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App Annie Index: Games - Publishers Begin Their Global Gaming Journey

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 the overall market and apps outside of games, please check out our Q3 2013 Market Index and September 2013 Apps Index.

Major Moves by The World’s Top Game Publishers

The fall kicked off in a major way when three of the world’s top game publishers made headlines. Electronic Arts got the ball rolling on September 17th when their board of directors announced that Andrew Wilson was chosen to step up as the publisher’s new CEO. Wilson began his tenure at EA in 2000 and became the first studio executive to serve as CEO after acting as the executive vice president in charge of EA SPORTS for the past 2 years. Later in the month, rumors of a King IPO hit fever pitch as journalists reported that King filed a secret IPO with the SEC. The publisher of the runaway hit game Candy Crush Saga has not commented on the rumors, but investors have already begun speculating about the company’s potential on the market. The mobile industry might have been talking about a potential King IPO for months, but the headlines about Supercell and GungHo Online caught many by surprise. In the middle of October, Supercell’s CEO Ilkka Paananen announced that they received a $1.5 billion investment from SoftBank and GungHo Online in exchange for a 51% stake. Supercell and GungHo Online worked together earlier in the summer on a cross-promotion campaign for their hit games Clash of Clans and Puzzle & Dragons, and now that relationship is poised to deepen as they help each other expand their global audience.

Machine Zone Translates Global Audience Into Revenue

Machine Zone’s Game of War - Fire Age includes a translation feature that has helped it gain significant traction since its release in late July. One of the biggest hurdles that publishers face when trying to build a global audience for their game is the language barrier that prevents users from communicating with each other. Instead of creating localized versions of their game for different languages and markets, Machine Zone decided to tackle the problem head on with a real-time chat translation feature that lets users from across the globe communicate with each other seamlessly. The translation isn’t perfect, but it is customized to recognize different dialects of gamer-speak because each language has its own set of unique colloquialisms. Machine Zone CEO & Co-Founder Gabriel Leydon spoke with App Annie about the impact of their breakthrough translation technology:

"Game of War - Fire Age’s global success is a testament to our single-world real-time technology and our translation service's ability to create a truly global game without compromising on the depth of the experience. Machine Zone is proving that real time hardcore games can become global successes on mobile."

If Game of War - Fire Age continues to climb the revenue rankings and grow its community on an international scale, the success of Machine Zone’s massive multiplayer online mobile app might serve as an inflection point for the way the mobile gaming industry approaches localization and scalability.

The WeChat Effect: Tencent Opens Up Its Platform to Mobile Gaming

The Game Center update Tencent applied to WeChat in early August has already shaken up the iOS App Store rankings. Every country received WeChat’s new stickers and friend discovery feature, but only users in China received the game center update that integrated in-app payments and social gaming features similar to other leading chat apps. Promoted within WeChat and powered by their new social gaming features, 天天爱消除 (WeMatch) became Tencent’s first title to break into the top downloaded games in August and 节奏大师 (Rhythm Masters) followed suit by breaking into the Top 10 in September. As Tencent launches more games on WeChat and expands the game center to include third-party publishers, China’s influence on the App Annie Games Index could significantly increase.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsiOS September 2013
Publisher Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Electronic Arts - United States 818
2 Gameloft - France 218
3 Disney 1 United States 357
4 Tencent 3 China 131
5 King 1 United Kingdom 6
6 Glu Mobile 25 United States 102
7 Tiny Piece 4 China 170
8 Storm8 6 United States 38
9 TabTale 1 Israel 190
10 Rovio 5 Finland 37
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Electronic Arts held on to their position as the top publisher by monthly game downloads in the iOS App Store in September after another strong showing from their hit game Plants vs. Zombies 2. They were also helped by the launch of FIFA 14’s mobile app, which debuted in the Top 10 most downloaded games on the iOS App Store in September. The launch of FIFA 14 also coincided with the promotion of the man who used to be the Executive Producer of the FIFA franchise. EA announced on September 17th that Andrew Wilson would be stepping up to take over the reins as CEO. The move also meant that after the August Apps Index covered Brian McAndrews’ appointment at Pandora, September became the second month in a row where a #1 ranked mobile app publisher introduced a new CEO.

Tencent continued its ascension in the iOS App Store publisher download rankings by climbing 3 spots to reach the Top 4. Tencent broke into the top publishers by monthly downloads for the iOS App Store last month with the success of 天天爱消除 (WeMatch), but 节奏大师 (Rhythm Masters) primarily drove the publisher’s growth this month. The thread connecting both of these games is that they were launched on WeChat’s new game center. WeChat’s update on August 5th added a number of features, but only users within China received the new game center that integrated in-app payments and social gaming features similar to LINE, KakaoTalk, and GREE.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game DownloadsGoogle Play September 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Gameloft - France 96
2 King 1 United Kingdom 7
3 Tiny Piece 1 China 99
4 Rovio - Finland 19
5 Electronic Arts - United States 143
6 Kiloo 4 Denmark 2
7 Imangi Studios - United States 2
8 Halfbrick Studios - Australia 7
9 Zakeh 3 Lebanon 1
10 Storm8 1 United States 41
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

UK-based publisher King rose one spot in the rankings to become September’s second most downloaded publisher on Google Play. Their rise in the rankings over this year has been fueled by the success of their hit game Candy Crush Saga, but the growth in downloads for Pet Rescue Saga helped solidify their position at #2 in September. Pet Rescue Saga’s rise in the rankings gave King two of the Top 5 most downloaded apps on Google Play in September, which will be good news for investors if the current IPO rumors are true. The Telegraph broke the news in the UK when they reported that King filed a secret IPO with the SEC at the end of the month. King has declined to comment on the rumors, but if they are true, it would be the second major secret tech IPO filing in September after Twitter revealed that they secretly filed on September 12th.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueiOS September 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 Supercell - Finland 2
2 King - United Kingdom 6
3 GungHo Online - Japan 46
4 Electronic Arts - United States 818
5 GREE 1 Japan 96
6 Gameloft 1 France 218
7 Kabam 1 United States 13
8 LINE 3 Japan 94
9 Storm8 - United States 38
10 Big Fish Games 1 United States 983
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Supercell, the top grossing game publisher in the iOS App Store for each month since February 2013, announced on October 15th that they accepted a $1.5 billion investment from SoftBank and fellow top publisher GungHo Online. In return for their investment, SoftBank and GungHo Online received a 51% stake in the Finnish publisher whose hit apps Clash of Clans and Hay Day have both ranked in the Top 4 grossing iOS App Store games since the beginning of the year. This isn’t the first time Supercell and GungHo Online have worked together though. The June Games Index looked at a cross-promotion they ran between their top games, Clash of Clans and Puzzle & Dragons, and with their new partnership, further collaborations are surely in the cards. The goal of the investment and deeper collaboration with GungHo Online was to accelerate their progress towards creating the first truly global games company, though Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen and SoftBank President Masayoshi Son made it clear in the announcement that Supercell would continue to operate independently.

 


Top Publishers by Monthly Game RevenueGoogle Play September 2013

Publisher Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. non-games)
1 GungHo Online - Japan 39
2 CJ E&M 1 South Korea 106
3 LINE 1 Japan 106
4 COLOPL 3 Japan 129
5 King 1 United Kingdom 7
6 DeNA 1 Japan 277
7 GREE 1 Japan 125
8 Devsisters 6 South Korea 1
9 Kabam - United States 13
10 WeMade 2 South Korea 31
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

GungHo Online continued to lead with another strong month from Puzzle & Dragons in Japan, and Japanese publishers continued to dominate the Top 10 by taking 5 of the Top 7 positions in the ranking. 몬스터 길들이기 (Monster Taming) for Kakao joined 모두의마블 (Everybody's Marble) for Kakao in the top grossing games on Google Play this month, propelling CJ E&M into the #2 position. Another South Korean-based publisher, Devsisters, rejoined the top grossing publishers on Google Play for the first time since the June Games Index after a strong month from their game 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao.

COLOPL rose 3 spots in the rankings to land at #4 after 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The Worlds of Mystic Wiz) joined the top grossing games on Google Play in September. プロ野球 (Professional Baseball) PRIDE also helped COLOPL earn their position in the rankings as the Nippon Professional Baseball regular season came to a close and moved into their postseason in October.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsiOS September 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 - Electronic Arts United States Adventure, Strategy
2 Candy Crush Saga 1 King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
3 Despicable Me: Minion Rush 1 Gameloft France Arcade, Action
4 Where's My Water? 2 N/A* Disney United States Puzzle
5 Deer Hunter 2014 N/A* Glu Mobile United States Simulation, Action
6 节奏大师 (Rhythm Masters) 122 Tencent China Action, Music
7 Pet Rescue Saga 38 King United Kingdom Puzzle, Arcade
8 FIFA 14 N/A Electronic Arts United States Sports, Action
9 Grand Theft Auto: iFruit N/A* Take Two Interactive United States Action, Arcade
10 Subway Surfers 2 Kiloo Denmark Arcade, Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Where’s My Water? 2, Deer Hunter 2014, FIFA 14, and Grand Theft Auto: iFruit were released in September 2013, so there are no rank changes vs. August 2013.

 

Plants vs. Zombies 2, Candy Crush Saga, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush remained at the top of the rankings for the most downloaded games in the iOS App Store, but September saw 6 new games enter the Top 10 that either launched in September or weren’t in the August rankings. Five of the six new games belong to either the Arcade or Action categories, giving those two categories a total of eight of the Top 10 most downloaded games. The addition of FIFA 14 and Pet Rescue Saga made Electronic Arts and King the only publishers with more than 1 game in the Top 10.

After Where’s My Mickey? Free debuted in the August Games Index Top 10 most downloaded games on the iOS App Store, Disney released the sequel to their hit game Where’s My Water? on September 12th. In just 19 days, Where’s My Water? 2 was downloaded enough times to lead the new apps and earn the #4 ranking among the most downloaded games on the iOS App Store. Where’s My Water? 2 features the same familiar characters and style of physics-based puzzles as the original game, but also includes new environments, types of puzzles, and challenges to overcome. One of the biggest differences from the original game is that Disney launched Where’s My Water? as a paid download before offering a free version, whereas they fully embraced the freemium business model for the sequel. Users have an energy meter that depletes as they progress through the game. Once the energy has run out they can decide whether they would like to wait until the energy replenishes on its own, earn energy by connecting and sharing the game with friends on Facebook, or purchase energy with the credit card connected to their iTunes account.

Another game making its debut in the Top 10 is the latest release for a franchise that is over 15 years old. The original Deer Hunter was released on the PC in 1997 and proceeded to spawn over 20 games for different platforms before Glu Mobile acquired the franchise in 2012. Deer Hunter 2014 is the sequel to Glu Mobile’s first title in the franchise, Deer Hunter Reloaded, and includes new weapons, hunting grounds, and game modes. It’s the first Glu Mobile title to be launched on their new GluOn technology infrastructure, which enabled them to add a social game mode called Club Hunts where users work with friends to complete objectives and earn rewards. Deer Hunter 2014 was featured as one of the “Best New Games” on the iOS App Store homepage in over 100 countries and set records for Glu Mobile with over 1 million downloads on the first day and over 5 million downloads in the first week.

For the second month in a row, Tencent had a new game break into the Top 10. 天天爱消除 (WeMatch) debuted at #4 in the August top games by monthly iOS App Store downloads and September saw 节奏大师 (Rhythm Master) land at #6. 节奏大师 (Rhythm Master) is a virtual orchestra studio game that was released in May 2012, but its growth in September was attributable to Tencent’s update on September 1st that integrated the game into their QQ Mobile and WeChat social game center platforms. As just the fourth game in the WeChat social game center, the visibility catapulted 节奏大师 (Rhythm Master) to the top of the iOS App Store rankings in China:

 

Rhythm Master Chart
The exposure to WeChat’s user base through their new game center launched 节奏大师 (Rhythm Master) to the top of the rankings in China.

 

Pet Rescue Saga was released in mid-June and quickly rose to become the #3 most downloaded game on the iOS App Store in the July Games Index. After the match-three puzzle game’s launch cooled down and it fell out of the Top 10 in August, King made a push to promote Pet Rescue Saga in September. They began by launching a TV commercial campaign and also leveraged their existing fan base by cross-promoting the game in the notifications for Candy Crush Saga. King’s strategy paid off as Pet Rescue Saga rapidly ascended the ranks in the iOS App Store:

 

Pet Rescue Saga Chart
King’s promotion campaign and TV commercial for Pet Rescue Saga drove significant growth in September.

 

The last two new titles to enter the Top 10 games by monthly downloads in the iOS App Store were extensions of highly anticipated console video game launches. EA’s FIFA 14 and Take Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto: iFruit debuted at #8 and #9, respectively, but the two publishers took very different approaches with their mobile game experience. Similar to EA’s Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14 mirrors the console game experience and lets users play a freemium version of the game with controls designed specifically for the mobile platform. While EA decided to mirror their gaming experience on the mobile platform, Take Two Interactive chose to fully integrate Grand Theft Auto: iFruit into the console experience. Grand Theft Auto V owners could use the app in two distinct ways. The Los Santos Customs part of the app customizes cars that the user can drive in the console game, and the second part of the game is called Chop the Dog. Chop is the main character’s pet rottweiler in Grand Theft Auto V and the mobile app lets you feed, walk, and play with him. If Chop is a happy pup in Grand Theft Auto: iFruit, he becomes more helpful and responsive in the console experience, even performing tricks and sniffing out hidden objects in the game.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly DownloadsGoogle Play September 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Aug 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 Pou - Zakeh Lebanon Casual
5 Pet Rescue Saga 8 King United Kingdom Casual
6 Temple Run 2 1 Imangi Studios United States Arcade & Action
7 Bunny Skater 144 Candy Mobile United States Arcade & Action
8 Fruit Ninja Free 1 Halfbrick Studios Australia Arcade & Action
9 Hill Climb Racing - Fingersoft Finland Racing
10 Angry Birds 2 Rovio Finland Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

The top 4 most downloaded games on Google Play retained their position in the ranks from August, and 2 new games joined the Top 10 in September. Pet Rescue Saga’s TV commercial helped them climb 8 spots to land at #5 while Candy Mobile’s Bunny Skater climbed an impressive 144 spots to land at #7. Bunny Skater is a side-scrolling skateboarding game that was released in late August and quickly found traction across a number of countries around the world.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueiOS September 2013

Game Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 Clash of Clans - Supercell Finland Strategy, Action
2 Candy Crush Saga - King United Kingdom Arcade, Puzzle
3 Puzzle & Dragons - GungHo Online Japan Role Playing, Puzzle
4 Hay Day - Supercell Finland Simulation, Family
5 Game of War - Fire Age 16 Machine Zone United States Role Playing, Strategy
6 The Simpsons™:
Tapped Out
1 Electronic Arts United States Simulation, Adventure
7 Pet Rescue Saga 26 King United Kingdom Puzzle, Arcade
8 Modern War 5 GREE Japan Strategy, Role Playing
9 The Hobbit: Kingdoms
of Middle-earth
- Kabam United States Simulation, Strategy
10 Big Fish Casino 2 Big Fish Games United States Card, Casino
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Led by Supercell’s Clash of Clans in the #1 spot, the Top 4 grossing games on the iOS App Store each retained their position in the rankings from August. Pet Rescue Saga rose 26 spots to land at #7 and made King the only publisher besides Supercell to have more than 1 game in the Top 10. While the Arcade and Action categories dominated the Top 10 most downloaded games on the iOS App Store, the Strategy and Role-Playing categories accounted for half of the Top 10 grossing games.

The newest game to join the Top 10 in September was US-based Machine Zone’s Game of War - Fire Age, which rose 16 spots to land at #5. Machine Zone’s vision for Game of War - Fire Age is unabashedly ambitious: they are trying to create the first truly global massive multiplayer online mobile app. Their silver bullet for accomplishing this goal is a feature within the game that instantaneously translates text-based chat so players from around the world can more easily communicate with each other.

 

Machine Zone Pic
Machine Zone’s translation feature is designed to help gamers cross language barriers and create a truly global community of gamers.

 

This translation feature earned them coverage in a number of media outlets, including the New York Times, but also likely influenced Apple to feature the app on the iOS App Store homepage in over 140 countries the week it debuted in late July. This aggressive launch sparked a steady climb in its revenue rankings:

 

Game of War - Fire Age Chart
Game of War - Fire Age skyrocketed in the ranks of top grossing apps in not only the US, but also the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, and other countries.

 


Top Game Apps by Monthly RevenueGoogle Play September 2013

App Rank Change
vs. Aug 2013
Publisher Headquarters Subcategory
1 パズル&ドラゴンズ
(Puzzle & Dragons)
- GungHo Online Japan Brain & Puzzle
2 몬스터 길들이기 (Monster
Taming) for Kakao
19 CJ E&M South Korea Arcade & Action
3 LINE Pokopang - LINE Japan Brain & Puzzle
4 모두의마블 (Everybody's
Marble) for Kakao
- CJ E&M South Korea Casual
5 Candy Crush Saga 3 King United Kingdom Casual
6 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao - Devsisters South Korea Casual
7 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ
(The Worlds of Mystic Wiz)
9 COLOPL Japan Casual
8 神魔之塔 (Tower of Saviors) 2 Mad Head Hong Kong Brain & Puzzle
9 チェインクロニクル (Chain Chronicles) 21 SEGA Japan Arcade & Action
10 LINE POP 2 LINE Japan Brain & Puzzle
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

GungHo Online’s Puzzle & Dragons continued to hold on to the #1 ranking among the top grossing games on Google Play in September and publishers based in Asia continued to dominate by publishing 9 of the Top 10 games. With the revenue for each of the games by publishers in Japan and South Korea primarily driven by users who live in each respective country, it’s easy to see how those two markets topped the country rankings for Google Play revenue in the Q3 Market Index.

몬스터 길들이기 (Monster Taming) for Kakao rose 19 spots to earn the #2 ranking and gave CJ E&M 2 of the Top 5 grossing games on Google Play in September. Launched in mid-August, the role-playing arcade game quickly climbed the ranks in South Korea after CJ E&M cross-promoted the app in 모두의마블 (Everybody's Marble) for Kakao and 다함께 차차차 (Everybody ChaChaCha) for Kakao. 몬스터 길들이기 (Monster Taming) for Kakao also gained traction due to the social elements integrated into the gameplay that let users help their friends and chat in real time.

Two new games in the Top 10 were featured on the Google Play homepage from late August through the end of September in Japan. 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The Worlds of Mystic Wiz) by COLOPL climbed 9 spots to land at #7 on the top Google Play games by monthly revenue in Sep
tember. The role-playing game challenges users to tackle quests and battle each other in games of trivia. The gross revenue ranking for 魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The Worlds of Mystic Wiz) spiked in Japan after Google began featuring it on Japan’s Google Play homepage on August 20th:

 

Wiz Chart
魔法使いと黒猫のウィズ (The Worlds of Mystic Wiz) was the second COLOPL game to break into the Top 10 grossing games on Google Play in September.

 

チェインクロニクル (Chain Chronicles) helped SEGA become a top grossing publisher on Google Play in the August Games Index and rose 21 spots to become the #9 grossing game on Google Play in September. チェインクロニクル (Chain Chronicles) is a card battle game that combines elements of tower defense to let users team up with friends to defeat waves of enemies. Since its release in late July, チェインクロニクル (Chain Chronicles) steadily climbed the revenue rankings, eventually earning a featured position on Japan’s Google Play homepage starting August 28th:

 

Chain Chronicles Chart
SEGA’s チェインクロニクル (Chain Chronicles) has made significant growth in Japan, the world’s top grossing market on Google Play each quarter in 2013.

 

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 the overall market and apps outside of games, please check out our Q3 2013 Market Index and September 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. Daily rank history charts and home page feature app data that is 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.
  • Up until now, publisher rankings in the App Annie Games Index and Apps Index have been based on apps that ranked in the Top 1,000. Effective with September 2013 data, publisher rankings are based on publishers' full set of apps.
  • 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 MARVEL War of Heroes game is reported under its parent publisher DeNA, rather than its direct publisher Mobage. Note that if you view the DeNA publisher page on Store Stats, you will see the apps that are published directly by the DeNa publisher account. The MARVEL War of Heroes game will be listed separately under the Mobage publisher page.
  • Apps with different names are ranked separately. For example, Angry Birds and Angry Birds HD are ranked as two separate apps.
  • 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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October 30, 2013

Market Data
Mobile Gaming

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