App Annie Index: Games – Puzzle & Dragons Leads Revenue on iOS and Google Play

App Annie Index: Games - March 2013 Puzzle & Dragons remains top-grossing game in iOS App Store and Google Play, while Candy Crush Saga and Temple Run 2 are top-downloaded on iOS and Google Play, respectively.

In this Games Index, we bring you the hottest mobile gaming properties across both the iOS App Store and Google Play in March 2013. To find out what’s happening with apps outside of games, please check out our Apps Index.

Electronic Arts (EA) and King were the two publishers that ranked in the top 10 throughout the March Games Index – by both downloads and revenues, for both iOS App Store and Google Play. EA’s success came from a combination of Real Racing 3 and The Simpsons™: Tapped Out.

Meanwhile, King’s success was due to a single app, Candy Crush Saga. This match-3 puzzle game has now made it into the top 5 across the board this month – by downloads and revenue, across the iOS App Store and Google Play. Elsewhere, Puzzle & Dragons extended its reign as the top-grossing game in both iOS App Store and Google Play.     

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS March 2013

  Publisher Rank Change vs Feb-2013 Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Electronic Arts - USA 984
2 Rovio 4 Finland 31
3 King 2 UK 2
4 Disney 1 USA 255
5 LOTUM 1 Germany 9
6 Glu Games 7 USA 102
7 Storm8 1 USA 51
8 Imangi Studios 6 USA 16
9 Gameloft 2 France 265
10 NHN 1 South Korea 203
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

In March 2013, Electronic Arts (EA) retained its spot at the top of the charts, due to the success of Real Racing 3. Meanwhile, Rovio moved up 4 places to #2, driven by the strong performances of its classic Angry Birds game and The Croods, a new game based on the upcoming DreamWorks motion picture of the same name. Glu Games also rose up a notable 7 spots to #6.    

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play March 2013

  Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Rovio 1 Finland 14
2 Imangi Studios 1 USA 2
3 Electronic Arts 48 USA 107
4 Fingersoft 12 Finland 9
5 NHN 1 South Korea 190
6 Halfbrick Studios 2 Australia 7
7 LOTUM 17 Germany 9
8 Kiloo 1 Denmark 2
9 King 2 UK 2
10 Future Games of London 325 UK 10
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Rovio topped the Google Play publisher download rankings in March 2013. Similar to what we saw in the iOS App Store, Rovio’s downloads growth in Google Play was driven by a combination of Angry Birds and the newly launched game The Croods. Electronic Arts rose close to 50 spots to #3 this month, driven by Real Racing 3.

 


Real Racing 3 earns Electronics Arts the #3 spot on Google Play

 

Fingersoft, the small Finnish startup that published Hill Climb Racing, rose up to #4, thanks to the success of its recently launched game Benji Bananas. LOTUM came in at #7 on Google Play, as well as #5 in the iOS rankings mentioned earlier. Its word-guessing game, 4 Pics 1 Word, has been popular across both stores.

Future Games of London shot up to number 10 in March. This was driven mostly by its Hungry Shark Evolution game, but also through growth of its three earlier apps in the Hungry Shark series.    

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS March 2013

  Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 2
2 GungHo Online - Japan 8
3 Electronic Arts - USA 984
4 King - UK 2
5 GREE - Japan 110
6 Kabam 1 USA 8
7 Storm8 1 USA 51
8 DeNA 2 Japan 139
9 Gameloft 3 France 265
10 Zynga 1 USA 64
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top five grossing iOS publishers remained the same in March as they were in February, with Supercell and GungHo Online at the very top of the charts. Kabam, Storm8, and DeNA all inched upwards, while Gameloft and Zynga rounded out the Top 10.    

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play March 2013

  Publisher Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 GungHo Online - Japan 9
2 NHN 2 South Korea 190
3 WeMade - South Korea 13
4 CJ E&M 2 South Korea 24
5 DeNA - Japan 197
6 Electronic Arts 22 USA 107
7 King 4 UK 2
8 GREE 2 Japan 123
9 Com2uS 3 South Korea 90
10 Kabam 2 US 6
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

GungHo Online continued to lead the Google Play revenue charts, thanks to its Puzzle & Dragons game. NHN moved up 2 spots in March.

In April, NHN split its subsidiary NHN Japan, which developed hit messaging app LINE, into NHN Japan Corporation and LINE Corporation in order to make the company more competitive and agile. Now NHN Japan Corporation manages the games division, while LINE Corporation focuses on the LINE and web products.

Notably, this month’s Google Play revenue rankings were not made up solely of Japanese and South Korean publishers, as they were last month. With the success of Real Racing 3, Electronic Arts entered the top 10 by Google Play revenue, as it did with Google Play downloads. In addition, UK-based King rose to #7 as Candy Crush Saga continued to gain momentum. US-based Kabam also made the top 10 this month.

 


Candy Crush Saga puts King in top 10 by Google Play revenue

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS March 2013

  Game Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga ® 1 King UK Puzzle, Arcade
2 Real Racing 3 67 Electronic Arts USA Racing, Action
3 4 Pics 1 Word - LOTUM Germany Word, Trivia
4 Temple Run 2 3 Imangi Studios USA Adventure, Action
5 Icomania N/A* Games for Friends Germany Puzzle, Trivia
6 Subway Surfers 1 Kiloo Denmark Action, Arcade
7 Mini Golf MatchUp N/A* Scopely USA Sports
8 Angry Birds 531 Rovio USA Action, Arcade
9 Hungry Shark
Evolution
53 Future Games
of London
UK Arcade, Action
10 Flight Unlimited
Las Vegas
1000+ Flight Systems USA Racing, Simulation
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

  * Icomania was released in March 2013, so it had no ranking in February. Mini Golf MatchUp also did not have a ranking in February, so Rank Change is not available.

In March, many of the top-downloaded games in the iOS App Store continued to be Action or Arcade games. Candy Crush Saga from King has been growing steadily in downloads since it was released on iOS in September 2012. In March 2013, it reached the #1 spot after hovering within the Top 5 the last few months.

Electronic Arts’ #1 publisher ranking was driven by Real Racing 3. This recently released app had a strong March showing and raced up the charts to #2.

The classic Angry Birds game shot up in the download rankings to #8 in March. Note that the spike in the daily rankings below coincided with broad iTunes home page promotions across nearly 150 countries around the world from March 7 to 13 as well as a price drop from $0.99 to free from March 7 through 18. The app also had smaller iTunes home page promotions in a subset of these countries throughout the rest of the month.

 

 

Hungry Shark Evolution jumped over 50 spots to take the #9 ranking. Initially released October 2012, the game began an upward rise in the United States and United Kingdom with its February 16 version update and maintained that throughout the entire month of March.

Outside of Action and Arcade games, a new “guess the images” puzzle game called Icomania debuted at number five. Mini Golf MatchUp was the other new entrant to this month’s top 10 rankings, debuting at number seven.

Finally, flight simulator game Flight Unlimited Las Vegas debuted in the top 10 in March. Its rankings spike below coincided with free pricing from February 27 through March 19.  

 


Flight Unlimited Las Vegas downloads soared while the app was free

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly Downloads Google Play March 2013

  Game Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 Temple Run 2 - Imangi Studios USA Arcade & Action
2 Subway Surfers - Kiloo Games Denmark Arcade & Action
3 Candy Crush Saga 5 King UK Casual
4 Fruit Ninja Free 1 Halfbrick Studios Australia Arcade & Action
5 Angry Birds 2 Rovio Finland Arcade & Action
6 Vector 29 Nekki Russia Arcade & Action
7 Pou 1 Zakeh Lebanon Casual
8 4 Pics 1 Word 33 LOTUM Germany Brain & Puzzle
9 Benji Bananas 1000+ Fingersoft Finland Arcade & Action
10 Hill Climb Racing 1 Fingersoft Finland Racing
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

In March, the most downloaded games on Google Play were primarily Arcade & Action games, similar to what we saw in the iOS App Store. Endless running games Temple Run 2 and Subway Surfers kept their number one and number two rankings from February 2013.

Angry Birds moved up two spots to take the number five ranking. (In contrast to what was done on the iOS App Store, there was no temporary price drop for its Google Play version, as that app already is freemium.)

Yet another running game in the top 10 was Vector from Russian publisher Nekki. This fast-mover gained 29 spots to take the number six spot.

Benji Bananas, an endless swinging game developed by TribeFlame, was the first app that Fingersoft released as a publisher. Released in late February, it shot up the charts to number nine in March, just ahead of Hill Climb Racing, another hit game from Fingersoft. This gave Fingersoft two top 10 games within the month of March.

 


Benji Bananas swings into the top 10

Outside of Action & Arcade games, highlights included Candy Crush Saga, which continued its steady ascent on Google Play as well as the iOS App Store. The app made its top three debut on Google Play in March, after having reached #8 in February and #10 in January. In addition, image-guessing game 4 Pics 1 Word moved up 33 spots to take the number eight ranking.    

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS March 2013

  Game Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 Puzzle & Dragons - GungHo Online Japan Role Playing, Puzzle
2 Clash of Clans - Supercell Finland Strategy, Action
3 Candy Crush Saga ® - King UK Puzzle, Arcade
4 Hay Day - Supercell Finland Simulation, Family
5 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out - Electronic Arts USA Adventure, Simulation
6 Kingdoms of Camelot:
Battle for the North
1 Kabam USA Simulation, Strategy
7 Real Racing 3 230 Electronic Arts USA Racing, Action
8 Minecraft – Pocket Edition 2 Mojang Sweden Adventure, Simulation
9 The Hobbit:
Kingdoms of Middle-earth
1 Kabam USA Strategy, Simulation
10 Modern War 7 GREE Japan Strategy, Role Playing
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top five grossing iOS games have now remained the same for each month of Q1 2013, which is remarkable given how quickly many games tend to rise and fall in popularity.

Real Racing 3 was the fast mover in March, gaining over two hundred spots to claim the number seven ranking after being released in February. It joined Candy Crush Saga as the only other app to make the top 10 iOS games in terms of both downloads and revenue in March.

Additionally, now there are three publishers who each have two apps in the top 10: Supercell, Kabam, and EA. Modern War, a social military combat game, moved up seven spots to take the number ten ranking.    

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueGoogle Play March 2013

  Game Rank Change
vs Feb-2013
Publisher Headquarters Game
Subcategory
1 パズル&ドラゴンズ(Puzzle & Dragons) - GungHo Online Japan Brain & Puzzle
2 윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao 1 WeMade South Korea Arcade & Action
3 다함께 차차차
(Everybody Cha Cha Cha) for Kakao
1 CJ E&M South Korea Casual
4 Candy Crush Saga 2 King UK Casual
5 밀리언아서 (Million Arthur) - Actoz Soft South Korea Arcade & Action
6 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out 19 Electronic Arts USA Casual
7 Anipang for Kakao 3 SUNDAYTOZ South Korea Brain & Puzzle
8 LINE POP 1 NHN South Korea Brain & Puzzle
9 Blood Brothers - DeNA Japan Arcade & Action
10 MARVEL War of Heroes 8 DeNA Japan Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Similar to the February rankings, the March rankings were made up entirely of Arcade & Action, Brain & Puzzle, and Casual games.

In March, Puzzle & Dragons continued its extraordinary reign as the top-grossing app across both iOS App Store and Google Play. In addition, it surpassed ten million cumulative downloads across platforms in Japan alone. In mid-March, Puzzle & Dragons also worked with Google Play to introduce the Android robot as a character within the game in honor of the app store’s one-year anniversary. This is one example of how Puzzle & Dragons often collaborates with other games and brands for promotional purposes.

 

The Google Play Android robot appeared in the Puzzle & Dragons dungeon for the app store’s one-year anniversary

Popular Kakao games Windrunner and Everybody Cha Cha Cha remained within the top three. Candy Crush Saga continued its steady ascent on Google Play as well, moving up to #4 in March, up from #6 in February, #10 in January, and #29 in December.

밀리언아서 (Million Arthur), the Korean version of the Japanese hit game by Square Enix, kept its #5 ranking in March. Square Enix has since brought Million Arthur to the Sony PlayStation Vita platform in April 2013. While we have traditionally seen popular console and handheld games ported to smartphone platforms, this an example of how the reverse is starting to happen as well. As another example, it was recently announced that “Puzzle & Dragons Z” would be released on the Nintendo 3DS in the winter.

The biggest mover this month was The Simpsons™: Tapped Out. Introduced on Google Play in February, it made its top 10 debut in the revenue rankings in March with a 19-spot jump, joining Candy Crush Saga as the only other app by a Western publisher.

In March, Anipang for Kakao ranked within the top 10 by revenue on Google Play yet again. This match-3 puzzle game has become a familiar fixture in these rankings, having achieved this for over half a year now based on its strength in South Korea. Publisher SundayToz explained to App Annie why their game has had such staying power:

"Making it into the top 10 apps for Google Play worldwide monthly revenue is not an easy task, and maintaining a position in the top 10 for half a year running is even more challenging," said Angus Lau, VP of Global Business Development, SundayToz, Inc. "Anipang was the first game on Kakao to take advantage of all the possible social features on the platform. This early mover advantage, as well as its appeal to a wide demographic of users and the ability to keep users engaged with increased challenges, has propelled its successful ranking and revenue growth. Unlike other games that have been incredibly popular only to fall off the radar, SundayToz has focused on keeping users through frequent updates and in-game promotions, as well as effective cross-promotions with our newest game, Anipang Mahjong, and partner brands. We are thrilled to be in the top 10 in the App Annie Games Index again and look forward to continued strong performances in the app stores."

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

For an update on the overall app store market in Q1 2013, be sure to see our App Annie Index market report.

 

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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 Japan 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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