App Annie Index: Games – Hit Games Expand to New Platforms

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China shows its gaming potential and Clash of Clans launches on Google Play.

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 October 2013 Apps Index.

Tencent Rises to Become a Mobile Gaming Superpower

Just a month after the September Games Index noted the potential for China to exert greater influence on the mobile gaming market, Tencent’s side-scrolling endless runner 天天酷跑 (WeRun) took the #1 rank for the iOS App Store game downloads in October. The success of WeChat as a gaming platform helped Tencent build further on their momentum and move up to the #2 rank for publishers in iOS game downloads, demonstrating the enormous potential of the mobile gaming market in China.

Clash of Clans Finds Cross-Store Success

We’ve all been waiting for it – after many months of being the top ranked iOS app by revenue, October saw the full worldwide release of Clash of Clans on Google Play. The popular title entered the Top 10 grossing Google Play games in its first month, and allows players to play freely across operating systems and devices, with full synchronization between iOS and Android versions of the game.

Candy Crush Saga Rises on Kakao’s Platform

As noted in the August Games Index, publishers have made several attempts at breaking into international markets. King now appear to have achieved that in the lucrative South Korean market through the release of a special version of Candy Crush Saga (캔디크러쉬사가) for Kakao in September. This allowed King to reach Kakao’s approximately 110 million users, and started paying dividends in October as the game and publisher climbed the revenue rankings.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS October 2013
Publisher Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Electronic Arts - United States 819
2 Tencent 2 China 131
3 Gameloft 1 France 219
4 Glu 2 United States 102
5 Storm8 3 United States 38
6 Disney 3 United States 370
7 King 2 United Kingdom 7
8 Tiny Piece 1 China 172
9 Time Warner N/A* United States 322
10 Rovio - Finland 38
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Rank change from September to October 2013 is not available because of changes in publisher attribution.

 

Electronic Arts held on to the top spot of the iOS App Store game publishers by downloads for the third consecutive month, boosted by another successful month for FIFA 14. Below them, however, there have been some significant changes in the rankings. After rising 36 spots in August and another 3 places in September, Tencent continued their climb and earned the #2 rank among publisher by downloads in the iOS App Store. This growth is a positive reflection on the strength of Tencent’s WeChat Game Center and on the overall Chinese gaming market. With Tencent increasing efforts to expand outside of China, it will be interesting to see whether they can build further and take the #1 position.

Glu also built on momentum from last month, moving up an additional 2 places to take the #4 rank on the back of further success for Deer Hunter 2014. Storm8 moved up three places in October to be the #5 ranked publisher by iOS App Store game downloads. The publisher was primarily boosted by the release of a number of seasonal Halloween titles in late September and October based on their existing catalog of games.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play October 2013
Publisher Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Gameloft - France 98
2 Tiny Piece 1 China 102
3 Electronic Arts 2 United States 145
4 King 2 United Kingdom 7
5 Rovio 1 Finland 21
6 Glu 21 United States 120
7 Disney 6 United States 129
8 Kiloo 2 Denmark 2
9 Imangi Studios 2 United States 2
10 Zakeh 1 Lebanon 1
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Tiny Piece ensured that it was a good month all round for Chinese publishers when it moved up one spot to the #2 rank for publishers by Google Play downloads. This gain was largely driven by Beard Salon, released in late September, which performed well throughout October.

For other publishers making major moves in the Google Play rankings, it was largely a case of Google Play success mirroring earlier iOS gains. The release of titles already popular on iOS brought two publishers into the Top 10 this month: Glu and Disney. Glu rose 21 places thanks to the success of Deer Hunter 2014, released in late September on Google Play, trailing the early September release on iOS. Where’s My Water? 2 was also released on the iOS App Store first, but that didn’t prevent success for Disney when it was released on Google Play in October. Electronic Arts also gained in October, receiving a substantial boost from the release of high-profile title Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 in late October. The game reached the #1 rank for iOS App Store game downloads in the Games Index for August and September, and got off to a strong start in Google Play. EA’s downloads from Google Play were helped further by the strong worldwide performance of FIFA 14 in October.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS October 2013
Publisher Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 3
2 King - United Kingdom 7
3 GungHo Online - Japan 49
4 Electronic Arts - United States 819
5 GREE - Japan 100
6 LINE 2 Japan 94
7 Kabam - United States 14
8 Gameloft 2 France 219
9 COLOPL 3 Japan 122
10 Storm8 1 United States 3
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

It is predominantly a story of stability at the top of the iOS App Store revenue rankings for October. The top five publishers all held their positions from September, with Supercell at #1 again, and King and GungHo Online rounding out the top three. Kabam also remained steady at #7, highlighting their recent success with the announcement that 2013 revenue increased by 80% on 2012 figures. Following rumors of King’s confidential IPO filing noted in last month’s Index, Kabam CEO Kevin Chou also noted that Kabam is also considering going public.

GungHo Online continued to expand the policy of using cross-promotions within their パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons) title to help expand their user base. At the end of October, they revealed the limited-time inclusion of a Batman: Arkham Origins characters and a themed dungeon in the game, and later announced a cross-promotion with Rovio’s Angry Birds beginning in mid-November.

 

Characters from Batman: Arkham Origins were featured in GungHo Online’s パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons).

 

LINE continued to perform strongly in Japan, moving up two places to #6. The publisher bolstered their gaming offerings further during October with the release of LINE Nutlings Tournament and LINE Fly! ANIMAL as they continue their drive to expand their messaging platform into a complete offering for social interactions and gaming.  Meanwhile, COLOPL entered the Top 10 publishers by monthly revenue in the iOS App Store, matching the considerable success they have experienced in Google Play since April 2013. Their rise to #9 was largely driven by the popularity of 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) in Japan.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play October 2013
Publisher Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 GungHo Online - Japan 40
2 CJ E&M - South Korea 108
3 LINE - Japan 105
4 King 1 United Kingdom 7
5 COLOPL 1 Japan 136
6 Electronic Arts 5 United States 145
7 GREE - Japan 124
8 DeNA 2 Japan 280
9 WeMade 1 South Korea 32
10 Kabam 1 United States 13
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Electronic Arts returned to the Top 10 publishers by Google Play revenue in emphatic fashion this month, moving up five spots to #6. This rise coincided with a Halloween update to The Simpsons™: Tapped Out. The popular update introduced limited-time characters, quests, and in-game content. Following this, the game featured on the Google Play home page in several countries. EA recently released details of the game’s success across Google Play and the iOS App Store. The Simpsons™: Tapped Out has generated over $100 million in revenue to date, and ranked in the top 20 grossing games for iPhone in the United States for all but 12 days since its launch in August 2012.

It was also a good month for King in Google Play, with both Candy Crush Saga and Pet Rescue Saga climbing the revenue ranks. The gains these two games made were enough to push King up one place to #4 for publishers by Google Play revenue. Much of this gain is attributable to the success of Candy Crush Saga in South Korea, where a release on the Kakao platform gave King a significant boost.

Another publisher moving up in the Google Play revenue ranks was South Korean publisher WeMade, helped by the continued success of their games on the Kakao platform. WeMade spoke to App Annie about their approach to mobile gaming:

“WeMade Entertainment Co., Ltd. was originally established in 2000 as an online PC game company. WeMade has successfully added mobile games to our field of expertise. Our popular mobile games span genres, from casual to hardcore. Among our most popular mobile games is ‘WIND runner’, a running action game that is topping the charts with over 10 million downloads in South Korea and Japan.

WeMade’s success is based on three elements: having strong insight to market changes, being customer-oriented with our service and content development, and keeping a global mindset. We prepared for the mobile game era by restructuring to cater to a dynamic mobile market two years in advance of the industry’s rapid growth. We emphasize cooperating with our global partners, so we understand local markets and users.” – Won Il Sue, WeMade Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Global Business

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS October 2013
Game Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 天天酷跑 (WeRun) 15 Tencent China Action, Adventure
2 Deer Hunter 2014 3 Glu United States Simulation, Action
3 FIFA 14 5 Electronic Arts United States Sports, Action
4 Despicable Me 1 Gameloft France Arcade, Action
5 Candy Crush Saga 3 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
6 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 5 Electronic Arts United States Adventure, Strategy
7 Airplane! 291 Quantum Design United States Simulation, Arcade
8 8 Ball Pool 660 Miniclip United Kingdom Sports, Simulation
9 节奏大师 (Rhythm Masters) 3 Tencent China Action, Music
10 Batman: Arkham Origins N/A* Time Warner United States Action, Adventure
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

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

 

October was another month for dramatic changes in the Top 10 iOS App Store games by downloads. After having one game featured in the Top 10 in both August and September, Tencent went one step further in October with two games in the Top 10. Most notably, 天天酷跑 (WeRun), a side-scrolling endless runner, reached the #1 position, giving a Chinese publisher the top position in the iOS App Store game downloads for the first time in the Games Index in 2013. Tencent also reported that 天天酷跑 (WeRun) generated around $16 million in revenue its first month following release, and made around $1 million per day in October. As these downloads were concentrated primarily within China, 天天酷跑 (WeRun) reaching the #1 position gives a clear indication of the rising strength of the mobile gaming market in China.

In addition to 天天酷跑 (WeRun), three other games entered the Top 10 for the iOS App Store downloads for the first time this month: Batman: Arkham Origins, 8 Ball Pool, and Airplane!. Despite a mid-October launch, Batman: Arkham Origins still debuted in the #10 position, accompanied by features on the iOS home page in over 60 countries. The game is a spin-off from the console franchise, and notably was released prior to the console games of the same name. An Android release is slated for later this year.

8 Ball Pool was released in early 2013, but publisher Miniclip reduced the price from $0.99 to free in early October. Following this price drop, it rose 660 places into the Top 10 iOS App Store games by downloads for the month, driven primarily by the United States and China. The change in price was followed approximately three weeks later by features on the iOS home page in almost 100 countries. It is also interesting to note that the effect of the price drop on 8 Ball Pool’s grossing rank was generally positive, even before the extensive iOS home page features began, demonstrating the potential of the in-app purchase model.

 

Miniclip switched 8 Ball Pool to a freemium model and saw an immediate boost in download rank.

 

In addition to 8 Ball Pool, Airplane!, a freemium flight simulator released in September, also entered the Top 10 games by monthly downloads in the iOS App Store in October. Combined with the continued success of Deer Hunter 2014, these two new entrants mark a significant shift in iOS App Store game downloads. Simulation games have been a regular feature of the Top 10 grossing the iOS App Store games in the Games Index throughout 2013, but previously only three simulation games made the Top 10 by downloads. This included Deer Hunter 2014, which entered the Top 10 by downloads last month. With 8 Ball Pool, Airplane!, and Deer Hunter 2014 in the Top 10 the iOS App Store games by downloads this month, simulation games took 3 of the Top 10 ranks. Given the success of simulation games in monetizing downloads, it will be interesting to see the impact of these download gains in future revenue rankings.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsGoogle Play October 2013
Game Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Casual
2 Despicable Me - Gameloft France Casual
3 Subway Surfers - Kiloo Denmark Arcade & Action
4 Deer Hunter 2014 382 Glu United States Arcade & Action
5 Pou 1 Zakeh Lebanon Casual
6 Angry Birds Star Wars II 11 Rovio Finland Arcade & Action
7 Temple Run 2 1 Imangi Studios United States Arcade & Action
8 Hill Climb Racing 1 Fingersoft Finland Racing
9 Pet Rescue Saga 4 King United Kingdom Casual
10 Fruit Ninja 2 Halfbrick Studios Australia Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The Top 10 games by Google Play downloads were a little more stable than those for the iOS App Store in October, with the top three games holding on to their positions from September. However, there were still two new entries this month, as Deer Hunter 2014 and Angry Birds Star Wars II climbed into the Top 10. Deer Hunter 2014 was released in late September on Google Play, and found similar success to the iOS version that was released earlier in the month. Angry Birds Star Wars II also saw a September release, and its performance in October was strong enough to reach #6, supported by features on the Google Play home page in several countries. The game’s success ensured that at least one app from the Angry Birds franchise appeared in the Top 10 games for Google Play downloads in every month of 2013 so far.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS October 2013
Game Rank Change
vs. Sept 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Clash of Clans - Supercell Finland Strategy, Action
2 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
3 パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons) - GungHo Online Japan Role Playing, Puzzle
4 Hay Day - Supercell Finland Simulation, Family
5 The Simpsons™: Tapped Out 1 Electronic Arts United States Simulation, Adventure
6 Pet Rescue Saga 1 King United Kingdom Puzzle, Arcade
7 Game of War – Fire Age 2 Machine Zone United States Role Playing, Strategy
8 LINE Pokopang 4 LINE Japan Puzzle, Action
9 Megapolis 18 Social Quantum Russia Simulation, Strategy
10 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) 11 COLOPL Japan Adventure, Role Playing
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top iOS App Store games by monthly revenue for October are led by four familiar titles – Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, パズル&ドラゴンズ (Puzzle & Dragons), and Hay Day all held their positions from September 2013. However, there were some significant changes in the remainder of the Top 10. While October saw many examples of games flourishing on Google Play following iOS App Store success, COLOPL’s 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) went against that trend. In September’s Games Index, 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) was ranked #7 by monthly revenue on Google Play, and in October it joined the Top 10 games by iOS App Store revenue with a strong performance in Japan. It is also interesting to note that this game was released on Google Play first, the opposite strategy than that implemented for several other games in this month’s Index. COLOPL recently announced that 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz) grew from 8 million players at the start of October to surpass 10 million players in Japan. COLOPL will be hoping for similar success outside of Japan with the English and Korean versions of the game. Similarly, LINE Pokopang made significant gains in revenue in Japan, returning to the Top 10 for iOS App Store game revenue to go along with a Top 10 position for Google Play revenue.

Another game to make significant strides in rankings for October was Megapolis, returning to the Top 10 for the iOS App Store game revenue for the first time since May 2013. The revenue boost followed a significant update to the game in mid-September, which included improved social features and new events. The game performed particularly well in Europe, highlighted by success in the German market.

 


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

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

 

The biggest news for Google Play revenue in October was the worldwide release of an Android version of Supercell’s hit iOS game Clash of Clans, and its immediate inclusion within the Top 10 games by revenue. Clash of Clans ranked in the top three positions for iOS App Store game revenue in the Games Index throughout 2013, but only just arrived in Google Play, beginning with a soft launch in Canada and Finland on September 30. The game allows for true cross-platform play, as players can import their progress from iOS devices and sync between devices on iOS and Android, allowing for play within the same game from any device.

 

Clash of Clans followed months of success in the iOS App Store with a strong Google Play launch.

 

Another hit game also made big strides in Google Play revenue ranks this month. Candy Crush Saga returned to the #2 position by Google Play game revenue. This was largely a result of building momentum in South Korea with a version of Candy Crush Saga released in September for the Kakao platform. Kakao is currently the dominant force in Android gaming in South Korea, and 캔디크러쉬사가 (Candy Crush Saga) for Kakao allows publisher King to harness Kakao’s extensive user base and expand into the lucrative South Korean market. The version of Candy Crush Saga for Kakao also includes special features specifically designed for the platform, such as sending friend requests and sharing emoticons.

 

Candy Crush Saga found success in South Korea after launching on the Kakao platform in September.

 

This success capped a strong month for King, with Pet Rescue Saga also rising in the ranks in both Google Play and the iOS App Store revenue, trailing the major gains it made in downloads in September. With the rise of King’s games, Casual games now have a strong hold on the Top 10 games in Google Play revenue, taking 6 positions in October.

For those of you who also are looking for an update on top apps other than games, please check out the October 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’ non-games downloads and revenue.
  • 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 set 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 will be 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 September to October 2013.
  • In the Top Publisher tables, the Total Apps column reflects the publisher’s number of apps as of the middle of the month in which the report was released (e.g., the October 2013 Index report shows the count as of mid-November 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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