Mobile gaming installs saw a “significant increase” of 30 per cent in Q1 2016 compared with the previous quarter, with China representing 31 per cent of the total, according to a study by games development platform company Unity.
The findings are based on the performance of games using its technology. The firm said the study covered 220,000 games, generating 4.2 billion installs across 1.7 billion unique devices in the first quarter.
China was a “powerhouse”, generating more installs than the second to fifth countries combined (US, Brazil, Russia, Japan).
The study also said Android retained its status as platform leader, representing 81 per cent of mobile game installs, while iOS followed with 17 per cent. Globally, the two most popular mobile device manufacturers were Apple and Samsung, with their devices accounting for 45 per cent of installs.
The Kitkat and Lollipop releases accounted for 73 per cent of all Android game installs. Marshmallow, the latest version of the Android OS, saw less than 1.6 per cent of global installs.
iOS isn’t as popular with gamers but “showed more consolidation” Unity said, with 72 per cent of installs occurring on devices running iOS 9.0 or later, and 90 per cent on devices running 8.0 or later.
Android has historically had a large variety of devices, but the study said the landscape is “getting even more fragmented”.
The most popular Android smartphone globally for games, Samsung’s Galaxy Grand Prime, only represents 1.7 per cent of the total.
But in terms of vendors, Samsung holds an overwhelming lead, accounting for 33.2 per cent of global Android devices, with Xiaomi (6.9 per cent) and Huawei (6 per cent) in a “distant” second and third.
Geographically, Samsung had a strong foothold in the US and Europe while Xiaomi leads the way in China.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s are the most popular devices for Apple gamers, with a combined 28 per cent of game installs.
7.9 per cent of installs occurred on the iPhone 6s, only slightly higher market share than the much older iPhone 5 (6.5 per cent) and 4S (5.1 per cent).
Some 60 per cent of all iOS game installs occurred in China, the US and Japan.
Meanwhile, Android installs show a greater geographical diversity.
The top three countries (China, United States, and Brazil) accounted for 45 per cent of total game installs, and only 64 per cent of game installs occur in the top ten countries (also including Mexico, UK, Turkey, South Korea, India).
Because of Android’s large market share, almost all countries see a majority of their game installs occurring on Android devices. Among the top 10 countries in terms of total game installs, Brazil (92 per cent) and South Korea (92 per cent) are the countries with the highest percentage of game installs on Android.
Japan had 53 per cent of game installs on iOS, the highest share of iOS installs in top 10 countries.