Mobile Games Require Nearly Twice As Much Storage Space As They Did In 2016

In every sense of the word, mobile games are bigger today than they were five years ago. They’re more popular, they’re earning more revenue – and they’re taking up a larger portion of your phone’s available storage space. In fact, the top mobile games on the App Store are 76% larger than they were in 2016, according to new research from SensorTower.

Back in 2016, the average iOS game clocked in at just 264MB. Fast forward to 2020, and that’s gone up to nearly 465MB. The trend shows no signs of slowing down, as last year alone the file size grew by a staggering 30.3% compared to 2019.

It’s worth pointing out that these numbers only account for the “file size for the initial download and therefore does not include the total storage footprint of an app plus additional content.” That means the true numbers are likely much larger than the 76% reported.

The largest game to crack the Top 100 list on the App Store was CSR Racing 2 from Zynga – clocking in at a mind-blowing 3.8GB.

These massive numbers might come as a shock, but they’re actually good news for the mobile gaming industry. As technology continues to improve and production becomes more cost-effective, smartphone manufacturers are more inclined to provide massive storage options for consumers. With more storage space at their disposal, developers are then able to create more fully-developed games – leading to console-like experiences on the small screen.

“In response to a whole raft of trends, including the expanded storage capacity, improved performance, and rising player expectations for content, game sizes have increased every year since 2016,” said Craig Chapple, mobile insights strategist at SensorTower. “This has led to more “triple-A” experiences on mobile, such as PUBG Mobile from Tencent, Call of Duty: Mobile from Activision, in collaboration with Tencent’s Timi Studios, and Genshin Impact from miHoYo, which have been able to take advantage of the steady hardware improvements over the years and all take up more than 1 GB of space.”

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Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.

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