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The most successful mobile games of 2013
The most successful mobile games of 2013
January 30, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Today, App Annie releases its 2013 retrospective report on mobile apps and games. While there weren't a lot of surprises for those who pay close attention to the space, the report reinforces some important trends in the mobile game space everyone should be aware of.

The most-downloaded game of 2013 across the globe was King's Candy Crush Saga, but GungHo's Puzzle & Dragons generated the most revenue. On the back of that, Japan became the world's number one country for app revenue in 2013, passing the U.S.

Speaking of passing, Google Play passed the iOS App Store in worldwide app (both game and non-game) downloads, though the App Store held on to the revenue crown.

While many games are popular globally, cracking the Asian markets is tough. According to App Annie's data, China, Korea, and Japan are mostly friendly to homegrown games, with many of China's top titles coming from Tencent, Japan's from LINE, and Korea's from the Seoul-based CJ Group. Still, Temple Run 2 managed to be a top-10 downloaded title in both China and Japan, showing that it's far from impossible for Western games to catch on in a big way in those countries.

Another important fact from the report is that 93 percent of game revenue in 2013 was from freemium titles -- making premium games a minor niche in the space. Alongside that, during 2013, global player spending on app stores for the first time exceeded spending on titles for portable game consoles (the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.)

For the purposes of its report, App Annie grouped iOS and Google Play together into one data set. Here are App Annie's worldwide game charts for 2013:

Top 10 Mobile Games Worldwide, Ranked by Downloads

1. Candy Crush Saga, King
2. Subway Surfers, Kiloo
3. Temple Run 2, Imangi
4. Despicable Me, Gameloft
5. Fruit Ninja, Halfbrick
6. Angry Birds, Rovio
7. Hill Climb Racing, Fingersoft
8. Pou, Zakeh
9. 4 Pics 1 Word, Lotum
10. Real Racing 3, Electronic Arts

Top 10 Mobile Games Worldwide, Ranked by Revenue

1. Puzzle & Dragons, GungHo Online
2. Candy Crush Saga, King
3. Clash of Clans, Supercell
4. Hay Day, Supercell
5 The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Electronic Arts
6. The Hobbit: Kingdoms, Kabam
7. Slotomania, Caesars Entertainment
8. Megapolis, Social Quantum
9. Pokopang, LINE
10. Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, Kabam

Top 10 Mobile Games in the U.S., Ranked by Downloads

1. Candy Crush Saga, King
2. Subway Surfers, Kiloo
3. Temple Run 2, Imangi
4. Despicable Me, Gameloft
5. 4 Pics 1 Word, Lotum
6. Fruit Ninja, Halfbrick
7. Flow Free, Big Duck
8. Ruzzle, MAG Interactive
9. Angry Birds, Rovio
10. Hill Climb Racing, Fingersoft

Top 10 Mobile Games in the U.S., Ranked by Revenue

1. Candy Crush Saga, King
2. Clash of Clans, Supercell
3. Hay Day, Supercell
4. The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Electronic Arts
5. Marvel: War of Heroes, DeNA
6. Slotomania, Caesars Entertainment
7. Big Fish Casino, Big Fish Games
8. The Hobbit: Kingdoms, Kabam
9. DoubleDown Casino, International Game Technology
10. Modern War, GREE

The full report, at 39 pages, contains a lot more data about how games performed in each country, which developers and publishers were most successful. You can download it at App Annie's website.

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SD Marlow
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It's kind of depressing to see the mobile market dominated by shallow "game play," but then I remembered two things: having short and simple game play fits into the mobile game space; and second, that's 93% of games of this type using this app for metrics. Other game types with additional revenue models are NOT accurately represented by this (somewhat self-serving) kind of round-up.