Chart reveals 45% less game variety as number of most popular games drops from 47 to 26
New research from Mobiles.co.uk has revealed that variety in the games section of Apple’s UK App Store has fallen by 45% since 2011, as a handful of developers dominate the charts.
The research identifies the games which most commonly appeared in the top ten positions of the App Store’s Highest Grossing games every month from January 2011 up to New Year’s Eve 20151.
As the table below shows, in both 2011 and 2012, 47 games appeared in the 120 available end-of-month chart positions, compared to only 26 in 2015. A drop in the number of publishers appearing in the same charts follows an almost identical pattern, with a fall from 34 to 20.
The table below shows the number of games and publishers appearing in the Highest Grossing section of the App Store between 2011 and 2015 as well as the most popular games during this period.
|Year||Games||Publishers||Most popular games|
|2011||47||34||Angry Birds, Zynga Poker – Texas Holdem, Smurfs Village, Tap Pet Zoo, Tap Zoo Classic|
|2012||47||32||Bejeweled Blitz, Smurf’s Village, Zynga Poker – Texas Holdem, Angry Birds, Kingdoms of Camelot – Battle for the North|
|2013||26||19||Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Hay Day, The Simpsons: Tapped out, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth|
|2014||32||23||Candy Crush Saga, Hay Day, Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Game of War- Fire Age|
|2015||26||20||Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Game of War – Fire Age, Boom Beach|
2014 saw a slight increase in game figures, with 32 different titles occupying the 120 available positions. It was also the year that the dominance of King was challenged by Supercell. In 2014 King (Candy Crush Soda Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, etc.) or Supercell (Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, etc) took 57 of the 120 available places on the chart. More recently, 2015 saw only 26 games from 20 different publishers crack the monthly top 10 of the Highest Grossing chart.
The IPs appearing most frequently between 2011 and 2015 are Candy Crush (57), Clash of Clans (41), Game of War (27), Hay Day (24), The Simpsons: Tapped Out (24), Boom Beach (21) and Zynga Poker- Texas Holdem (21).
The research illustrates how the popularity of mobile gaming has led to the creation and success of mobile-first entertainment brands. Back in 2011, although Angry Birds and Tap Zoo were the most successful games of the year, other IPs performing well enough to crack the Highest Grossing chart started life as console or browser games (Football Manager, Zynga Poker and Call of Duty) or elsewhere (Smurfs, Where’s Wally?). However, in 2014 and 2015 the most popular IPs were created mobile-first, including Boom Beach, Hay Day and Kim Kardashian Hollywood.
No IP saw a greater change in popularity than Angry Birds. In Mobiles.co.uk’s table, Angry Birds games appear 12 times in 2011 and five times in 2012, before disappearing from 2013 onwards. Tellingly, Angry Birds’ fall from the charts correlates with the rise of free-to-play gaming, a business model Angry Birds’ developer, Rovio, has struggled to adopt.
In 2011, 53% of games in the Highest Grossing chart were free-to-play (not including in-app purchases), before rising to 82% in 2012, 93% in 2013 and 98% in 2014, before dropping to 97% in 2015.
Commenting on the research, Abby Francis, spokesperson for mobiles.co.uk said: “While the mobile gaming industry isn’t as diverse as it once was, it’s interesting to see how it’s changed in such a short amount of time. It’s clear that a few years ago developers were trying to bring console gaming to mobile devices and, as the data suggests, it wasn’t working. Now the most successful games are those whose play style, business model and IP are built mobile-first.
“Although the lack of variety in the Highest Grossing chart could appear to be negative, we think it is worth bearing in mind that while the most successful games might look similar, the mobile-first approach enables users to enjoy gaming that is purposely built for the smartphone platform. While console gaming is incredibly popular, the format is more suited to the TV screen.”