A brand can turn a mobile game into a giant hit. That’s what mobile game publisher Gameloft showed as it hit more than 50 million downloads on iOS and Google Play for its Despicable Me: Minion Rush game.
Timed with the Despicable Me 2 movie, Minion Rush is a Temple Run-style endless runner. But it’s not remarkable, as my daughter Tanya wrote in her review. Still, it was good enough to capture the top slot in monthly game downloads on both Google Play and Apple’s iTunes App Store. Gameloft also rose to the top game publisher by downloads as a result, according to market researcher App Annie.
Meanwhile, the Japanese mobile messaging network Line saw big growth. Line’s Pokopang game rose 79 spots, joining Line Wind and Line Pop in the top 10 grossing Google Play games in July. Line was the only publisher with more than one game in the top list and ended the month as the No. 2-ranked publisher by Google Play monthly revenue. In a quarterly report, Line said its game revenue increased 53 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter.
App Annie also said children’s game publishers came on strong during the summer break. Tiny Piece, Disney, Ninjafish Studios, and TabTale each published successful games primarily aimed at kids. TabTale’s growth came from fashion makeover app Design It!. Children’s game publishers accounted for four of the top 10 publishers by monthly downloads in July. Common kids themes include fashion, salon, dessert, and science games.
Racing games also performed well. Electronic Arts’ Real Racing 3 broke into the top 10 on iOS after a two-month absence. Turbo Racing League (a movie-based app) and Fast Racing 3D also got into the charts during the month. EA helped Real Racing 3 by introducing a substantial update that introduced a new game mode and luxury brand models.
Notably, Zynga doesn’t appear in the top 10 rankings for mobile game downloads on either iOS or Google Play despite its heavy focus on shifting to mobile.
Gameloft also had a big success this year with Iron Man 3, and it said it is working with Marvel on a game for the upcoming sequel to the Thor franchise.
The top ranks are becoming increasingly international. Estonia-based MobiPlay rose 17 spots to hit the No. 9 publisher ranking on iOS by monthly downloads in July. That was driven by a popular 3D puzzle game, Can You Escape? Doodle Mobile, which was incubated at a Chinese firm headed by Kai-Fu Lee, made a big leap in rankings on Google Play thanks to the popularity of Fast Racing 3D. Rovio held steady on iOS at No. 6 and No. 4 on Google Play, but it has a major Angry Birds: Star Wars game coming on Sept. 19.
The revenue ranks remained relatively unchanged. On iOS, Clash of Clans maker Supercell held the top revenue position for the sixth straight month. It was followed by King, GungHo Online Entertainment, EA, and Gree. On Google Play, GungHo was No. 1 in July on top revenues, followed by Line, CJ E&M of Korea, DeNA, and Gree. Nordeus’ soccer club management game Top Eleven stayed popular in Europe, rising from No. 9 on iOS to No. 7. GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons has been the top revenue producer for every month of 2013, mainly on the strength of the game in Japan.