According to a report from App Annie Research, 2021 was a record year for mobile app spending and playtime. Popular mobile games like Roblox and other hyper causal games triggered a surge in mobile video game sales during the year—sales soared 16% year-over-year in 2021 to $116.0 billion.

In 2021, 230 mobile apps and games registered annual customer spend of $100 million or more. Of these mobile apps and games, 13 reported customer spend of over $1.0 billion. This was up 20% year-over-year.

Source: Rawpixel

While mobile game spending was big in 2021, individuals are also spending on in-app stores. For the year, total mobile app store spending amounted to $170 billion, an increase of 19% year-over-year. In other words: $320,000 were spent in app stores per minute in 2021. Furthermore, new mobile app downloads grew five percent to 230 billion, or 435,000 apps downloaded per minute.

Users’ attention is there as well. Once apps and mobile games are downloaded, users are spending about 4.8 hours on them—up 30% from 2019. This is significant considering in 2021, the average American watched 3.1 hours of television each day.1

Electronic Arts, Moving Esports Teams and Video Games Away From Russia

Electronic Arts Inc. engages in the developing, marketing, publishing, and distribution of well-known games such as Battlefield, The Sims, Apex Legends, Need for Speed, and Plants vs. Zombies. It also licenses games like FIFA, Madden, NFL, UFC, NHL, Formula 1, and Star Wars.

The company recently announced that it will remove all of Russia’s esports teams from its NHL 22 hockey game and three of its FIFA football games. In a tweet, the company said that they stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and, like many voices across the world of football, the company calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine.2 This move by the game publisher comes as major U.S. companies like Apple Inc., Nike Inc. and others have boycotted Russia.

Furthermore, Electronic Arts is also halting its sales of video games in Russia and Belarus from online stores and app.3

Take-Two Interactive Software, Getting More Social with Mobile Games

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is the publisher of games like PGA TOUR 2K, NBA 2K, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), Mafia, and many others. The company has been getting attention from well-known analysts regarding its recent announcement about acquiring Zynga, a developer of social games.

Zynga provides added scale, expertise and capabilities to Take-Two Interactive’s under-utilized mobile games portfolio. In addition, the company’s internally produced games could help generate stronger earnings, while Take-Two Interactive’s GTA IV and GTA V could be released in 2024.4

HERO ETF: Diversified Investing in Video Games

Interested in a diversified approach to investing in video games? Evolve E-Gaming Index ETF (TSX Ticker: HERO) may be the right investment for you. HERO ETF gives investors access to equity securities of companies, listed domestically and globally, with business activities in the gaming industry. This ETF invests in companies involved in hardware, software and services relating to the electronic gaming industry. Learn more about this fund by clicking here.

For the latest information on investing in video games and industry updates on related investment products, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.



  1. “Two Gaming Acquisitions & The Growth of Mobile Gaming,” Evolve ETFs, February 28, 2022;
  2. Peng, I. “Electronic Arts Removes Russian Teams From FIFA, NHL Games,” BNN Bloomberg, March 2, 2022;
  3. Needleman, S.E. “Electronic Arts Stops Selling Its Videogames in Russia,” The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2022;
  4. Smith, C. “Buy Take-Two Interactive Stock, Analyst Says. There’s More Than Just the Zynga Deal to Like.” Barron’s, March 4, 2022;


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