Traditional style games top the mobile gaming charts in Australia

Over the past few years, gaming has become as accepted a pastime as watching TV or reading a book. This has been mostly driven by the rise of smartphones and the fact that suddenly, practically everyone has a gaming platform in their pocket and a choice of hundreds of games, most of them free. 

It’s very different to any other period in the history of gaming, when getting involved has necessitated spending on first the gaming hardware, from PCs to consoles to handhelds, then buying games. 

So what kind of games do people like to play 2023? Australia is always an interesting market to look at for two reasons. First, Australians tend to be early adopters. The nation has been seen to lead the way in areas like smartphone adoption and cloud computing, so it offers a useful indicator of current and even coming global trends. Secondly, and specifically to gaming, developers often use the Australian market for soft release to iron out any bugs before full global release of new games. 

Bearing these points in mind, the latest statistics on game downloads for the Australian market make intriguing reading, as they show the most popular games to be highly traditional in nature.

Real money / casino style games are the top revenue generators

The top grossing game on iOS and Android is Lightning Link Casino Slots, a social casino game from Product Madness. This tells us a lot more about Australian gaming habits that is not evident from the Google Play / Apple App Store statistics.

The Australian fondness for casino games like pokies is well documented, and between 2020 and 2021, the number of Australians using online casino platforms like the ones listed at increased by a factor of about 50 percent. These types of mobile casino platforms are often accessed via browser, and even when they have native apps, they do not appear on the Google or Apple app stores in Australia for regulatory reasons. 

The fact that a social casino app tops the Apple and Google rankings in terms of gross revenue speaks volumes for what is happening behind the scenes in terms of real money online casino usage. 

Chess is the most popular free game

Casino games like pokies and blackjack have been around for years, since long before the internet came about. But when we look at the most popular free games, they are even more traditional. Chess – Play & Learn from is the top-ranked free game on Android and comes in at number three for iOS. 

The app is, of course, centered around a board game that has been around for well over 500 years. Back in the 1970s, it was one of the first games to be ported to computers, and it is a testament to the game that almost 50 years on, so much has changed in terms of the way we spend our leisure time, yet a chess app still has such universal appeal. 

The app itself provides the opportunity to play against 95 million players around the world, including the option for real-time play against friends, AI or a random opponent. There are also 500,000 set piece chess puzzles to work through, plus videos and masterclasses from some of the world’s top players.

Monopoly Go! tops the free rankings on iOS

It’s three for three as we look at the top ranked free game on iOS. Monopoly Go! is, of course, based on the ever-popular board game that was first created in the 1930s. There have been online versions of Monopoly before, but this one from Scopely checks all the boxes in terms of user interface and flexibility. 

There are dozens of boards to choose from, ranging from classics like Atlantic City or London to new inventions in fantasy landscapes. Simply set up your game, invite your friends and you are good to go. You can also play against strangers or even AI opponents if you need to make up the numbers. As well as classic Monopoly, there are a couple of shortened versions you can play, too, which are ideal if you’re worried about the game going on for hours!

Minecraft is the leading paid game

Paid games are a relatively small subset, but are vitally important to know about from an industry perspective. Here, you might expect to see the very latest top-trending RPGs or first person shooters. Although games like this appear in the top ten, they are, once again, topped by an older classic.  

Minecraft tops the pad ratings in terms of download numbers for both iOS and Android, and it does so by some margin. The original open world game, it seems to have been around forever, but was actually released in 2011 – making it relatively new compared with chess, Monopoly and casino games!

Nevertheless, 12 years is a long time in the gaming industry, and experts have devoted plenty of energy into researching just what is the magic ingredient that keeps players coming back for more. Of course, there is no single factor, but the game’s strong community is certainly key. 


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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2023