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Insights from Top 50 Mobile Game Apps in App Store, 2018 H1

AppBi 2018-11-02 News 1239

Mobile Game is always the most popular category in App Store. Developers and publishers released hundreds of millions of mobile game apps every year, so it is important to understand which game apps are prevalent and able to monetize in a crowd world. 

AppBi looks at the most popular mobile games in App Store among China and U.S. population. Popularity is based on the total number of app downloads in the first half of 2018.

The 50 Most Popular Mobile Games

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According to AppBi, the three top-ranking games in App Store China, including "Identity V", "QQ Speed"and "Arena of Valor", have over 15 million downloads respectively. It's worth noting that "Identity V"was launched in App Store in April 2018. Apparently, it has attracted a lot of attention in the first quarter; however, whether it is able to maintain such downloads in the future remains to be seen. On the other hand, "Arena of Valor" still enjoys the high level of downloads. Another top mobile game worth to note is "旅かえる", which collected over 10 million downloads in 2018 H1, although it only provides the Japanese version. 

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Let's look at the top 50 most popular mobile games in the US-based App Store. "Fortnite" is the big winner in the first half of 2018, which gains more than 20 million downloads in United States. "Fortnite"has been available in App Store since March 2018. Players not only need to a device running iOS 11, but also have to get an invite to sign-up. Nevertheless, that does not prevent people from downloading it. The other mobile games are far behind. The second most popular mobile game, "Rules of Survival", for example, only gets nearly 6 million downloads at the same time. 

Top Mobile Game Categories

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There are many ways to segment mobile games. In order to discover the trend, we divide top 50 mobile games into five categories, Action, Simulation, Sport, Casual Game, and Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). According to AppBi's data, Simulation Game and Casual Game are most attractive among Chinese mobile gamers, while Casual Game and Action Game are most popular among U.S. players. 

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It indicates that mobile gamers in different countries have different preferences. U.S. players, for example, are evenly interest in all types of mobile games. In contrast, the preferences of Chinese gamers are clearer. There 34 casual or simulation games in the list of top 50 mobile games in China-based App Store. Obviously, Chinese players prefer to the mobile games that are easy to play rather than full of tension. 

Free vs. Paid

Mobile game monetization is the most important topic among developers and publishers. It is difficult to make the decision that offers a mobile game for free or paid. AppBi believes that the best strategy is free to download with diverse in-app purchase items. 

This is confirmed by the data. Almost all mobile games in the top list are free to download offering in-app purchase. That is true in both China-based and US-based App Store. There is only one free mobile game, "Bike Race: Free Style Games".  The hottest paid games, such as "Minecraft", also failed to enter the top list. 

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Is that means developers are wasting their time and cannot profit from their mobile game apps? AppBi’s data disclose the real story. The most popular mobile games also generate huge revenue for publishers and developers. For instance, "Arena of Valor" monetizes through selling hero, skin, gems, and more. 

In US-based App Store, "Candy Crush Saga" beats other games and becomes the most profitable mobile game. Compared with downloads, this casual game is obviously more successful in monetization. Therefore, AppBi takes close look at its business model. First of all, the players that are unwilling to purchase in app can get some rewards by watching ads. The players who do not like ads or are not willing to wait can buy virtual items to accelerate the process. Some players that squander time and money on the mobile game will be invited to PK. The strategy that differentiates mobile game players has been proven to be effective.

Search Ads for App Store -- should you use it?

It is well known that people are increasingly rely on their mobile devices and mobile internet users spend most of their internet time accessing apps. However, Apple is not the only spanand that has benefited from it. Android, the biggest competitor of iOS, is increasing the market share around the world. Correspondingly, Play Store is threatening the predominance of direct source of apps. 

On the other hand, people have more channels to search and discover mobile apps than ever before. Facebook, for example, was the top app install media source in 2016. 

The discovery occurring without Apple is one of the biggest motivations that Apple introduced Search Ads into App Store in 2016. 

App Store helps a lot of game developers and publishers monetize from their work. Nevertheless, our data indicated that it becomes more and more difficult to get downloads for individual game publisher. The downloads of "Fortnite"(1#) in US-based App Store, for example, are 16 times more than "War Robots" (50#). 

With Search Ads, the apps will be more accessible. According to reports, 65-80 percent of all app downloads happen after a search through the App Store. However, Apple announced that it won't create search profiles of users under the Search Ads. It means that app developers will need some professionals to optimize your mobile ads and keywords, for example, how to increase the relevance and prevalence. 

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