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Mobile Gamers Now Prefer Ad-Supported Games Over Pay-to-Play Games, According to Tapjoy's Modern Mobile Gamer 2022 Report

New market research shows that parents are the most likely group to play multiple times a day and make in-app purchases

SAN FRANCISCO — March 10, 2022 — The latest Modern Mobile Gamer® report from Tapjoy (, a leading mobile advertising and app monetization company, shows how attitudes towards mobile gaming, in-app advertising, and in-app purchases have evolved over the last five years. Whereas just 21% of mobile gamers said they favored ad-supported mobile games in Tapjoy’s 2017 survey, 50% of today’s mobile gamers say they prefer the ad-supported model over pay-to-play games or those based primarily on in-app purchases, an increase of 138%.
Utilizing market research from Tapjoy’s MobileVoice® survey platform and data from 9,352 respondents across five surveys, the Modern Mobile Gamer®: Game Dev Edition contains comprehensive data and analysis about the current state of mobile gaming and how preferences vary by age group and other factors. 

Here are just a few of the insights that emerged:

  • Mobile gamers play 10+ hours a week, on average. In fact, 57% say they play more mobile games than they did five years ago, with the biggest increase being among parents (68%).

  • Nearly half (49%) of all respondents say they play mobile games multiple times a day. Parents (58%), Gen X (54%), and women (52%) are the most likely to play at this frequency.
  • Puzzle is now the top mobile game genre among all age groups, with 55% of respondents calling it their favorite. This is a drastic change from 2021, when Action/Adventure was the most popular mobile genre; now Action/Adventure, Strategy, and Simulation are tied for second place with 33%.
  • 60% of respondents discover new mobile games via ads in other games, making it by far the most popular way to discover new apps. Additionally, 39% will try new mobile games if their friends are playing it, and 33% find new games via app store recommendations.
  • Rewarded video ads remain the top ad type among mobile gamers (preferred by 53% of players), while support for other ad types is growing; Survey ads have increased in popularity from 8% in 2017 to 17% in 2022) and Playables increased from 9% in 2017 to 16% in 2022.
  • When it comes to data privacy, 43% of mobile gamers say they are open to app tracking, citing trust in the app developer as the top reason for opt-in. Meanwhile 39% say they never opt into data tracking on iOS, and the remaining 18% were not sure. 
  • Mobile gamers are happily engaging with Multi-Reward CPE offers, which Tapjoy introduced in 2020. Of those surveyed, 64% are fans of the progress bar that lets them see how close they are to earning rewards.

“Just in time for GDC, we’re thrilled to release the latest game developer and UA-focused Modern Mobile Gamer® report. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Modern Mobile Gamer®, and to celebrate, we’re examining how mobile habits have changed in that time while also looking to the future,” said Lauren Baca, Senior Director of Marketing at Tapjoy. “We’ve found that most mobile gamers are playing every day, often multiple times a day, sometimes switching among four or more favorites. They also discover new games from ads and, in general, are much more receptive to ads in mobile games than they were five years ago.”

Curated with mobile game developers and UA marketers in mind, the data in Modern Mobile Gamer®: Game Dev Edition was gathered from surveys run on the Tapjoy network in February 2022. Responses were filtered to only include responses from those ages 18 and older.

To download the complete report, visit

About Tapjoy

Tapjoy is a leading mobile advertising and app monetization company. Tapjoy’s platform empowers advertisers to connect with app users through value exchange advertising that drives awareness, engagement, and the metrics that matter most to their overall growth. Top global app publishers trust our platform to monetize their content, grow their audiences, and reward their users. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in San Francisco, Tapjoy is a global organization with offices in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul. In 2021, Tapjoy was acquired by ironSource, a leading business platform for the App Economy. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:
Matt McAllister
Fluid Group