GameRefinery released its quarterly snapshot report for Q1 2021. The report looks at the iOS market in the US, China, and Japan as a whole, including genre and publisher market share, player motivations, and shifts in market trends.

The paper breaks down market performance of different genres across the three markets.

The staple RPG genre has seen market share decline significantly in both China (- 2.68%) and Japan (- 2.56%), while Shooter games have risen in China (+ 4.2%) and Sports in Japan (+ 2.7%).

The study also points out features and mechanics trending in the three countires surveyed.

In the US, The Collectible Albums mechanic (a way for the player to see their collection of characters/items/stories/voice lines etc., in a specific place) has been utilised by 70% of the US top 100 grossing games, a 14% rise compared to last year.

In Japan, Battle Pass has been growing traction despite still being a moderately rare feature for the country. It’s mainly found in games created by Western developers, but has also been showing up in originally Japanese. Currently over 25% of Top Grossing 100 games in Japan have Battle Passes, up 11%
from last year.

In China, gacha mechanics in the top games have doubled year on year with over 30% utilisation.

The report also delves into publisher performance, player motivations dynamic, and a number of games in soft launch that represent interesting case studies. The full report is available here.