GameRefinery mobile game market review: September 2023

September GameRefinery Bulletin: Japan dominates with location-based AR games, global success for Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis, and Royal Match introduces enchanting ‘Magic Cauldron’ event!

GameRefinery, a Liftoff company, has released its latest analysis of the US, China, and Japan’s key mobile games markets for September 2023. GameRefinery’s analysts have hand-picked their top updates from September’s data for each country, including new releases, special events, and game updates. 

Here’s what they found:

  • Niantic’s Monster Hunter Now has consistently ranked as the most downloaded title in Japan since it launched early last month and also placed within the top 5 for revenue. It’s been no slouch in the US either, hitting the top 100 grossing ranks as the second-best performing location-based title to ever launch in the West.
  • In Japan, location-based AR games are performing exceptionally well. Overall, there are six location-based AR games ranked within the top-grossing 150 games: Monster Hunter Now, Dragon Quest Walk, Pokémon GO, Eki Memo, Pikmin Bloom, and Nobunaga no Yabou Shutsujin – a 4X strategy newcomer based on Koei Tecmo’s Nobunaga’s Ambition game series.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis has been performing well in Japan since its launch last month and has been hovering between 5 and 40 in the top-grossing ranks. The global version of the game is also off to a solid start, settling between 50 and 200 in the top-grossing ranks. The title also saw a significant spike in daily revenue following an update that added the iconic villain Sephiroth as a playable character.
  • As part of its Dark Rebirth update, Diablo Immortal added an all-new permanent MOBA side mode to the game called Alley of Blood. This single-lane MOBA works similarly to other popular titles in the genre, such as League of Legends: Wild Rift and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
  • Goddess of Victory: NIKKE launched a major collaboration event with NieR Automata, which added 23 new characters to the game. This subsequently pushed it to the top-grossing spot in Japan with a 500% increase in daily revenue.
  • State of Survival brought battle royale to the 4X strategy genre with its new Survival Royale mode, which sees 25 players duking it out to be the last one standing. The game also celebrated its fourth anniversary in September with a three-week-long event called Hopefest, which introduced a board game-inspired mode called Future Tycoon. 
  • Dream Games’ match3 title, Royal Match, introduced the “Magic Cauldron” to its weekly rotating event framework on 18 September, which tasks players with figuring out the ‘formula’ of various elixirs by placing them in the correct order to unlock various rewards. Mechanically, this works almost the same as the viral puzzle hit Wordle.

You can find more detailed information on these updates and September’s other biggest updates on the GameRefinery website at this link:

About GameRefinery, a Liftoff Company 
GameRefinery, a Liftoff Company, is the leading provider of feature-level data in the mobile games market, with an ever-growing database covering hundreds of thousands of games. GameRefinery’s customers include leading mobile games companies such as Zynga, Wargaming, King, and FunPlus. The GameRefinery platform uses unique algorithms and a team of expert analysts to help developers, investors, and publishers delve into the very building blocks of mobile games to uncover the drivers behind success, understand why games are successful, and how to achieve success from pre-production to LiveOps.