By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean mobile games have gained huge popularity in overseas markets partly on the back of the coronavirus pandemic that has confined more people to their homes, industry data showed Tuesday.
Global mobile game usage shot up 20 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with a year earlier, data from app analytics firm App Annie showed. Global app downloads also rose 15 percent on-year during the cited period.
Separate data from Nielsen showed that the average time spent gaming in the United States, France and the United Kingdom increased 45 percent, 38 percent, and 29 percent, respectively, following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Local midsized online and mobile game publisher Com2uS Corp. said revenue from its mobile game Summoners War: Sky Arena reached a record high in April.
The mobile game, rolled out in 2014, has recorded cumulative sales of more than 2 trillion won (US$1.6 billion) in 230 countries, company officials said, with more than 90 percent of sales coming from overseas.
In the U.S., the game once ranked 14th in Apple's App Store and remained among the top three in major European countries, such as France and Germany, upon release.
"There were various events and updates made in April, but an unprecedented revenue increase the month shows that the COVID-19 outbreak clearly had an impact," said a company official who asked not to be named.
KartRider Rush, a mobile racing title by major local gaming firm Nexon Co., has also gained unprecedented popularity in the North American and European markets.
The mobile title, based on Nexon's popular free-to-play KartRider on PC, reached the No. 14 spot on the Google Play Store, the company said.
The mobile game has surpassed 4.5 million downloads since its debut in early March, and the game saw its first 1 million downloads just a week after hitting the App Store.
"KartRider Rush was relatively unknown in the North American market, but we have received unexpected response mainly after the coronavirus pandemic," said a company official who asked not to be named.
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