App Annie Index: Games – Candy Crushing The Charts A Sweet Saga

Across both iOS and Google Play, Candy Crush Saga tops the download rankings, while Puzzle & Dragons leads the revenue rankings.

 

The App Annie Games Index brings you the hottest mobile gaming properties across both the iOS App Store and Google Play. To find out what’s happening with apps outside of games, please check out our Apps Index.

In April 2013, as in the months preceding, three games continued to dominate the charts across iOS and Google Play – Clash of Clans, Puzzles & Dragons and Candy Crush Saga. The first two of these games have been near or at the top of our Index since we started the report back in October 2012, with Candy Crush Saga emerging in November – it’s interesting to see that these hit games have been able to maintain and retain their audiences while monetizing them at a remarkable rate.

In the publisher charts, there were a few companies that made significant inroads up the Index rankings in April – Ninjafish, Gameloft, SEGA, Orangenose Studios, King and COLOPL among the gainers. In the app charts, games like Sonic Dash, Hardest Game Ever 2, Toy Truck Rally 3D and MANUGANU were the biggest movers. Action and Arcade games continued to dominate game downloads, while Casual, Puzzle and Simulation games made up a good chunk of the top grossing games.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS April 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs March 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Electronic Arts - United States 907
2 Ninjafish Studios 15 United States 35
3 King - United Kingdom 2
4 Gameloft 5 France 258
5 SEGA 18 Japan 104
6 Rovio 4 Finland 29
7 Halfbrick Studios 13 Australia 15
8 LOTUM 3 Germany 16
9 Orangenose Studios 189 Taiwan 8
10 LINE N/A* Japan 86
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* As mentioned in last month’s Index, NHN has split its subsidiary NHN Japan, which developed hit messaging app LINE, into LINE Corporation and NHN Japan Corporation. Starting with this April 2013 App Annie Index, LINE and NHN Japan have now been removed from NHN publisher totals, and all three publishers are being reported separately. NAVER Japan numbers are being reported under the publisher LINE. As a result, rank change vs. March 2013 is not available for these three publishers.

Electronic Arts maintained its number one spot for the third month in a row, while King kept its number three ranking from March 2013 based on the strength of its two games. Elsewhere in the chart, however, were notable shifts in the publisher rankings, due to a combination of new game releases and price promotions:

  • Ninjafish Studios shot up to second place, driven by the successful launches of children’s games Dentist Office, Wedding Day Makeover, and Movie Star Makeover, as well as strong growth for Princess Makeover.
  • Gameloft moved up five spots to take the number four ranking, driven by newly-released Action game sequels Iron Man 3 and Dungeon Hunter 4.
  • SEGA rounded out the top five with an 18-spot increase. The Japanese company benefited from the growth of Sonic Dash, which changed from a paid app to a free app at the beginning of the month.
  • Australian company Halfbrick Studios moved into the top ten as downloads spiked for its classic Fruit Ninja and Fruit Ninja HD games. The two apps, normally priced at $0.99 and $2.99, were available for free for part of April.
  • Orangenose Studios was the biggest mover in this month’s rankings. In late March, the publisher released Hardest Game Ever 2, which subsequently earned the publisher a top 10 ranking in April.

As footnoted in the table above, LINE is being reported on its own in the Index now. The publisher rounded out the top 10 as its current assortment of games continued to perform well and as it successfully introduced a new match-3 puzzle game called LINE JELLY – a format that certainly has been working well elsewhere in the app store. While LINE’s iOS games were generally strongest in Japan, they also drew audiences in Thailand, China, and Taiwan.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play April 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs March 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Rovio - Finland 14
2 Electronic Arts 1 United States 116
3 Imangi Studios 1 United States 2
4 LINE N/A* Japan 79
5 King 4 United Kingdom 2
6 Halfbrick Studios - Australia 7
7 Fingersoft 3 Finland 9
8 LOTUM 1 Germany 18
9 Kiloo 1 Denmark 2
10 Gameloft 1 France 69
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Please see the NHN footnote listed with the first table in this Index.

The Google Play publisher rankings were overall more stable than the iOS publisher rankings. King was the biggest mover with a four-spot increase to take the number five position. The company’s cross-platform success across the iOS App Store, Google Play, and Facebook has now enabled it to reach over 70MM total daily players.

It’s interesting to note that in April, six of these top 10 Google Play publishers were European – a list that was the least dominated by United States and Asian publishers.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS April 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs March 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 2
2 GungHo Online - Japan 9
3 King 1 United Kingdom 2
4 Electronic Arts 1 United States 907
5 GREE - Japan 115
6 Kabam - United States 10
7 DeNA 1 Japan 145
8 Storm8 1 United States 39
9 Gameloft - France 258
10 Zynga - United States 62
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The publisher rankings in April were very similar to those in March, as there were not significant changes in the top-grossing iOS game apps.

Supercell and GungHo Online ranked at the top of the charts for yet another month. While Supercell has been impressive because of its widespread appeal and success in reaching the top of the charts in numerous countries around the world with two big hits, GungHo Online has been impressive for the exact opposite reason. The vast majority of its recent revenue has come from a single game, Puzzle and Dragons, with most of the game’s revenue coming from one country, Japan.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play April 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs March 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 GungHo Online - Japan 10
2 WeMade 1 South Korea 18
3 CJ E&M 1 South Korea 27
4 LINE N/A* Japan 79
5 DeNA - Japan 193
6 GREE 2 Japan 130
7 COLOPL 4 Japan 67
8 Electronic Arts 2 United States 116
9 King 2 United Kingdom 2
10 NHN N/A* South Korea 56
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

  * Please see the NHN footnote listed with the first table in this Index.

Japanese and South Korean publishers continued to dominate Google Play revenue in April 2013. Western publishers Electronics Arts and King remained the exceptions.

With LINE and NHN now being reported as separate publishers in the App Annie Index, we saw LINE coming in at #4 with offerings such as match-3 puzzle games LINE POP and LINE Bubble! and endless running game LINE WIND runner. Meanwhile, NHN rounded out the top ten with games such as 피쉬프렌즈 (Fish Friends) for Kakao and 우파루마운틴 (Wooparoo Mountain) for Kakao.

COLOPL rose up four spots with growth across multiple games, particularly プロ野球PRIDE (Professional Baseball Pride), 秘宝探偵 (Treasure Detective), and クイズRPG 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ ((Quiz RPG) Magician and Black Cat Wiz). The last of those three games resembles Puzzle & Dragons in that the player must answer quizzes in order to attack the monsters.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS April 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs March 2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subategory
1 Candy Crush Saga ® - King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
2 Sonic Dash 32 SEGA Japan Action, Arcade
3 Injustice: Gods Among Us N/A* Warner Bros. United States Action, Card
4 Dentist Office N/A* Ninjafish Studios United States Education, Kids
5 Hardest Game Ever 2 302 Orangenose Studios Taiwan Action, Arcade
6 Real Racing 3 4 Electronic Arts United States Action, Racing
7 Iron Man 3 – The
Official Game
N/A* Gameloft France Action, Arcade
8 Draw Rider N/A* Anton Vazhinsky Russia Action, Racing
9 Real Basketball N/A* Mobil Interaktif Turkey Sport, Arcade
10 Fruit Ninja 421 Halfbrick Studios Australia Action, Arcade
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* The following games were released in April 2013, so they had no Rank Change vs. March 2013: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Dentist Office, Iron Man 3, Draw Rider, Real Basketball.

As was the case in March 2013, the top-ranking games in April were mostly Arcade and Action games. Candy Crush Saga captured the top spot again, while Real Racing 3 continued to perform well and remained in the top ten for another month. Over the past few months, the top 10 downloaded iOS games have typically included a couple of new games that debuted near the top of the charts. This month, however, quite a few games were launched in April and shot up quickly to the top:

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us from Warner Bros. ranked third. Its launch on the iOS App Store preceded its release on video game console platforms by a couple weeks. Injustice had a successful launch across both platforms; among physical video games sold at brick-and-mortar stores, it ranked as the top-selling title in April. Note that while console games previously represented a dominant portion of the portable gaming market, mobile game apps have been gaining in share. As shown in the recent App Annie – IDC Portable Gaming report, consumer spending on iOS games has eclipsed that of handheld video games as of Q1 2013.
  • Iron Man 3 debuted at number seven with a different take on the endless runner genre. This game’s launch also was accompanied by iTunes Home Page features across over one hundred countries for one week. Iron Man 3 represented an example of how mobile apps are being leveraged for cross-channel promotion. Published by French company Gameloft, this game was launched in between the Paris and United States premieres of the Iron Man 3 superhero movie.
  • Coming in at #4 was Dentist Office, published by Ninjafish Studios, which offers a number of other children’s “make-pretend” games.
  • Debuting at number eight was Anton Vazhinsky’s Draw Rider game, in which the player drives a bicycle along an obstacle course. This game showed that independent developers still can have a big launch. Additionally, the app served as a reminder that Russian developers are having quite a bit of success focusing on international audiences.
  • Real Basketball by Turkish publisher Mobil Interaktif demonstrated the international appeal of virtual basketball with its debut in the top ten. It was featured on the iTunes Home Page for a good portion of April across over a dozen Asian countries, during which time its rankings rose.

 

A couple of games that were launched in March subsequently broke into the top 10 in April:

  • Endless running game Sonic Dash from SEGA rose up to second place. Its price steadily dropped from $2.59 to $1.99 to $0.99 during March; it then became free on April 1.
  • Reaction time game Hardest Game Ever 2 from Taiwanese publisher Orangenose Studios scored a top 5 ranking in April with its strength in China.

While most of the top-ranking games were relatively new, Fruit Ninja was the exception, as this classic was released three years ago. Coming in at number 10 in April 2013, this game reflected a couple of trends that we have seen in past App Annie Index reports. Its spike in the rankings coincided with a price change from $0.99 to free on April 11, as well as broad feature placement on the iOS App Store Home Page across over 150 countries from April 12 to 17.  

Iron Man 3 game was launched to coincide with the premiere of the movie

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsGoogle Play April 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs March 2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga 2 King United Kingdom Casual
2 Subway Surfers - Kiloo Denmark Arcade & Action
3 Temple Run 2 2 Imangi Studios United States Arcade & Action
4 Toy Truck Rally 3D 288 3dinteger N/A Racing
5 Fruit Ninja Free 1 Halfbrick Studios Australia Arcade & Action
6 Angry Birds 1 Rovio Mobile Finland Arcade & Action
7 Hill Climb Racing 4 Fingersoft Finland Racing
8 Doodle Jump 34 Lima Sky United States Arcade & Action
9 Pou 1 Zakeh Lebanon Casual
10 MANUGANU 1000+ Alper Sarıkaya Turkey Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Similar to what we saw in the iOS App Store, the Google Play top 10 rankings in April were dominated by Arcade & Action games, as they have been the last few months. These top-downloaded apps also continued to come primarily from publishers headquartered outside of Asia.

In this month’s rankings, Candy Crush Saga moved up two spots to take the number one position, partly from its notable growth in downloads in Taiwan. Candy Crush Saga now owns the top-downloaded spot across both the iOS App Store and Google Play platforms.

Newer games that were released in March 2013 and rose into the top 10 in April included 3dinteger's Toy Truck Rally 3D, Lima Sky's Doodle Jump, and MANUGANU by Turkish publisher Alper Sankay. MANUGANU’s rise in the rankings coincided with its being featured on the Google Play Home Page as a Staff Pick from April 6 to 18 across over forty countries.

 

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS April 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs March 2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 Puzzle & Dragons - GungHo Online Japan Puzzle, Role Playing
2 Clash of Clans - Supercell Finland Action, Strategy
3 Candy Crush Saga ® - King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
4 Hay Day - Supercell Finland Family, Simulation
5 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out - Electronic Arts United States Adventure, Simulation
6 Kingdoms of Camelot:
Battle for the North
- Kabam United States Simulation, Strategy
7 Injustice:
Gods Among Us
N/A* Warner Bros. United States Action, Card
8 MARVEL War of Heroes 5 DeNA Japan Card
9 Minecraft – Pocket Edition 1 Mojang Sweden Adventure, Simulation
10 The Hobbit: Kingdoms
of Middle-earth
1 Kabam United States Simulation, Strategy
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Injustice: Gods Among Us was released in April 2013, so it had no Rank Change vs. March 2013.

The highest-grossing iOS games have had a lock on the app store this year, as the top 5 have remained the same for each month from January through April 2013. Now #6 has remained the same since March as well. Puzzle & Dragons continued its run at the top for another month.

At the end of April, its publisher GungHo Online announced that the smash hit game had achieved 13MM cumulative downloads across the app stores. In terms of revenue, GungHo Online indicated that mobile games contributed 94% of its total Q1 2013 revenue. Given that the publisher brought in about $119MM in revenue in the month of April 2013, one can get an idea of the magnitude of Puzzle & Dragons’ success, given that it is their main successful mobile game. CEO Kazuki Morishita said to App Annie:

“While we don't comment about our revenues, we are excited to see so many consumers engaged with "Puzzle & Dragons" all over the world. We've leveraged our experience in the online gaming space to make what we call "online games for smartphones" as a native application. And clearly, these kinds of games are receiving widespread and mainstream acceptance from gamers worldwide. We'll just continue to focus on making fun games in the future.”

Meanwhile, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga maintained their #2 and #3 rankings, though Candy Crush Saga has started to challenge Clash of Clans and has surpassed it in some large markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom. The two games that were new to the top 10 this month were both comics-inspired:

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us from Warner Bros. ranked #7 by revenue. This fighting game pits DC Comics characters ranging from Batman to the Green Lantern against one another. It uses the standard energy monetization mechanism. The game also successfully utilizes collectible card game (CCG) aspects, as players can buy particular characters or purchase different packs that feature key characters and power-up items.
  • MARVEL War of Heroes jumped five spots to take the number eight ranking, with its continued strength in the English-speaking countries of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Minecraft continued its run in the top 10. Priced at $6.99, the cult favorite is unique in that it is the only paid app in this list. Kabam’s The Hobbit also remained in the top 10. In addition to Supercell, Kabam was the only other publisher that scored two games in the top 10.  

Injustice: Gods Among Us debuted in top 10 by both downloads and revenue

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueGoogle Play April 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs March 2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 パズル&ドラゴンズ
(Puzzle & Dragons)
- GungHoOnline Japan Brain & Puzzle
2 윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao - WeMade South Korea Arcade & Action
3 Candy Crush Saga 1 King United Kingdom Casual
4 다함께 차차차
(Everybody Cha Cha Cha) for Kakao
1 CJ E&M South Korea Casual
5 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out 1 Electronic Arts United States Casual
6 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao N/A* Devsisters South Korea Casual
7 헬로히어로 (Hello Hero) for Kakao 4 Fincon South Korea Casual
8 Blood Brothers (RPG) 1 DeNA Japan Arcade & Action
9 LINE POP 1 LINE Japan Brain & Puzzle
10 LINE Bubble! 6 LINE Japan Brain & Puzzle
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Cookie Run for Kakao was released in April 2013, so it had no Rank Change vs. March 2013.

Similar to recent months, April’s top-grossing Google Play games mostly continued to come from publishers in Japan and South Korea, with games for the latter being distributed on the Kakao platform. And as before, the top games were mostly Casual games, along with some Brain & Puzzle and Arcade & Action games. Most of the hit games were relatively new, having been available in Google Play for half a year at most; the only exceptions were Blood Brothers (RPG) and Puzzle & Dragons, both released prior to October 2012.

At the top of the chart, Puzzle & Dragons and Windrunner for Kakao maintained their positions from the previous month. Remarkably, Puzzle & Dragons has been the #1 grossing Google Play app in Japan each day since October 11, 2012. Candy Crush Saga continued its steady march upwards, taking the number three spot in April. Back in late February, publisher King announced that it would be bringing the hit game to the key Asian markets of Japan and South Korea.

While Candy Crush Saga grew its revenue across a number of countries in April, revenue has started to rise in the country of Japan in particular. While most of the top-ranking games in April already had made the top 10 in March, three were new to the top 10 in April:

  • Cookie Run for Kakao, at number six, was the sole game to debut in these top 10 rankings. Publisher Devsisters explained to App Annie the reason for the game’s success:

    "Cookie Run for Kakao is hot property and we're excited to see it hit the top 10 in Google Play for revenues for April. This successful property has a long history. Since its inception in 2009 when Devsisters launched OvenBreak on the App Store, the core concept has been continually updated and refined, resulting in the high-quality and carefully designed casual game that is Cookie Run for Kakao," said Jihoon Lee, Producer and Founder of Devsisters. "With an eye towards our target user, we carefully crafted Cookie Run world, which has inspired a vibrant fan culture. Gameplay was developed to engage users through a mixture of competition and social engagement, and finally, we created a wide variety of virtual goods that are carefully woven into the storyline to encourage monetization of the user experience. We've seen extremely positive response in Korea, and plan to bring Cookie Run to gamers outside of Korea too. These hot little cookies just can't be stopped!"

  • Fincon's Hello Hero for Kakao moved up four spots to take the the number seven position and was the fourth Kakao-based game in this month's rankings.
  • LINE Bubble! floated up six spots. Together with LINE POP, this gave publisher LINE two match-3 puzzle games in the top 10 this month.

 

Cookie Run for Kakao debuted in top 10

For those of you who also are looking for an update on apps other than games, please check out the Apps Index.  

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  Notes:

  • While the Games Index covers games, the Apps Index covers everything but games. Note that the Top Publishers rankings in the Games Index are based solely on games downloads and revenue, while the Top Publishers rankings in the Apps Index are based on the publishers’ non-games downloads and revenue.
  • In the iOS App Store, an app can be categorized under a Primary Category as well as an optional Secondary Category. If an app has a Primary Category of Games and a Secondary Category of Entertainment, it is a candidate to be included in this Games Index. If the app’s Primary Category is Entertainment and its Secondary Category is Games, then it will not be included in this Games Index; it is a candidate for the Apps Index.
  • Note that the ranking approach used in the App Annie Index differs from that used in the iOS App Store. In the latter, app rankings for a given category will include all apps whose Primary Category or Secondary Category matches that given category. So an app can appear in the rankings for more than one category within the iOS App Store or in App Annie Store Stats rankings.
  • In Google Play, an app can be categorized under only one category, so there is no double-categorization.
  • Occasionally, a publisher may decide to shift an existing app from one category to another category. In these cases, the App Annie Index will rank that app based on its categorization in the subsequent month. Given that the App Annie Index now has a Games report and an Apps report, the only scenario where an app’s recategorization could shift it from one Index to another is if its category changes from Games to a category other than Games or vice versa.
  • All publishers have been grouped together under their parent publishers, where available. For example, the publisher Mobage is included under the parent publisher DeNA.
  • Any non-App Annie trademarks or images used in this report are the property of their respective owners. App Annie claims no rights in those trademarks.

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