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App Annie Index for South Korea: Games - In The World Of Kakao, “Cookie Run” Runs The Show

App Annie

This App Annie Games Index for South Korea brings you the hottest mobile gaming properties across both the iOS App Store and Google Play for this special region in May 2013. To find out what’s happening with games and apps globally, please check out our other May 2013 App Annie Index reports for Games and Apps, and also our special Index report on games in Japan.

South Korea is a unique app marketplace in that domestic publishers dominate the competition. Of the twenty-seven unique games covered in this report, only seven of them were published by companies based outside of South Korea. Games published for the Kakao platform were supporting this trend, with 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao leading the way as the most downloaded game in South Korea in both the iOS App Store and Google Play for May 2013. Kakao has since announced in July 2013 that it surpassed 100 million users, further cementing its position as the leading mobile platform in South Korea.

Another interesting dynamic in the South Korea app market is the volatility of their top download charts. Of the fourteen unique games featured in the top-downloaded game charts for the iOS App Store and Google Play, all but one were released between April and May. Kakao has proven to be a very effective distribution platform that can quickly catapult an app to the top of the rankings.

Top Game Apps by Monthly Downloads in South Korea
iOS May 2013

Game Rank Change vs. April 2013 Publisher Headquarters Category
1 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao - Devsisters South Korea Racing, Adventure
2 김준현의 공기놀이 (Kim Jun Hyun's Marble Tournament) for Kakao N/A* C2DGames South Korea Action, Arcade
3 다함께 퐁퐁퐁 (Everybody pong pong pong) for Kakao N/A* CJ E&M South Korea N/A**
4 날아라 팬더비행단 (Flying Panda) for Kakao N/A* WeMade South Korea Arcade, Family
5 Iron Man 3 - The Official Game 2 Gameloft France Arcade, Action
6 Dark Avenger N/A* GAMEVIL South Korea Adventure, Role Playing
7 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao 5 CJ E&M South Korea Simulation, Sports
8 드래곤 베인 (Dragon Bane) (무료 판타지 MMORPG) N/A* com.digitalcloud China Strategy, Role Playing
9 Fast & Furious 6: The Game N/A* Kabam United States Racing, Action
10 에어헌터 (Air Hunter) for Kakao 4 WeMade South Korea Arcade, Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* The following games were released in May 2013, so there are no rank changes vs. April 2013: 김준현의 공기놀이 (Jump Animal) for Kakao, 다함께 퐁퐁퐁 (Everybody pong pong pong) for Kakao, 날아라 팬더비행단 (Flying Panda) for Kakao, Dark Avenger, 드래곤 베인 (Dragon Bane) (무료 판타지 MMORPG), 에어헌터 (Air Hunter) for Kakao ** 다함께 퐁퐁퐁 (Everybody pong pong pong) for Kakao is not categorized under any game subcategories in the iOS App Store.

 

Local publishers held a firm grip on the top-ranked iOS games in South Korea by downloads, taking the top four spots and seven of the top ten. The only foreign publishers to make the top ten were from France (Gameloft), China (com.digitalcloud) and the United States (Kabam). Every game developed by a South Korean publisher except for Dark Avenger at #6 was designed for Kakao, a popular Korean social networking platform.

The volatility of this market is evidenced by the fact that six of the top ten iOS games by downloads were launched in May and the remaining four games were released in April, but one constant was 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao maintaining its position at #1. Iron Man 3 - the Official Game from French publisher Gameloft climbed two spots to #5 after it was launched on April 25th, one day before the South Korean premiere of Iron Man 3 in theaters.

Two new games in the top ten, GAMEVIL’s Dark Avenger at #6 and com.digitalcloud’s 드래곤 베인 (Dragon Bane) at #8, were featured on the iTunes Home Page for South Korea in May, and Dark Avenger was actually featured in twenty-two additional countries as well. Dark Avenger, which was released on May 2, 2013 and already translated for global distribution, debuted as a highly ranked app in a number of other markets in addition to South Korea. Chinese publisher com.digitalcloud released the Chinese version of Dragon Bane in July 2012, but this popular MMORPG title was not published in English and Japanese until April 2013, followed closely by its May launch in South Korea.

Cookie Run for Kakao maintains top ranking in South Korea for second straight month

Top Game Apps by Monthly Downloads in South Korea
Google Play May 2013

Game Rank Change vs. April 2013 Publisher Headquarters Category
1 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao - Devsisters South Korea Casual
2 김준현의 공기놀이 (Kim Jun Hyun's Marble Tournament) for Kakao N/A* (주)씨투디게임즈 (C2DGames) South Korea Arcade & Action
3 날아라 팬더 비행단 (Flying Panda) for Kakao N/A* WeMade South Korea Casual
4 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao 2 CJ E&M South Korea Sports Games
5 에어헌터 (Air Hunter) for Kakao 14 WeMade South Korea Arcade & Action
6 이사만루2013 (Two down, bases filled 2013) KBO 279 GAMEVIL South Korea Sports Games
7 전국민알까기 (Al Gga Gii Nation) for Kakao N/A* NETCHANNEL South Korea Arcade & Action
8 kick the monster N/A* 21g. South Korea Casual
9 모두의 퀴즈 - 사진연상 단어 (Everyone's Photo Quiz) N/A* ChaosEdge South Korea Brain & Puzzle
10 Iron Man 3 - The Official Game 112 Gameloft France Arcade & Action
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

  * The following games were released in May 2013, so there are no rank changes vs. April 2013: 김준현의 공기놀이 (Jump Animal) for Kakao, 날아라 팬더 비행단 (Flying Panda) for Kakao, 전국민알까기 (Al Gga Gii Nation) for Kakao, kick the monster, 모두의 퀴즈 - 사진연상 단어 (Everyone's Photo Quiz)

Even more than iOS, local South Korean publishers dominated the Google Play download rankings for May. Only one foreign publisher, Gameloft, cracked the top ten. Even then, its Iron Man 3 - the Official Game had to climb 112 spots in May to reach #10. Iron Man 3 - the Official Game is also the only game by a foreign publisher that ranked in the top 10 monthly downloads for both the iOS App Store and Google Play.

Similar to the top of the iOS monthly downloads ranking, games produced for the Kakao platform dominated the top of the charts. 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao retained the top position followed by four more games designed for Kakao.

South Korea’s appetite for new games seems voracious with five of the top 10 games by Google Play downloads launching in May. 김준현의 공기놀이 (Kim Jun Hyun's Marble Tournament) for Kakao, which launched in mid-May, debuted at the #2 position in the chart. 김준현의 공기놀이 (Kim Jun Hyun's Marble Tournament) for Kakao was promoted by the involvement of Kim Jun Hyun, a famous comedian in South Korea who is featured in the game.


Famous comedian Kim Jun Hyun is featured in 김준현의 공기놀이 (Kim Jun Hyun's Marble Tournament) for Kakao

Baseball season is in full swing in South Korea right now and May saw 이사만루2013 (Two down, bases filled 2013) KBO (the Korea Baseball Organization) climb 279 spots to rank #6 in Google Play downloads for May. 이사만루2013 (Two down, bases filled 2013) KBO joined another game officially licensed by the KBO, 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013), but these two games are taking different design approaches to appeal to their audiences. 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) has a cartoonish design, while 이사만루2013 (Two down, bases filled 2013) KBO has bet that more realistic graphics will resonate with KBO fans.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly Revenue in South Korea
iOS May 2013

Game Rank Change vs. April 2013 Publisher Headquarters Game Subcategory
1 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao 7 CJ E&M South Korea Simulation, Sports
2 밀리언아서 (Million Arthur) 1 Actoz Soft South Korea Strategy, Card
3 윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao 1 WeMade South Korea Adventure, Action
4 퍼즐앤드래곤 (Puzzle & Dragons) - GungHo Online Japan Puzzle, Role Playing
5 헬로히어로 (Hello Hero) for Kakao 2 Fincon South Korea Role Playing
6 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao 1 Devsisters South Korea Racing, Adventure
7 Clash of Clans 5 Supercell Finland Strategy, Action
8 데빌메이커: 도쿄 (Devil Maker Tokyo) for Kakao 2 palmple South Korea Role Playing, Card
9 웅패천지 (Kingdom Overlords) 1 com.digitalcloud China Role Playing, Strategy
10 카드의 신 삼국지 (New Three Kingdoms Card) 1 RedAtoms,Inc. China Role Playing
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao, released in early April, jumped seven spots to become the top ranked game by iOS App Store revenue in May. #2 ranked 밀리언아서 (Million Arthur) is the Korean version of the popular Japanese card battle game by Square Enix who partnered with Actoz Soft for their South Korean release.


마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) players can play by themselves or have the option of challenging a friend to a game.

Five of the top 10 ranked games by iOS App Store revenue in May belonged to the Role Playing Strategy category, including the Japanese smash hit, Puzzle & Dragons, which held on to its #4 ranking. Supercell’s Clash of Clans climbed five spots to rank #7 and became the second highest revenue generating game in the top 10 developed outside of South Korea. GungHo Online and Supercell also announced that their blockbuster games Puzzle & Dragons, Clash of Clans, and Hay Day would include special cross-promotional features for two weeks starting June 24.

Fincon, the publisher of 헬로히어로 (Hello Hero) for Kakao, ranked #5 for revenue in the iOS App Store for May 2013 (and #6 for revenue in Google Play), has partnered with publisher GameOn for this 3D role playing game’s Japanese release this summer. Similarly, Japanese publisher Pokelabo has announced a summer launch for Palmple’s #8 ranked 데빌메이커: 도쿄 (Devil Maker Tokyo) for Kakao in Japan.

com.digitalcloud’s 웅패천지 (Kingdom Overlords), along with their title 드래곤 베인 (Dragon Bane) (currently #9 by iOS App Store downloads for May in South Korea), have been translated and released in Chinese, Japanese, English and Korean. While Dragon Bane’s English version targets the US market, 웅패천지 (Kingdom Overlords)’s English version has been launched for Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

 

Top Game Apps by Monthly Revenue in South Korea
Google Play May 2013

Game Rank Change vs. April 2013 Publisher Headquarters Game Subcategory
1 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao 2 Devsisters South Korea Casual
2 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao 3 CJ E&M South Korea Sports Games
3 윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao 2 WeMade South Korea Arcade & Action
4 다함께 차차차 (Everybody Cha Cha Cha) for Kakao 2 CJ E&M South Korea Casual
5 Anipang for Kakao 2 SUNDAYTOZ South Korea Brain & Puzzle
6 헬로히어로 (Hello Hero) for Kakao 2 Fincon South Korea Casual
7 다함께 퐁퐁퐁 (Everybody pong pong pong) for Kakao 4 CJ E&M South Korea Casual
8 에브리타운 (Every Town) for Kakao 2 WeMade South Korea Casual
9 활 (Arrow) for Kakao - 4:33 South Korea Arcade & Action
10 피쉬프렌즈 (Fish Friends) for Kakao 2 NHN South Korea Sports Games
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

South Korean game app publishers swept the rankings on Google Play revenue in May. 쿠키런 (Cookie Run) for Kakao rose 2 spots to take the #1 position and 마구마구2013 (Magu Magu 2013) for Kakao jumped 2 spots to take #2. Every title in the top 10 game apps by monthly revenue was published for the Kakao platform and five of the top 10 are included in the Casual category. 윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao ranked #3 in both the iOS App Store and Google Play for monthly revenue in May. Windrunner was published in Japan for LINE, a Japanese popular social networking platform and also performed strongly in the App Annie Japan Games Index for May 2013.


윈드러너 (Windrunner) for Kakao ranked #3 in the top 10 games by monthly revenue in South Korea in both the iOS App Store and Google Play.

Anipang for Kakao rose a couple spots to claim the #5 spot on the list. One of the two earliest games on the Kakao platform released in July 2012, this match 3 puzzle game quickly shot up the ranking and has been a model of consistency despite the volatility of rankings for new games released for Kakao in this category. Anipang for Kakao has ranked in the top 10 overall apps for South Korea every month since September 2012.

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 information are available to all users through App Annie Store Stats .
  • 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 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.

July 25, 2013

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