The genre of idle games grew out of “clickers”. Today it is considered a separate niche. How she lives, in her research for indie developer Andrey Chuprina told.

Andrey ChuprinaMethodology

I collected data for May 2020 on 90 projects in the idle genre. There were two conditions getting into the sample:

  • the number of downloads on iOS for a month should have been more than 10 thousand;
  • the title was supposed to be advertised in the networks in June 2020.

In other words, I was looking for relevant projects for which their publishers buy traffic (i.e., they believe that it is profitable to advertise games).

The entire list is available at this link. Perhaps it is not complete, since it was compiled on the basis of Related Apps Sensor Tower and analysis of games by well-known publishers. Game indicators were also collected using the Sensor Tower service.

After preparing the sample, I prepared four selections:

  • The last 20 games that came out in this genre (iOS);
  • Top 20 games by downloads for May 2020 (iOS);
  • top 20 games at the box office for May 2020 (iOS);
  • top 20 games with the highest revenue per install (iOS).

They are presented just below.

Explanation of the tables

Before getting acquainted with the tables / tops, it is important to give a few explanations to them:

  • Where 5k IAP revenue is indicated, 5000 downloads and below are implied.
  • Ad Revenue — advertising revenue calculated as the arithmetic mean of LTV D1 = 55% and D1 = 40% according to Marat Gilyazov‘s calculator. If the game is not a GC, the total revenue from advertising is multiplied by a factor (0.5), since there are fewer ads in projects that are not related to the GC.
  • Revenue Per Download (revenue from downloads) should be read as May Revenue Per May Download (revenue for May from downloads made in May).

The last 20 games that came out in this genre

This table clearly shows that the genre continues to be relevant. Up to 5 notable niche projects are released every month.

By the way, world leaders are also paying attention to this market, not just niche companies. Idlers are being launched today, including such major publishers as Voodoo, Gismart, Fun+ and Lion Studios.

20 latest idle releases
I also want to highlight the following:

  • the vast majority of new products use three-dimensional graphics;
  • the revenue per installation (Revenue per Download) is kept around $0.38-0.71.

Top 20 idle games by downloads (iOS, May, 2020)

Despite the fact that many idle projects belong to the hyper-casual direction, even the downloads of niche leaders rarely reach more than a million per month (recall, we are talking exclusively about the iOS platform).

Top 20 most downloaded games in the idle genre (May 2020, iOS)
It is also important to note the following:

  • to get into the top 20 most downloaded idlers on iOS, you need to generate more than 100 thousand installations per month;
  • most of the leaders in this genre now have three-dimensional graphics;
  • the leader of last year, Idle Miner Tycoon, who, by the way, has two-dimensional graphics, is only in third place at the end of May.

Top 20 idle games at the box office (iOS, May, 2020)

The situation with revenue is approximately the same as with downloads. Even top niche games rarely earn more than a million dollars a month (and this is taking into account advertising revenue).

Top 20 highest-grossing (IAP + ads) games in the idle genre (May 2020, iOS)
It is also important to note:

  • Idle Miner Tycoon, which was released in 2016, continues to be the most commercially successful game on the market;
  • however, the project today has competitors earning comparable amounts (for example, Idle Mafia);
  • 4 of the 5 highest-grossing games in the niche were released no more than a year ago;
  • to get into the box office top 20 in a niche game, it is enough to earn from $ 165 thousand per month.

Top 20 idle games with the highest revenue-to-download ratio

Here I will immediately make a reservation that the most representative metrics come from those projects whose monthly installations come from 100 thousand. And on average, successful projects in the idler niche have from $0.6 to $2 per download per month (for the already mentioned market leader — Idle Miner Tycoon — this parameter is about $ 1.41).

Top 20 games in the idle genre in terms of revenue to downloads (May 2020, iOS)
As for titles showing astronomically high revenues from one installation (up to several tens of dollars), then perhaps the whole point is that they are losing their audience and their revenue was received from an audience already attracted earlier.


I invite you to discuss the material. The table with the initial data, which contains a complete sample of 90 titles, let me remind you, here.

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