In this episode, Lexi Sydow – Head of Insights at – joins Naavik co-founder Aaron Bush to discuss:

  • The launch of’s State of Mobile 2023 report.
  • The performance of various mobile gaming genres and subgenres, including what to expect this year.
  • What’s new with’s products and what the team is building next.

Lexi’s Background: [00:01:00]

[Aaron]: Can you tell us more about yourself and what you do at Data AI?

[Lexi]: I came to data AI from a bit of tenure in the marketing space, as an analyst for a while I’ve dabbled in fintech and actually in some environmental work as well and I found my way into mobile, where I’ve been for about seven years. As part of the insights team we produce reports and analyzes on the data so you just play on that all day and follow the trends and try to unpack what is happening and understand where we are going.

Brand Advertising on Games [00:09:00]

[Aaron]: I’m curious what you think about that shift in regard to the gaming industry?

[Lexi]: We actually began looking at this a few years ago, the increase in spending of brand advertising onto games. I do think that games are definitely going to be a sector we see . There's a lot of eyes there, despite the fact that consumer spending declined in games, time spent grew so we still have that huge engaged community there.

Casino Genre Growing under Games [00:15:50]

[Aaron]: Do you have any insights or thoughts into what is going on in the gaming Casino growing?

[Lexi]: Yes! Casinos certainly are an interesting sector and we see a lot of this being driven by the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In terms of downloads we see that the global figure for 2022 was about 1.5bi downloads for casinos, that’s up almost 48% year to year, the top five markets for those downloads were India, Indonesia, Brazil and Philippines. Some casino games prioritized a 2G or 3G network connection, which is an interesting tactic that people in metro cities as well as smaller towns can access and also drive that growth.

Hyper Casual Evolution [00:24:15]

[Aaron]: How do you think Hyper Casual will evolve next?

[Lexi]: I think Hyper Casual in particular benefited a lot from that pandemic boost where we had folks that were not gamers at all dabbling on that entry point to games. We are seeing a lot more nuance in the space, for example, our game IQ taxonomy have 12 different subgenres within hyper casual so it feels like for a lot of the core gameplay mechanics there’s sort of a hyper casual offshoot - action, arcade, music, shooting, sports, and so forth. 

Game Genres [00:29:40]

[Aaron]: Do you have any thoughts on which genres could perform best or worst, especially when it comes to spending in 2023?

[Lexi]: One thing I’ll call out immediately is that I was surprised once we started to look into data on, for example, creative sandbox games, they actually grew significantly in downloads and consumer spend took a pretty sizable hit - that’s something I’d be watching closely. Other areas that I could see are related to games within IPs, regardless of the genres - strong IP will help to drive adoption despite the headwinds in the UA space right now.

Decline in Battle Royales [00:33:50]

[Aaron]: Do you think extraction could be an area where the shooter genre finds renewed growth or do you think battle royale will revert and make a comeback?

[Lexi]: I think the shooter genre is particularly popular and Battle Royale was one of the big growth sectors for it on mobile, but extraction shooters could absolutely be the next wave evolution for mobile as well. One of the areas for Battle Royale that we’re seeing is party royale, like Stumble Guys. That area is proven to be extremely good at tapping on socialization, cross-platform play, and I see that as a super interesting area.