App Annie Index: Games – Angry Birds Go! Races to the Top

App Annie Index Games Banner December 2013Racing games flew into the top ranks in December.

The App Annie Games Index brings you the hottest mobile gaming properties across both the iOS App Store and Google Play based on market data from App Annie Intelligence.  To find out what’s happening with apps outside of games, please check out our December 2013 Apps Index.

Angry Birds Go Free

The December release of Angry Birds Go! saw a change of strategy for Rovio as they moved their Angry Birds franchise from a paid to a freemium model on iOS. Angry Birds Go! shot straight to the #1 position for December iOS game downloads, and time will tell if this translates to revenue success for Rovio. The publisher also dropped the purchase fee for Angry Birds Star Wars II temporarily in December, resulting in an immediate boost to download numbers and a very successful month for Rovio. 

King Turns to Television Commercials

King released a series of television commercials that helped the publisher make the most of the bumper holiday season for apps. The first was a commercial for Candy Crush Saga in Japan, after which the game rose from outside the top 100 ranks to the #1 game by iOS downloads in Japan only a few days later. This was followed by several commercials in the United States as King took the top spot for game publishers by worldwide Google Play downloads in December.

Top Games of 2013 Return

As ‘Best of 2013’ lists filled the app headlines in December, a number of apps successful throughout the year returned to the top positions in December. Notable examples included Minecraft – Pocket Edition returning to the Top 10 iOS games by monthly revenue and Subway Surfers returning to the Top 10 for iOS game downloads.

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Electronic Arts 1 United States 821
2 Rovio 8 Finland 39
3 Gameloft 2 France 217
4 Disney - United States 417
5 Storm8 6* United States 55
6 Tencent 3 China 149
7 King - United Kingdom 7
8 NaturalMotion 1 United Kingdom 11
9 Time Warner 7 United States 525
10 Glu 2 United States 105
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Rank change from November to December 2013 is approximate due to publisher attribution updates.

Rovio made headlines this month with the high-profile release of the next game in the Angry Birds franchise – Angry Birds Go! The kart racing game propelled Rovio up the charts this month, and also marked a significant shift for the Angry Birds franchise. Previously, full Angry Birds games were paid titles in the iOS App Store, with more limited free versions available. However, Angry Birds Go! was released as a full free to play game with in-app purchases, and went straight to the #1 position for iOS game downloads.

Time Warner also benefited from the release of a new title this month as LEGO® Star Wars™: The Complete Saga hit the iOS App Store in the first half of December. The title is a remake of the console game released in 2007, and proved that it could be a hit on mobile too, reaching the top ranks in a number of countries. LEGO® Star Wars™: The Complete Saga makes use of a freemium business model, offering Episode I for free and Episodes II–VI as in-app purchases. Time Warner also gave their paid games a boost in December, lowering the price of 12 titles to $0.99 for a limited holiday period.

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 King 3 United Kingdom 6
2 Rovio 3 Finland 21
3 Gameloft 1 France 86
4 Electronic Arts 1 United States 145
5 Tiny Piece 4 China 105
6 Disney - United States 134
7 Kiloo 1 Denmark 2
8 Doodle Mobile 1 China 36
9 Imangi 1 United States 2
10 Zakeh 1 Lebanon 1
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Two heavyweights of 2013 mobile gaming returned to the top of the Google Play publisher ranks in December, with King and Rovio taking the top spots.  While Rovio capitalized on the holiday season with the release of Angry Birds Go!, King took a different approach, embarking on an extensive television advertising campaign. This started in Japan with a Candy Crush Saga commercial, followed by an extensive campaign for their range of games in the United States. The advertising seems to have paid off – in addition to the continued success of Candy Crush Saga, King received a substantial boost to their download rank in December from Papa Pear Saga. The pachinko-style game received its worldwide release in November, and has now made the successful transition from Facebook hit to mobile hit. With Farm Heroes Saga recently released in January 2014, the publisher is primed to continue with the massive success they found throughout 2013.

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 3
2 King - United Kingdom 7
3 GungHo Online - Japan 46
4 Electronic Arts - United States 821
5 Tencent 2 China 149
6 GREE 1 Japan 99
7 Machine Zone 1 United States 10
8 Gameloft - France 217
9 Kabam 1 United States 14
10 Storm8 1 United States 55
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Tencent featured in the November Games Index after successfully monetizing games that earlier brought them into the top publisher ranks. In December, they revealed even more of their potential, climbing into the top five publishers by iOS Games revenue. Tencent’s success was helped considerably by the release of Role Playing game 全民英雄 (QHero) in late November. The game achieved almost instant success in monetizing downloads, something not commonly seen in the app stores.

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 GungHo Online - Japan 39
2 King 1 United Kingdom 6
3 CJ Group 1 South Korea 165
4 LINE - Japan 100
5 Supercell 1 Finland 2
6 COLOPL 1 Japan 144
7 Electronic Arts 2 United States 145
8 GREE 1 Japan 121
9 DeNA 1 Japan 278
10 Kabam - United States 13
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

In Google Play, Electronic Arts were December’s biggest mover in the Top 10 publishers by monthly game revenue, following another successful month for The Simpsons™: Tapped Out. However, EA’s success expanded well beyond a single title. December saw gains for The Sims FreePlay as EA celebrated the game’s second birthday with giveaways of premium in-game items. EA also expanded The Sims FreePlay with holiday-themed content for December.

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS December 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Angry Birds Go! N/A* Rovio Finland Racing, Arcade
2 Candy Crush Saga 1 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
3 Clumsy Ninja - NaturalMotion United Kingdom Family, Adventure
4 My Talking Tom 2 Outfit 7 Cyprus Family, Simulation
5 Angry Birds Star Wars II 292 Rovio Finland Arcade, Action
6 Despicable Me 1 Gameloft France Arcade, Action
7 LEGO® Star Wars™: The Complete Saga N/A* Time Warner United States Adventure, Action
8 Papa Pear Saga 122 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
9 Subway Surfers 8 Kiloo Denmark Arcade, Action
10 Asphalt 8 Airborne 6 Gameloft France Arcade, Racing
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Rank change from November to December 2013 is not available as the game was released in December 2013.

Two games released in December 2013 ranked in the Top 10 games by iOS downloads, with both Angry Birds Go! and LEGO® Star Wars™: The Complete Saga finding early worldwide success. Angry Birds Go! raced into first position after its worldwide release in the iOS App Store on December 11, proving particularly popular in the United States and China. The switch to a free-to-play model also helped another game from the franchise during December. Rovio temporarily dropped the price of Angry Birds Star Wars II to free in December, resulting in a dramatic increase in downloads.

06 - Angry Birds Star Wars II ChartDownloads of Angry Birds Star Wars II jumped when the price dropped.

The growth of Papa Pear Saga following its November worldwide release gave publisher King a second game in the Top 10 Games by iOS App Store downloads in December, joining Candy Crush Saga. Papa Pear Saga achieved quick success after release, particularly in the US and UK. Although pushed to #2 by the huge launch of Angry Birds Go!, Candy Crush Saga still had a successful month, boosted by a television advertising campaign in Japan. The campaign represents the first time a foreign mobile game maker has used TV advertising in Japan, and brought success for King and Candy Crush Saga after it began airing at the end of November.

07 - Candy Crush Saga Chart

Candy Crush Saga shot to the top download ranks in Japan after its television commercial began airing.


Subway Surfers
also returned to the Top 10 games by iOS downloads in December after a two month hiatus. Publisher Kiloo added seasonal content to the game with an update in late November, which saw it featured on the Festive Games section of the iOS home in over 70 countries in December.

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsGoogle Play December 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Casual
2 Subway Surfers - Kiloo Denmark Arcade & Action
3 Pou - Zakeh Lebanon Casual
4 My Talking Tom 6 Outfit 7 Cyprus Casual
5 Traffic Racer 161 Soner Kara Turkey Racing
6 Despicable Me 2 Gameloft France Casual
7 Temple Run 2 - Imangi United States Arcade & Action
8 Hill Climb Racing 2 Fingersoft Finland Racing
9 Angry Birds Go! N/A* Rovio Finland Racing
10 Angry Birds 1 Rovio Finland Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Rank change from November to December 2013 is not available as the game was released in December 2013.

Soner Kara’s Traffic Racer entered the Google Play Top 10 games by monthly downloads in December. The endless racing game saw steady growth after its November release, maintaining popularity throughout December when it featured on the Google Play home page in around 20 countries. Traffic Racer experienced particular success in markets such as Russia, Turkey, and the United States.

09 - Traffic Racer Chart

Traffic Racer made steady gains to reach the #1 rank for downloads in Russia in early December.

My Talking Tom was another big mover in the Top 10 for Google Play downloads. After reaching #2 for iOS App Store game downloads in November, it entered the top five for Google Play in December, with particularly strong performances in major emerging markets for Google Play, such as Russia, Brazil, and Mexico.

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS December 2013
  Game Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga 1 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
2 Clash of Clans 1 Supercell Finland Strategy, Action
3 パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons) - GungHo Online Japan Puzzle, Role Playing
4 Game of War – Fire Age 1 Machine Zone United States Role Playing, Strategy
5 Hay Day 1 Supercell Finland Simulation, Family
6 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out 3 Electronic Arts United States Simulation, Adventure
7 Pet Rescue Saga 1 King United Kingdom Puzzle, Arcade
8 天天酷跑 (GunZ Dash) - Tencent China Action, Adventure
9 The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth 3 Kabam United States Simulation, Strategy
10 Minecraft – Pocket Edition 17 Mojang Sweden Adventure, Simulation
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Minecraft – Pocket Edition made substantial gains in the iOS App Store revenue ranks in December, and is particularly notable as it bucks the trend of freemium games in the Top 10. A significant update in December added minecarts and rails, among other features, designed to make Minecraft – Pocket Edition closer to the desktop experience. After topping Apple’s Best of 2013 charts for the top paid app for both iPhone and iPad, Mojang revealed that the game made $1 million in revenue on Christmas Day alone.

11 - Minecraft Picture

Minecraft – Pocket Edition built its way back into the Top 10 games by iOS App Store revenue in December.

The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth also featured in Apple’s Best of 2013 charts, and performed strongly in December to return to the Top 10 games by iOS App Store revenue in December. This gain came after Kabam released the Desolation of Smaug expansion pack, and the game featured on the Google Play home page in over 30 countries.

The Simpsons™: Tapped Out made significant gains in the iOS App Store revenue ranks in December. The game received a holiday-themed update, which introduced limited-time content and gift cards that could be used to earn in-game prizes. The update was similar to the Halloween update in October, and again occurred simultaneously with the game being extensively featured on the iOS App Store home page.

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueGoogle Play December 2013
  App Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons) - GungHo Online Japan Brain & Puzzle
2 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Casual
3 Clash of Clans 1 Supercell Finland Arcade & Action
4 몬스터 길들이기 (Monster Taming) for Kakao 1 CJ Group South Korea Arcade & Action
5 Pokopang - NHN Entertainment / LINE South Korea / Japan Brain & Puzzle
6 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) - COLOPL Japan Casual
7 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao 1 Devsisters South Korea Casual
8 모두의마블 (Everybody’s Marble) for Kakao 1 CJ Group South Korea Casual
9 Pet Rescue Saga 1 King United Kingdom Casual
10 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out 2 Electronic Arts United States Casual
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

In addition to its success on the iOS App Store, The Simpsons™: Tapped Out returned to the Top 10 games by monthly Google Play revenue in December. Clash of Clans also continued its climb up the Google Play revenue ranks, having moved up in every month since its October release.

For those of you who also are looking for an update on top apps other than games, please check out the December 2013 Apps Index.

Notes:

  • The publisher and app rankings reported in the App Annie Index are based on the download and revenue estimates available through App Annie Intelligence.  The daily rank history charts and the home page feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
  • While the Games Index covers games, the Apps Index provides app tracking on everything but games.  Note that the Top Publishers rankings in the Games Index are based solely on the publishers’ games downloads and revenue, while the Top Publishers rankings in the Apps Index are based on the publishers’ downloads and revenue from apps excluding games.
  • Through August 2013, publisher rankings in the App Annie Games Index and Apps Index were based on apps that ranked in the Top 1,000.  Effective with September data, publisher rankings are based on publishers’ full sets of apps.
  • Through September 2013, similar versions of the same app with different names (e.g., NYTimes and NYTimes for iPad) were ranked separately. Effective with October data, similar versions of the same app with different names are unified (e.g., NYTimes and NYTimes for iPad are now aggregated and ranked as a single NYTimes unified app).
  • In the first month in which an app becomes unified, its rank change in the Index will compare the unified app that month vs. its highest-ranking individual app in the month prior.  As a result, rank changes for newly unified apps may overstate ranking increases from November to December 2013.
  • 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.
  • In the App Annie Index, all apps and publishers are reported under their parent publishers, where available; for example, the Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app is reported under its parent publisher Electronic Arts, rather than its direct publisher PopCap. Note that if you view the Electronic Arts parent publisher page on Store Stats, you will see the publishers that roll under the parent publisher Electronic Arts, including PopCap. The Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app will be listed under the PopCap publisher page.
  • App Annie Index revenue rankings are based on revenue that the iOS App Store and Google Play earned from paid downloads and in-app purchases.  They do not include revenue earned from in-app advertising.
  • 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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