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App Annie Index: Games - ’Tis the Season of the Sequels

App Annie

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 November 2013 Apps Index.

Gameloft Responsible for 4 of the Top 10 Games in iOS Downloads

Despicable Me continued to drive iOS downloads for Gameloft, but the publisher had an astonishing three additional games reach the Top 10: Asphalt 8 Airborne, Thor: The Dark World, and GT Racing 2.  These four games helped Gameloft lead all publishers in iOS game downloads for the first time since July 2013.  Gameloft could be in for the long haul if these newcomers have anywhere near the same longevity as Despicable Me.

Tencent Realizing Monetization Potential

China-based publisher Tencent, already a staple of the iOS publisher by game download rankings, has now broken into the Top 10 in revenue in November.  Tencent’s growth was driven primarily by 天天酷跑 (WeRun) and 欢乐斗地主 (Fight the Landlord).  Tencent's momentum continues to build as they are beginning to achieve their revenue potential via Tencent’s WeChat Game Center.  This is similar to the success LINE and Kakao have had monetizing games through their chat platforms.

Children’s Game Publishers on the Rise Again

After a brief slowdown following the summer season, children’s game publishers saw a bump in November downloads.  Publisher Tiny Piece reached #1 in Google Play downloads and also improved their iOS download ranking.  Fellow children’s game publisher Bluebear made their first appearance in the iOS Top 10 downloads in 2013.  Top games by these publishers involved fashion, salons, and science-for-fun.  Since children’s games performed especially well during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be interesting to see what the genre achieves with many kids also off from school during the winter holiday season.

Franchises Power Success

Many of the top games in this month’s Index were sequels to other successful mobile titles, including: Plants vs. Zombies™ 2, My Talking Tom, NinJump Rooftops, Asphalt 8 Airborne, and GT Racing 2.  These titles help illustrate the benefit of having familiar characters and a built-in fanbase carry over from one game to the next.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS November 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. Oct 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Gameloft 2 France 217
2 Electronic Arts 1 United States 821
3 Tencent 1 China 133
4 Disney 2 United States 411
5 Tiny Piece 3 China 175
6 Bluebear 15 Ireland 69
7 King - United Kingdom 15
8 Glu 4 United States 105
9 NaturalMotion 9 United Kingdom 11
10 Rovio - Finland 39
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Gameloft was the number one publisher in monthly iOS game downloads for the first time since July 2013.  In addition to the continued success of Despicable Me, three global releases across late October and November helped the publisher reclaim the top spot: Thor: The Dark World, GT Racing 2, and Tank Battles.  Tank Battles, soft launched back in June, was featured on the iTunes homepage in over 100 countries in November.  Players take part in General McTankerson’s Worldwide Tournament of Tanks, trying to defeat other tanks in a wide range of missions.  Gameloft also benefited from an increase in Asphalt 8 Airborne downloads, which coincided with the game’s price decreasing from $0.99 to free in early November.

Two publishers moved up in this ranking primarily due to children’s games, as Ireland-based Bluebear joined mainstay children’s publisher Tiny Piece on the list.  Bluebear’s downloads increased primarily due to the releases of Crazy Shave, Shave Santa, Eye Doctor, and Nose Doctor in October and November.  Bluebear CEO Martin Harte spoke with App Annie about the publisher’s success and outlook:

"We are delighted with the success of Crazy Shave and Nose Doctor. It builds on the earlier successes of the company and reflects on the quality of the team we have assembled. We've listened to our users and put an emphasis on quality and innovation within our space. In November some of that hard work has started to pay off. We will continue on our mission to create premium interactive titles for kids and casual players, and to become synonymous with the best games available. We have a fantastic product lineup ahead of us, and with our plans for continued expansion of our successful core team, we are extremely excited about the future." - Martin Harte, CEO of Bluebear Technologies Ltd.


Kids can give Saint Nick a trim in
Shave Santa.

Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play November 2013

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

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

Children’s game publisher Tiny Piece moved into the top spot for Google Play game downloads for the first time since June 2013.  Their growth came from multiple recently launched kids games, including: Baby Pet Vet Doctor, Baby Spa & Hair Salon, Pets Nail Salon, and Halloween SPA.  Three of these games fell into the common children’s game categories already mentioned in the July Games Index: Fashion, Salon, and Science-For-Fun.

Electronic Arts had a strong November 2013 for Google Play game downloads following the long-anticipated late October release of Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 on Google Play, as well as the publisher’s wide release of two Monopoly-theme titles in November.  Electronic Arts teamed up with Hasbro for MONOPOLY Slots and MONOPOLY Bingo, which were both soft-launched in September.  As discussed above, this is another example of the importance of recognizable IP performing well.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS November 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. Oct 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 3
2 King - United Kingdom 15
3 GungHo Online - Japan 46
4 Electronic Arts - United States 821
5 GREE - Japan 99
6 Machine Zone 6 United States 10
7 Tencent 13 China 133
8 Gameloft - France 217
9 Storm8 1 United States 40
10 Kabam 3 United States 14
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

The October Games Index already noted how Tencent demonstrated the enormous potential of the mobile gaming market in China through its rapid success in iOS game downloads.  In November, Tencent realized more of their monetization potential by moving into the Top 10 iOS publishers by game revenue.  Much of their revenue spike came from further growth of side-scrolling endless runner 天天酷跑 (WeRun) and of 欢乐斗地主 (Fight the Landlord).  欢乐斗地主 (Fight the Landlord) is a popular card game in China that originally launched in August 2013, but became a big success in October.  Tencent attributed their overall success to viral adoption through social engagement.

 

欢乐斗地主 (Fight the Landlord) adds comical animations to card games.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play November 2013

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

A perennial chart-topper on iOS, Supercell entered the Google Play Top 10 in November.  This was due to the successful launch of Clash of Clans on Google Play in October and its continued growth in November.

LINE held a spot in the top five publishers as they celebrated the one-year anniversary of LINE GAME - the gaming platform on which hit games such as Pokopang and LINE WIND runner operate.  According to the publisher, the platform grew to support 19 game titles and over 220 million combined downloads in its first year of operation.  As part of the celebration, users could download LINE POP in order to receive an original set of LINE stickers.  This promotion was accompanied by an increase in the game’s downloads in mid-November.  With the release of several titles in late November and early December, including the classic Puzzle Bobble, things look bright for the second year of LINE GAME.

 

Users who downloaded LINE POP in mid-November received an original set of LINE stickers.

 

Special stickers from LINE for a job well done.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS November 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Oct 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga 4 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
2 My Talking Tom N/A* Outfit 7 Cyprus Family, Simulation
3 Clumsy Ninja N/A* NaturalMotion United Kingdom Family, Adventure
4 Asphalt 8 Airborne 10 Gameloft France Arcade, Racing
5 Despicable Me 1 Gameloft France Arcade, Action
6 Deer Hunter 2014 4 Glu United States Simulation, Action
7 NinJump Rooftops 1000+ Hasbro United States Action, Arcade
8 Thor: The Dark World 1000+ Gameloft France Role Playing, Adventure
9 GT Racing 2 N/A* Gameloft France Sports, Racing
10 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 4 Electronic Arts United States Adventure, Strategy
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

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

A number of new games entered the Top 10 games by iOS downloads in November.

Outfit 7 has had extended success with Entertainment apps in the Talking Tom series, which let users play with a virtual pet cat named Tom.  In November, the publisher replicated that success in the Games category with the release of My Talking Tom.  This new game lets players adopt a baby Tom and nurture him as he grows.

Despite only launching in late November, Clumsy Ninja still made it into the November Games Index.  Like My Talking Tom, this game also focuses on developing a virtual character, though this time it’s a ninja in training rather than a growing kitten.

Another new game to reach the Top 10 for iOS downloads was GT Racing 2.  It is the second game in Gameloft’s GT Racing series for mobile devices, following GT Racing: Motor Academy.  With the late October release of Thor: The Dark World, Gameloft had an impressive 4 of the Top 10 in November iOS game downloads, including two licensed tie-ins with popular 2013 films.

Hasbro’s NinJump Rooftops, also released at the very end of October, is an endless running game and the second entry in the series following the original NinJump.  The sequel has a few differences from the original, primarily that it is now a side-scrolling game, rather than the vertical climbing of the original.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsGoogle Play November 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Oct 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Casual
2 Subway Surfers 1 Kiloo Denmark Arcade & Action
3 Pou 2 Zakeh Lebanon Casual
4 Despicable Me 2 Gameloft France Casual
5 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 29 Electronic Arts United States Casual
6 Hill Climb Racing 2 Fingersoft Finland Racing
7 Temple Run 2 - Imangi United States Arcade & Action
8 Pet Rescue Saga 1 King United Kingdom Casual
9 Angry Birds 2 Rovio Finland Arcade & Action
10 My Talking Tom N/A* Outfit 7 Cyprus Casual
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

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

 

Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 was launched on Google Play in late October, three months after its iOS release.  In November, the game reached the top five on Google Play.  It was also featured on the Google Play homepage in several countries throughout the month.

My Talking Tom completed a hugely successful launch month by entering the Top 10 game downloads not only on iOS, but also on Google Play.

 

Users get to raise a baby version of Outfit 7's franchise star in My Talking Tom.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS November 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Oct 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 Game of War - Fire Age 2 Machine Zone United States Role Playing, Strategy
6 Pet Rescue Saga - King United Kingdom Puzzle, Arcade
7 我叫MT Online
(I am MT Online)
8 LocoJoy / EFUN China Action, Role Playing
8 天天酷跑 (WeRun) 16 Tencent China Action, Adventure
9 The Simpsons™:
Tapped Out
4 Electronic Arts United States Simulation, Adventure
10 Slotomania 3 Caesars Entertainment United States Card, Casino
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

天天酷跑 (WeRun) already reached the #1 position in the previous Games Index for its iOS downloads.  By November 2013, this side-scrolling endless runner from Tencent also was monetizing well, reaching the Top 10 in iOS game revenue.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueGoogle Play November 2013

App Rank Change
vs. Oct 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 몬스터 길들이기
(Monster Taming)
- CJ Group South Korea Arcade & Action
4 Clash of Clans 5 Supercell Finland Arcade & Action
5 Pokopang - LINE / NHN Entertainment Japan / South Korea Brain & Puzzle
6 魔法使いと黒猫の
ウィズ (The World of Mystic Wiz)
- COLOPL Japan Casual
7 모두의마블 (Everybody's Marble) for Kakao 3 CJ Group South Korea Casual
8 (쿠키런) Cookie Run
for Kakao
1 Devsisters South Korea Casual
9 神魔之塔
(Tower of Saviors)
3 Mad Head Hong Kong Brain & Puzzle
10 Pet Rescue Saga - King United Kingdom Casual
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Already released on iOS well over a year ago, Clash of Clans made a strong debut performance on Google Play in October, which was followed by additional revenue growth in November.  This is one of the few games to have blockbuster crossover success in the two very different countries of the United States and Japan.  With the game showing strong legs on Google Play and with Supercell adding holiday-themed elements in early December, Clash of Clans is poised for a strong finish to 2013.

Kakao continued to be a strong platform for gaming in South Korea and a critical component for publishers looking to expand internationally into the country’s lucrative market.  Pokopang, already one of the most popular games in Japan, was the latest success story.  Released on the Kakao platform in October, the game saw significant growth in Google Play revenue in South Korea from October to November.

For those of you who also are looking for an update on top apps other than games, please check out the November 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 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 October to 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.

December 18, 2013

Market Data
Mobile Gaming

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