One of the biggest mobile hits of the last few years is still expanding to new platforms — but not all of them.
Puzzle & Dragons, a free-to-play match-three puzzler with role-playing elements, is now out for Kindle Fire in the United States and Canada. Developer GungHo Online Entertainment long ago made the game available on iOS and Android (through the Google Play store) in the U.S., but now people who play on their Amazon tablets can also get it. This represents GungHo’s continuing efforts to spread the popularity of Puzzle & Dragons in the West. While Amazon’s tablet devices are getting the popular game, GungHo confirmed to GamesBeat that it has “no plans” to release Puzzle & Dragons for the recently announced Fire Phone.
The Kindle Fire line of products are a variety of tablets that run Amazon’s version of the open-source Android operating system. The Kindle Fire has a respectable share of the tablet market after iPad and official Android devices. While Puzzle & Dragons should find exposure to new gamers on Kindle Fire, it’s weird that it isn’t also coming to the Fire Phone. Amazon announced its new handset last week — and you’ve already seen it if you’ve been to the Amazon.com homepage since. The device is likely to catch on with a number of consumers, which would give Puzzle & Dragons even more of a chance in the U.S., but it doesn’t look like that will happen.
The free-to-play Puzzle & Dragons was one of the top-grossing games on both iOS and Android last year. It was second only to King’s Candy Crush Saga on Google Play in terms of revenue — but GungHo’s puzzler did most of its damage in its native Japan. At points last year, Puzzle & Dragons was making millions of dollars from in-app purchases every day and more than 10 percent of the population of Japan was playing the megahit. This helped the app reach more than 35 million downloads worldwide.
While Puzzle & Dragons is a massive hit, it hasn’t re-created its Japanese success in the United States, and GungHo is making an effort. Late last month, the developer revealed that the U.S. version surpassed 4 million downloads since its early 2013 debut. While that number is respectable, it doesn’t match the massive numbers that the game does in the East or even what games like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans do here in the U.S.
The United States is the largest and most-lucrative market for free-to-play mobile games. Japan is a close second (with China in third for now). If an app can find success in both markets, it can usually guarantee millions in revenue for its developer.
With the game out now for Kindle Fire, GungHo may see a boost in the number of downloads, but it doesn’t seem likely that Americans will catch Puzzle & Dragons fever.