The infinite railtrack runner stuffed with collectible costumes, “Subway Surfers,” was the most downloaded mobile game of the decade, perhaps in part due to its more laid-back approach to monetization, as evidenced in a second chart based on mobile gaming revenue.
“Subway Surfers” is finishing the decade as its most downloaded mobile game across iOS and Android, according to industry analysis firm App Annie.
The 2012 debut was more in demand than second placed “Candy Crush Saga,” also from 2012, as well as third-placed release, “Temple Run” (2011 on iOS, 2012 on Android).
Both runners-up marked the debut of larger franchises, but their successors did not feature in the chart.
Instead, virtual pet sim “My Talking Tom” (2013 on iOS, 2014 on Android) and “Clash of Clans” (2012 iOS, 2013 Android) rounded out the top five.
“Pou,” “Hill Climb Racing,” “Minion Rush,” “Fruit Ninja” and “8 Ball Pool” followed.
“Subway Surfers,” in which players escape a security guard, collect coins and dodge obstacles, is known for its regular updates, each one themed after a different world city.
Those content updates, arriving every three or four weeks, are accompanied by daily bonuses and challenges, additional perks for playing on consecutive days and limited edition characters and costumes, thus encouraging habitual play.
It is also considered to employ a less pervasive, more respectful approach to monetization than some of its peers.
Its relatively low-pressure approach to revenue generation is reflected by its absence from App Annie’s decade-spanning Consumer Spend chart.
Fifth most-downloaded game “Clash of Clans” takes the crown, with “Candy Crush Saga” in third; no other games appear in both Top 10s.
Both are known for introductions that minimize the perceived cost of initial and consecutive real-money spends; in addition, social and money-making aspects are deeply entwined.
Sandwiching “Candy Crush Saga” are Japan’s “Monster Strike” in second, “Puzzle & Dragons” in fourth, and “Fate/Grand Order” in fifth.
“Honor of Kings,” China’s homage to computer game “League of Legends” (and from the company that has a controlling stake in “LoL” studio Riot) is sixth, and another Chinese entry, “Fantasy Westward Journey,” is the decade’s seventh-highest earning mobile game.
Completing the top 10 are licensed Japanese-US collaboration “Pokémon Go,” US-made multiplayer strategy “Game of War: Fire Age” and a second title from “Clash of Clans” developer Supercell in spin-off “Clash Royale.”
Of those, “Honor of Kings,” “Fantasy Westward Journey,” “Pokémon Go” and “Clash Royale” were the most recent, making it out into the wild in 2015 or 2016.