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Top mobile games have new competition

The App Annie Index for February shows a diverse collection of old and new games and some surprising shifts

The latest data from analytics firm App Annie's Index for mobile games shows some steady winners as well as the power of the free app. The honor of the most downloaded game goes to Imangi's Temple Run 2, which has been the top-downloaded game across both the iOS App Store and Google Play. The top revenue generator was once again the hit Japanese game Puzzle & Dragons, which led the charts for both iOS App Store and Google Play.

Electronic Arts earned some boasting rights by taking the #1 position among iOS publishers by number of downloads, followed by Imangi at #2 and Disney at #3. Newcomer LOTUM hit the chart at #4, with King.com at #5. For Google Play, EA didn't make the list of the top 10 publishers by download, with Imangi Studios taking the #1 position with Rovio in #2 and Italy Games in #3. Android publishers were well-distributed around the world compared to the iOS chart where half the publishers hailed from the USA.

The biggest jumps on the charts were from free games, or rather games that became free. Infinity Blade, originally released in December 2010, became free in mid-February and saw downloads spike, boosting it 836 spots on the chart. Similarly, Galaxy on Fire 2 became free and leaped 1294 spots, while Plants vs. Zombies jumped 428 spots. Those free game were also featured on the iTunes home page around the world for one week, which no doubt made a healthy contribution to popularity.

The top publishers on iOS by revenue were Supercell at #1, followed by GungHo Online at #2,with Electronic Arts at #3 and King.com at #4. DeNA finally entered the top 10, while archrival Gree moved to the #5 spot. On Google Play, the leading publishers by revenue were all from either Japan or South Korea, lead by GungHo Online. DeNA took the #5 slot, while Gree came in at #10.

Top game apps by download for iOS were Temple Run 2, followed by Candy Crush Saga and newcomer 4 Pics 1 Word from German publisher LOTUM. Another newcomer to the top 10 was RedSpell's What's the Word? At the #6 position. Seeing new games and new publishers in the top 10 is a reassurance that the market won't be locked up soon by large publishers with huge brand names; there's still room for creativity to compete against marketing juggernauts.

For Google Play, Temple Run 2 was also the #1 app by number of downloads, but the only other iOS top 10 games that also made the Google Play top 10 were Subway Surfers and Candy Crush Saga. The publishers of the top Google Play games were a diverse lot from around the world. Interestingly, the Google Play list seemed to have a much stronger bent towards arcade games than the iOS top downloads; are Android fans more fond of twitch games?

App Annie noted that game types appearing in the charts have been changing over the past years. Resource management games were all the rage just a couple of years ago, while a look at the charts now shows a more diverse range of games, from word games to puzzle games and some arcade action titles as well as strategy games. The growing diversity shows that the market is indeed evolving as designers explore more of the possibilities of the mobile platform.

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Steve Peterson avatar

Steve Peterson

Contributor/[a]list daily senior editor

Steve Peterson has been in the game business for 30 years now as a designer (co-designer of the Champions RPG among others), a marketer (for various software companies) and a lecturer. Follow him on Twitter @20thLevel.