGalaxy Z Flip46.78 GB3,7004.56
8SamsungGalaxy S20 FE 20226.56 GB4,5004.56

Samsung models dominate the top ten, but one Apple model stands out. The recently released iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in sixth place, with a 6.7-inch display size, 8 GB of RAM and a 4441 mAh battery capacity.

Methodology and sources

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