The top mobile game publishers by downloads, revenue, and users

By Mike Sonders

In this post, we’ll reveal the top mobile game publishers by downloads, revenue, usage, and engagement. We used app market data from SurveyMonkey Intelligence to examinee these key metrics in the U.S. smartphone market for each of 97 different mobile game publishers.

We’ll then look across those mobile game publisher rankings to identify the absolute best of the best mobile game publishers.

Top 10 mobile game publishers by downloads

Unsurprisingly, the mobile game publishers with the most downloads in early October feature several big, well-capitalized, and well-known game companies like Electronics Arts (whose most-downloaded title is Madden NFL Mobile), Zynga (Words with Friends), King (Candy Crush Sage), and Supercell (Clash Royale).

Rovio, another well-known studio, continues to drive around 100 thousand downloads a day, ranking in the top 10 mobile game publishers by downloads, even though it has struggled to find another smash-hit after Angry Birds.

Impressively, Lowtech Studios finds itself in the top 10 with only a single game in its stable: the smash hit

This is particularly impressive given that each of the top 10 game publishers with the most downloads has released 23 games, on average.

  • Electronic Arts, the top publisher with the most downloads, has 33 games in the app stores.
  • The publisher in the top 10 with the most game apps is Ketchapp, which has flooded the app stores with 48 games, so far.

The top mobile game developers by revenue

No surprise: A group of highly-capitalized big companies dominate the list of top 10 mobile game publishers by revenue.

In fact, there are only a couple of things that stand out in this ranking of mobile game developers:

  1. The top two publishers–Machine Zone and Supercell–drive dramatically revenue than the next-best publisher (Niantic), and they do with with very few titles: two titles for Machine Zone (top revenue-driver is Game of War), and four for Supercell (top is Clash Royale).
  2. Newcomer Niantic is now among the top three revenue-generating mobile game publishers thanks to Pokémon GO daily revenue rates.

The top mobile game publishers by users

Niantic once again distinguishes itself; first as the game publisher with the most monthly active users, and second as the publisher to have made it into the list with the fewest number of game titles, which is two. (Many people don’t know that Niantic–in addition to Pokemon GO–also published a game called Ingress.)

King–the maker of Candy Crush Saga and its spinoffs–claims the number two spot with 15 titles in its library, while the publisher in the list with the most titles in the list (37) is Their most-used app is 8 Ball Pool.

Note that Pokemon GO usage statistics show a steady decline as early adopters leave the game, meaning King will probably soon be the biggest mobile game publisher by users.

Top mobile game publishers by engagement

As we’ve highlighted previously in other mobile game statistics, the level of engagement that a mobile game gets from its users is highly dependent on the game’s genre. (E.g., mobile gamers spend much more time per month, on average, on puzzle games than on racing games.)

So, the level of engagement that a mobile game publisher enjoys in general will depend to some extent on the genre of games in its catalog.

That said, these are the top 10 mobile game publishers by engagement, as measured by the number of days per month (on average) on which their players launch their games.

Funzio, a publisher near the very bottom of the list in terms of downloads, revenue, and users, has a game called Crime City whose players engage 19.7 days per month, on average. That’s enough to propel it to the top of this list.

PuzzleSocial, the number 2 publisher in this list, has a single game, Daily Celebrity Crossword, which combines effective qualities–fresh daily content, casual gameplay–to drive high days-per-month engagement.

The best of the best mobile game publishers

Of all mobile game publishers listed in this post (and the 97 publishers included in our study), only three of the publishers of them appear in all four top 10 lists. That is, only three mobile game publishers are top-10 caliber in terms of downloads, revenue, users, and engagement.

Those three publishers are King, Supercell, and Zynga.

Yet Supercell drove its impressive stats with only four game titles, while King has at least 15 titles in the app stores and Zynga has at least 33 to help them drive big download, revenue, and user numbers.

On average, Supercell drives the best performance on a per-game basis among the three top game publishers, based on performance numbers from October 9:

By these measures, Supercell is–at the moment–the best of the top mobile game publishers.

Publishers with lots of games, but no top 10 rankings

There are many prolific game publishers in the app stores.

Of the publishers who have released the most mobile games, five of them don’t show up in any of the previous top 10 lists mentioned in this post.

Glu Games (at least 44 games), Storm8 (39 games), Disney (35), Square Enix (22), and Warner Bros. (19) fail to appear in the top 10 for downloads, revenue, users, and engagement.

There’s every possibility that these companies manage to operate profitably without producing blockbuster hit games.

But it’s quite difficult to fund large game development teams that can produce and maintain a lot of mobile titles without having games that post big numbers.

We’re guessing that at least a couple of these game companies are either already revisiting their business models, or will be.

This post originally appeared on October 26, 2016 on the blog of SurveyMonkey Intelligence, a provider of competitive intelligence for the mobile app industry.

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