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PUBG Mobile Surges Past $1.5 Billion in Gross Revenue

2019 user spending accounts for 88 percent of lifetime revenue, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows.

PUBG Mobile hits $1.5 billion in gross revenue

Battle royale sensation PUBG Mobile has posted a blockbuster 2019 to power lifetime gross revenue past $1.5 billion, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates reveal.

The Tencent-developed title has generated more than $1.3 billion, or approximately 88 percent of its lifetime player spending, so far this year. This is in large part thanks to its relaunch as Game for Peace in China this past fall, where it has accumulated $614 million to date on that country's App Store. (Sensor Tower does not provide app revenue or download estimates for third-party Android stores.)

China's Version Tops Spending, But Growth Is Global

While China has been a key market for the title, representing close to 46 percent of revenue in 2019, the successful implementation of battle pass monetization in June 2018 has also spurred a sequential increase in global spending every quarter this year, peaking at $496 million in Q3 2019.

PUBG Mobile Gross Revenue by Quarter

Chinese player spending leads the way for the title's lifetime revenue, despite Game for Peace only launching there in May 2019. The $614 million the game has generated in the country accounts for about 40 percent of all spending to date. The United States, meanwhile, has contributed $293 million, or about 20 percent of all revenue, while Japan ranks No. 3 with $117 million, or roughly 8 percent.

Apple's App Store has taken in the majority of revenue, accounting for approximately $1.08 billion, or about 72 percent of all player spending. Google Play has generated $438 million in gross revenue, or close to 28 percent.

India Accounts for Most Installs

To date, PUBG Mobile has racked up nearly 555 million user downloads worldwide (one install per Apple ID or Google account). India leads the way for these, picking up more than 116 million, or 21 percent of all downloads. China came in second with 108 million downloads from the App Store alone, or 19 percent, and the U.S. was No. 3 with 42 million installs, or nearly 8 percent.

Google Play was the main driver of downloads, generating 334 million installs, or about 60 percent. The App Store, meanwhile, accumulated 220 million downloads, or the remaining 40 percent.

To put the above figures in context, Tencent's battle royale is now the biggest shooter on mobile. One of its key rivals, Fortnite from Epic Games, has made $838 million to date from just the App Store, while Knives Out from NetEase has picked up approximately $915 million in lifetime revenue across iOS and Google Play.

Another recent Tencent launch, Call of Duty Mobile, has generated $95 million since its global release at the start of October.

At the close of 2019, PUBG Mobile represents one of the year's most profound mobile gaming success stories, with the title coming from behind to capture the battle royale crown. Tencent appears to have more than successfully rebuilt its game's monetization mechanisms from its earliest days and, in the process, has set an example for how season-based live operation for the genre should be run on mobile. As 2020 dawns, we see no signs of the title's momentum slowing.

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Craig Chapple

Written by: Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA

Date: December 2019