PUBG Mobile Just Had Its Best Month Ever as Players Stay Indoors

A quarter of a billion in a month ain't bad.

Figures are in for the top 20 mobile games of March 2020, and PUBG Mobile has topped the charts yet again. Although it has gained additional ground on the Google Play market, its the game’s staying power on the Apple App Store that continues to propel it to the top spot on the overall chart. It was the best month for the game thus far, beating a record set just one month prior.

The data comes courtesy of Sensor Tower and its Store Intelligence platform. According to the aggregator, PUBG Mobile retained its first-place revenue spot on the App Store in the month of March and moved up to seventh place on the Google Play store, beating out monoliths like Pokemon GO and Candy Crush Saga. User spending topped a massive $232 million in that month alone, tripling that of the same time last year. The game’s second anniversary celebrations are noted as a possible contributing factor to the result, with lockdown restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic likely also playing a major part.

PUBG Mobile March 2020 revenue

It’s worth noting that beating out Pokemon GO on the Google Play store wasn’t wholly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, though. Steps taken by its developer Niantic during worldwide lockdowns actually resulted in the creature collecting game’s best month of the year so far, suggesting the stay-at-home rule imposed around the world wasn’t having a major impact on revenue numbers. But the game’s omission on Sensor Tower’s App Store and Overall Revenue charts suggests PUBG Mobile’s worldwide revenue stream still far exceeds that of Niantic’s biggest title.

Sensor Tower notes that the majority of PUBG Mobile’s revenue came from China, where it’s more commonly known as Game of Peace or Peacekeeper Elite following drastic re-localization efforts last year. The country accounted for around 61% of the March 2020 result, with the United States and Japan following with just an 11 and 3.6 percent share respectively.

Niko Partners’ China Games Streaming Tracker provides another insightful look into PUBG Mobile’s reach in the region. As streaming goes, Tencent’s mobile battle royale came in 4th place in the March 2020 charts. 16,527 streamers broadcast the title for a grand total of 283,000 hours beating out games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Teamfight Tactics, and World of Warcraft. Its closest competitor was the 2005 MMORPG Dungeon Fighter Online.

What’s interesting here is that two slots above PUBG Mobile is the full-fat release of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. According to Niko Partners, the PC version of PUBG is extremely popular in China, with around 20 million units sold through Steam. Its lead over PUBG Mobile appears to be due to the longer average streaming hours of PC games over mobile. While PUBG only had around 17% more unique streamers in the month, the longer average streamed hours on PC contributed to viewers donating nearly twice as much to their favorite streamers.

PC continues to be the most popular platform over there, but with the top spot held by mobile MOBA Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings with a massive 3x lead in unique streamers over PUBG, it’s clear the accessibility of smartphones as a platform contributes to the visibility of these games.

Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also runs Tencent Games, developer and publisher of PUBG Mobile. Tencent also subsidizes much of Fanbyte’s PUBG Mobile coverage by covering freelancer budget costs. Those covering PUBG Mobile for the site have no contact with Tencent, however, and are given complete creative control to write whatever they wish.