Mobile Games Hotspot: What to Know for the Week in Gaming on the Go

Harry Potter Wizards Unite Main - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of WB Games

From Harry Potter to Pokémon, here's what's happening the world of mobile gaming.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite bowed to much fanfare over the weekend, but Niantic's follow-up to 2016's Pokemon Go failed to live up to its predecessor's performance.

While Potter generated an impressive 400,000 downloads and $300,000 in revenue within the first 24 hours of its Friday launch, the numbers pale in comparison to Pokemon Go's 7.5 million installs and $2 million in revenue over the same time frame. Wizards Unite's numbers continued to grow over the weekend, but the shadow of Pokemon Go still looms large, making for a comparatively disappointing launch weekend over which Potter brought in 3 million installs and $1.1 million in revenue, a far cry from Pokemon Go's initial 24 million downloads and $28 million in revenue.

Despite the disappointing debut, early reviews of the title have praised Niantic for bringing the world of Harry Potter to life in a creative way through its AR gameplay and engrossing imagining of J.K. Rowling's wizarding universe. However, technical issues have plagued the launch. Many players have reported a lack of interactive locations on the game's GPS-enabled map, particularly in rural areas, an issue that also affected Pokemon Go when it first went live in July 2016. Other gamers are reporting a lack of players in what should be popular areas.

Although there are additional complaints of a clear paywall, the numbers show that many of the players who download Wizards Unite are also willing to spend money to take a deeper dive into the game, generating much of the early revenue for the title.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games: 

Pokémon Masters to Tease New Gameplay

Developer DeNA will host a live stream for its upcoming Pokémon Masters game at 6 a.m. PT on Thursday that will most likely reveal new gameplay footage. Originally announced during a Pokémon presentation at the end of May, Pokémon Masters is set to bring back trainers from throughout the series, although it's currently unclear what battles will look like in this new game. A release window is set for 2019, so there's a good chance a release date will be announced during the stream. 

Tencent Set for Milestone

Analysts are predicting Tencent's mobile battle royale Game for Peace could reach $1 billion in revenue within its first year in release. Even though it has only been available to download in China for a little over a month, Game for Peace has already generated $150 million. After over a year of attempts to get PUBG Mobile approved in China for monetization, the game was ultimately dropped in favor of Game for Peace, essentially a clone of the former title without the gore and blood. 

Hearthstone Gets an Update

Blizzard Entertainment's Hearthstone will see its next major update add several new cards to players' decks. Meanwhile, two current cards will be moved to the Hall of Fame. As detailed in the developer's blog notes, this update will focus on defining class identity, a balance of sorts for existing classes. To help with these changes, the two cards being cycled out will be replaced with new ones. New cards include Siegebreaker, Gift of the Wild and Brightwing.

New Dota Release Flies Under the Radar

Overshadowed by the Harry Potter frenzy was another new release as Dota Underlords launched last Friday. While the game was also released on Steam and has already reached over 200,000 concurrent players on the PC platform, the Underlords marks Valve's first release on a mobile platform. Underlords is Valve's official take on a custom Dota 2 game mode called Auto Chess in which characters are thrown onto a map resembling a chessboard to duke it out in multiple rounds.

Check back here weekly for the Mobile Games Hotspot and the latest round up of all things mobile gaming.