|Each month, the App Annie Index highlights the top-performing games and apps for the iOS App Store and Google Play. Our analysis covers trends among the leading apps across countries and categories, and is the industry standard for professionals looking to compare leading apps and publishers.
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This Month’s Top Performers
Raven Soars in South Korea
Korean giant Netmarble’s new action role-playing game (ARPG) Raven looks poised to become one of the company’s biggest hits since previous successes Seven Knights and Everybody’s Marble. Within a week of its Google Play release, Raven became the highest-grossing Google Play app in South Korea and held that title for the rest of the month. In fact, its #4 place on our March Worldwide Google Play revenue rankings is entirely due to South Korean gamers as the game has yet to be released elsewhere.
Unlike Netmarble’s previous cartoony hits, Raven drops gamers in a hostile 3D world with countless monsters and ghouls to battle. The game is visually reminiscent of ARPG console hit Dark Souls, while gameplay calls to mind hack-and-slash classic Diablo. Much like Korean publisher 4:33’s 2014 release titled BLADE, players control their character with an overlaid joystick-and-button scheme which emulates a console controller, aiding movement throughout the game’s detailed 3D world.
Shenwu Dominates Chinese MMO Scene
Much like Raven in South Korea, Shenwu earned a place on our top revenue charts thanks entirely to its success in one country: China. Shenwu, however, falls on the opposite end of the RPG spectrum as it is a complex massively multiplayer online (MMO) RPG attempting to bring the full PC MMO experience to mobile. One unique aspect of Shenwu’s monetization is its “lottery upgrade” feature which lets players gamble with their gear, a mechanic that has become increasingly common in many Asian PC MMORPGs. Players can try to make improvements to their items — with the risk that it could be destroyed entirely.
We look forward to seeing how well these games fare as their publishers release them in other markets. Netmarble plans to unveil Raven globally later this year. While Duoyi has yet to reveal plans for a wider release of Shenwu, we would not be surprised if the game’s success drives it to a wider release in other APAC countries sometime in 2015.
Mr Jump and aa Hop Aboard the Super Casual Train
While Chinese and Korean gamers embraced RPG-style complexity in March, the world as a whole continued to show a taste for the simple side. Last month we wrote about the continuing trend of single-touch “super casual” games, and the genre hasn’t lost any momentum.
At the forefront was 3-man indie developer 1Button’s Mr Jump, a brutally difficult tap-to-jump side-scrolling platformer. Unlike so-called “endless” runners, Mr Jump presents players with 12 distinct levels to jump through. Beating one level unlocks the next, although players can purchase keys to unlock the next level via in-app purchases.
aa by General Adaptive Apps was the month’s second super casual indie hit. The uniquely styled game reached #6 on our Worldwide iOS Downloads rankings. Unlike Mr Jump, aa’s popularity steadily grew over many months, beginning with its release in August of last year. aa is the first of 20 similar games in General Adaptive Apps’ “focus” series.
Ketchapp’s Success Continues
By now, any discussion of the super casual genre would be incomplete without mentioning Ketchapp, publisher of 2048, Stick Hero and ZigZag. Unsurprisingly, the publisher claimed two new spots on our March download charts. On iOS, endless jumper Jelly Jump entered the chart at #5. On Google Play, ZigZag entered at #7, echoing its February success on the iOS App Store (which we wrote about in February’s Index).
Companies of all sizes are driving the popularity of super casual games. The genre is simple enough for smaller companies to release quickly, while large companies can afford to plant dozens of super casual seeds to increase the chance of landing a viral hit. Thus, the genre continues to see strong growth. For the first time since Flappy Bird left its mark, half the games on the iOS Downloads rankings were super casual games.
The Technology Behind the Index
The information contained in this report is compiled from App Annie Intelligence, the leading market data solution for the app store economy. To see how our app store download, revenue, demographic and usage estimates can help guide your critical business decisions, take a tour or request a demo today.
- 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 homepage feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
- While the Index for Games covers games, the Index for Apps provides app tracking on everything but games. Note that the Top Company rankings in the Index for Games are based solely on the publishers’ games downloads and revenue, while the Top Company rankings in the Index for Apps are based on the company’s downloads and revenue from apps excluding games.
- Company and unified app rankings in the App Annie Index for Games and Index for Apps are based on individual apps that ranked in the Top 1,000.
- Download rankings are based on individually downloaded apps and exclude downloads of app bundles. Revenue rankings are based on download revenue from individually downloaded paid apps as well as in-app purchase revenue from both individually downloaded apps and app bundles.
- 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 February 2015 to March 2015.
- 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 Index for Games. If the app’s Primary Category is Entertainment and its Secondary Category is Games, then it will not be included in this Index for Games; it is a candidate for the Index for Apps.
- 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 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 companies, where available; for example, the Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app is reported under its parent company Electronic Arts, rather than its direct publisher PopCap. Note that if you view the Electronic Arts parent company page on Store Stats, you will see the publishers that roll under the parent company Electronic Arts, including PopCap. The Plants vs. Zombies™ 2 app will be listed under the PopCap publisher page.
- Company and app rankings are based on the App Annie DNA relationships at the time of publications. App Annie DNA relationships are subject to change over time.
- 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.
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