While a lot of this is completely transparent (which is a good thing) to players, whether or not you realize it, over 50% of the mobile game that are on your smartphone right now are likely built using Unity. Other development environments have seen spurts of popularity throughout the last few years, but Unity consistently has been more or less the default thing to build mobile games in for … years. Not only can you build mobile games in it, but it’s also reasonably simple to then deploy those games to practically everything you’d ever want to play a game on from an Android-powered refrigerator to the Nintendo Switch, and everything in between. “Build once, deploy anywhere," is one of Unity’s key catchphrases, which loads of developers have taken full advantage of over the years.
Unity itself has a bundle of different technologies that developers can choose to either add to their game or completely ignore. Today’s story hinges on Unity Analytics, which is their own baked-in stat package that lets developers see how long folks are playing their games, where they’re stopping, points they’re getting stuck in, and other useful data that helps them decide what areas to fix or improve in future updates (among a bazillion other uses). So, before we get into the data, realize these numbers come from the following subset: Games that use Unity, that have analytics enabled, from developers who have opted to share their data, from players in the United States. That’s four layers of filtering, which means while these numbers might seem bananas, you’re talking a small slice, of a slightly larger slice, of a slightly larger slice, of a slightly larger slice of the proverbial pepperoni pizza that makes up the entirety of the mobile gaming ecosystem.
With that being said, in the United States alone, folks spent 6,926,000,000 hours playing mobile games. That’s 415,560,000,000 minutes, or 1,496,016,000,000,000 seconds. The geographic split among cities in the united states is amusing, as home town of Chicago is apparently the king of American mobile gaming, logging in over 131 million hours in these games. In second place is Houston with 97 million hours, Los Angeles with 94 million hours, Dallas with 79 million hours, and Brooklyn with 72 million hours.
Here’s the top 20 games that Americans spent the most time in, and what’s fascinating to me about the list is how many of these games are transparently things that you’d load up on your smartphone or an old tablet and just give to a kid to keep ’em busy. Makes you wonder how many ads your typical kid playing Happy Color viewed in 2018. I’m guessing tons.
- Happy Color – Color by Number (Android) (iOS)
- Panda Pop (Android) (iOS)
- New YAHTZEE With Buddies (Android) (iOS)
- Cashman Casino (Android) (iOS)
- Pixel Art: Color by Number (Android) (iOS)
- War Robots (Android) (iOS)
- Word Crossy (Android) (iOS)
- Solitaire TriPeaks (Android) (iOS)
- FarmVille 2: Country Escape (Android) (iOS)
- Best Fiends (Android) (iOS)
- Zynga Poker (Android) (iOS)
- The Wizard of Oz: Magic Match 3 (Android) (iOS)
- Hearthstone (Android) (iOS)
- Helix Jump (Android) (iOS)
- Merge Dragons (Android) (iOS)
- SimCity BuildIt (Android) (iOS)
- Duolingo (Android) (iOS)
- Idle Miner Tycoon (Android) (iOS)
- Sims 3 Deluxe (removed from sale)
- Design Home (Android) (iOS)
Anyway, 7 billion hours is a pretty zany number, particularly when you consider what a comparatively small chunk that is compared to the global totals, across all games. With 327 million people in the US, that’s 21 hours, per person, in the US, just playing Unity games that report stats. It kind of makes you wonder what we could’ve accomplished as a society if people spent that time reading books, or doing other things that’s not playing FarmVille, but it’s not like I’m one to judge. I’m the king of wasting time.