The Most Popular Apps in Various GEOs


This report features insights into the global mobile gaming market of 2016 as well as certain predictions made and supported by the leading business intelligence portals, analyst firms and market research agencies alike. This data aims to serve all industries focusing on mobile marketing and strategy, market analysis and brand development.

In 2016, global app revenues reached a staggering point of $44.8Bn, 82% of which were generated by gaming apps alone. This number will keep gaining momentum by 2020, the year that most marketers predict to show a gigantic increase up to $80.6 billion. Despite such steady growth the share of app revenues from games is believed to make a cutback: from 82% to 72% within the same period.


2015 was a glorious year for China when it overtook the US in total app revenues. China’s considerable territory and broad potential have turned this particular region into a bounty state for gaming apps and the whole of mobile industry in general. It’s been estimated that China’s share of games will not only remain higher than its closest competitor, the USA, but the mobile games market will in fact continue to expand over the period of the next few years. The number of players and in-app revenues will show a strong increase.

Asian mobile gamers’ fascination with Simulation games on Android allowed this category to elevate to 17.4% supporting its success with apps like Gun Camera 3D Simulator, Food Trucks Pizza Game and Raft Survival. Action games are positioned relatively close on both platforms with Android leading by 1.2% leaving iOS behind with the humble 12.4%. The categories where iOS games did fight back include Role Playing (9.7%), Card (7.5%) and Strategy (6.6%).

Top Grossing games as we look back at December 2016 demonstrated an assortment of apps that consisted of Role Playing x3, Strategy x1 and Casual x1.

The United States

The US, the second biggest gaming market after China, with the titans of the app developing world dominating the country, year by year establishing tight competition and offering their fans hours of entertainment and remarkable gameplay.

Statista provides information on the market reach of the most popular Android gaming apps in the United States as of December 2016. The TOP beloved games include such big names as Candy Crush Saga (19.42%) that showed a real breakthrough leaving behind country’s other favourites Subway Surfers (9.18%), Temple Run 2 (7.18%), Solitaire (6.77%) and Pet Rescue Saga (6.24%).

Digging deeper we wanted to analyze top free and grossing gaming categories back to back to extract more insights as to revenues, user behaviour and probable estimations that would help bend the mainstream market in your favour.

Free Gaming iOS Apps USA as of 14th Feb 2017

Grossing Gaming iOS Apps USA as of 14th Feb 2017

In our previous reports we stressed out the fact that Android tends to attract a larger gaming community that is not shy of spending quite a bit of digital cash.

Free Gaming Android Apps USA as of 14th Feb 2017

Grossing Gaming Android Apps USA as of 14th Feb 2017

iOS gaming community shows a particular interest in Action games with most recent entry of Cash me outside by Anonymous Inc already making its steady steps towards conquering the top charts.

The factual difference between iOS and Android Casino grossing apps was probably the most unpredictable data to come across. Game - Casino is the second largest subcategory on Google Play Store coming only 0.5% short of Strategy grossing apps.


Japan, the third lucrative market in the top list. The market highlights that can make or break a deal, especially for a startup developer or marketing strategist, should be taken into close consideration.

  • Revenue in the "Mobile Games" segment amounts to US$6,184m in 2017.
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 0.3 % resulting in a market volume of US$6,262m in 2021.
  • User penetration is at 62.8 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 63.5 % in 2021.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$90.25.

In order to understand the gaming industry we couldn’t ignore the chart below that represents the market share held by the leading operating systems in Japan based on smartphone sales from 2013 to 2016.

iOS saw its peak of popularity back in 2013 but since March of the past year Android has taken full control over its main rival.

Alternative report by AppAnnie suggests that previously Google Play monetized just as much as iOS resulting in total app revenue growth of approximately 25% between 2014 and 2015. Most of that monetization has been concentrated at the top gaming publishers. In 2015, the top 10 games took almost 50% of all gaming revenue. In 2015, games in the RPG (Role-Playing Games) and Casual categories, as defined by Dentsu, accounted for more than 75% of game downloads and more than 75% of all time spent in games. However, RPGs monetized much more efficiently and made up almost 70% of all revenue.

Today we’ve come across a rather equal distribution among Top 1000 iOS apps within the Games category. In the country driven by technology and know-how, we’d expect to see a larger share for Kids apps. On the one hand, this could be a positive indicator for the young and their parents, but on the other hand, a tough task for the developers wanting to find recognition with wider audiences.

What publishers don’t have to worry about is the revenue they should be expecting to collect for Simulation (17.5%), Role Playing (16.2%) and Adventure (12%) games as these came as the leading categories in the Grossing apps statistics.

When it comes to Android mobile games, the chart below serves as a flashback of the grandeur of RPGs.

Top iOS and Android statistics by Apptopia for Feb 14 reveal a few apps familiar to the Western eye, but the majority of the top games are those developed locally.

iOS Games Japan 14 Feb

Android Games Japan 14 Feb

We couldn’t finish this article without an honorable mentioning of the Top Games worldwide of December 2016 - a delicate repercussion of the past year and terrific mobile experiences.

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