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The mobile games with the most unused in-game currency

September 2, 2020

Mobile gaming is a huge industry. It currently represents half of the global games market, is expected to bring in over $91 billion in 2021, and is only projected to get bigger as technology advances*.

Despite these advancements in technology and the incredible revenue the industry brings in, many of the most popular games are still free to download. A large portion of profit is in fact generated through in-app purchases, with many games having their own in-game currency that can be bought in exchange for real money.

These in-game currencies can be used to customise characters, buy extra lives, special moves, reduce waiting times and more, but rather than matching the real-world value of these items, games often sell these currencies in bundles. Which can inevitably leave leftover change for some gamers, or if they get particularly fed up with a game, it can leave a lot of currency in the bank. Currency which is typically non-refundable.

To find out if gamers were actually spending all of the millions of pounds that they convert into Gold Bars, Gems and PokeCoins etc., we surveyed 2,910 members of the British public who regularly play mobile games to discover how much they are spending on in-game currency and how much they estimate goes unspent.

We discovered that the average UK mobile game playing citizen spends £61 a year on in-game purchases, while a third (32%) spend over £500 a year.

Two fifths of people (39%) who responded to our survey said that they have knowingly deleted or stopped playing mobile games despite still having paid-for in-game currency left unused on them. The main reason selected for this was simply that they got bored of the game and moved on to something else. 

Given that the average player spends £61 a year on mobile games, only 49% said that they had ever paid to download a game, opting instead for the free games. 

We discovered that from just ten of the most popular games, Brits are estimated to have over £180 million sitting unused in the form of in-game currency.

The 10 mobiles games with the most unused in-game currency

1. Candy Crush Saga – equivalent value of £26.7 million in Gold Bars

97% of those surveyed had played the game, the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £3.25 

2. Clash of Clans – equivalent value of £25.3 million in Gems

93% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £3.09

3. Pokemon Go – equivalent value of £23.5 million in PokeCoins

91% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £2.87

4. Angry Birds (all versions) – equivalent value of £21 million in Gems

94% of those surveyed had played at least one version of Angry Birds and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £2.56

5. Candy Crush Soda Saga – equivalent value of £17.2 million in Gold Bars

87% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £2.10

6. Call of Duty: Mobile – equivalent value of £15.5 million in COD Points

85% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £1.89

7. Subway Surfers -equivalent value of £15.2 million  in Coins

90%% of those surveyed had played at least one version of Angry Birds and the average amount of leftover in-game currency was £1.85

8. Fortnite – equivalent value of £12.5 million in V Bucks

92% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £1.52

9. Fruit Ninja – equivalent value of £11.9 million in Starfruit

85% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £1.45

10. World of Tanks – equivalent value of £11 million in Gold

84% of those surveyed had played the game and the average amount of leftover in-game currency per player was £1.34

Survey respondents were also asked about their mobile gaming habits, women were seen to have a slightly higher average game time per week than men; women play on average for 6.5 hours a week, while men play for 5.9 hours.

In terms of age demographics, those aged between 25-34 had the highest average game time per week of 7.3 hours, followed by people aged between 35-44 (6.4 hours)

Greg Sigel, VP – Partnerships at DOCOMO Digital said, 

“From the early days of Snake and Tetris to high definition multiplayer games with hundreds of players, mobile gaming has advanced massively over the past two decades. The fact that it now makes up half of the global games market speaks volumes for how far the industry has come.

“It is great that so many of these games are free to play and can be enjoyed by everyone. Obviously a lot of them do have the option to enjoy extra content that comes at a price, and as long as you are sensible this can still be enjoyed responsibly. I think if anything this survey will remind people of any games they may have forgotten or to at least think twice before buying that next batch of virtual gold bars!”

Methodology for estimating the unused currency

The estimated values were calculated by asking respondents how much in-game currency they believed to have had left on their account when they deleted or stopped playing each game. An average per player was then calculated and applied to two fifths of the total number of mobile players in the UK** (percentages from survey results that have deleted games with unused in-game currency) to work out how much unused currency may be residing in each game.

 *https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/newzoo-cuts-global-games-forecast-for-2018-to-134-9-billion/

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