If we’ve learned anything from the mobile industry in 2016, it’s that mobile gaming is here to stay–in a big, big way.
Case in point, according to a research report from Super Data, 2016 was “the biggest year in the digital games market and playable media world ever,” skyrocketing to an impressive $91 billion. Like the research firm suggests, that number is only indicative of what’s to come for this growing market as new media and platforms become available.
According to Super Data, $41 billion was spent solely on mobile games in 2016, largely catapulted by favorites such as Pokemon Go and Clash Royale. With that in mind, here the Investing News Network (INN) looks at what the five top downloaded mobile gaming apps of 2016 were–through iOS and Google Play–with data provided by a 2017 App Annie Report.
1. Game: Pokemon Go; Company: Niantic
Unsurprisingly, Pokemon Go was the most downloaded gaming app of 2016, and soaring to $800 million in consumer spending in just 110 days. By September 2016–just two months after its release–the game had surpassed over 500 million downloads. By the end of the year, the App Annie Report states it reached over $950 million in consumer spending. “This was far faster than some of the most successful mobile games of all time,” the report reads.
While Niantic is currently a private company, Niantic was acquired by Google’s parent company, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) way back in 2004 and became the platform for Google Earth, Fortune reported. In 2015, that all changed when Alphabet turned Niantic into an independent company–well before Pokemon Go took the world by storm. Looking ahead, it remains unclear as to whether or not Niantic will file an initial public offering.
That said, there are several pieces of pie to the Pokemon franchise as a whole: Nintendo (OTCMKTS:NTDOY), Game Freak and Creatures are the owners of the franchise, which is managed by The Pokemon Company. Together with Google, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company allegedly invested $30 million into Niantic’s Pokemon Go.
2. Game: Piano Tiles 2; Company: Cheetah Mobile (NYSE:CMCM)
Next is Piano Tiles 2, which was the second most downloaded of mobile gaming apps in 2016. At the end of 2015, Piano Tiles 2 was awarded best game of the year–which may have given it an extra boost for 2016. Now, the game has over 600 million players around the world. By May 2016, Piano Tiles 2 had been the most downloaded gaming app in 1119 countries.
The game’s creator, Cheetah Mobile, receives over 3.871 billion installations across all of its products combined, which include Clean Master, CM Security, Battery Doctor, CM Locker, PhotoGrid, News Republic, and so on.
3. Game: Subway Surfers; Company: Kiloo
Much like other top gaming apps on this list, Subway Surfers has been around for a number of years–since 2012, in fact–and has not dropped out of the top 60 download ranks in either the App Store or Google Play since. Case in point, the game’s popularity is felt across mobile gaming app platforms, and crossed the 1 billion download threshold in the fall of 2015.
By 2016, the game was the most downloaded in the US on Google Play between December 26-28 of that year, and was the fourth most downloaded app from December 26-27. Nearly five years after its release, Subway Surfers is raking in nearly 30 million downloads a month.
4. Game: Slither.io; Company: Lowtech Studios
Slither.io is a relatively new game, having been released on March 25, 2016, and is accessible over web browsers and smart phones such as the iPhone and Android. Between the game’s release date and October 2016, Slither.io had been downloaded roughly 68 million times in mobile applications, and played more than 67 million times in web browsers.
5. Game: Clash Royale; Company: Tencent (HKG:0700)
Clash Royale rounds out the 5 top downloaded mobile gaming apps of 2016, which was developed and produced by Supercell, who was later bought by China’s online gaming giant Tencent in July 2016 for $8.6 billion.
Upon the game’s release on March 2, 2016, it became the top grossing iOS game in the US and on Google Play.
While the majority of the games listed above are under the control of private companies, there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities to be had in the mobile gaming app industry. Over the next three years, the mobile app market is expected to reach $189 billion–up from $70 billion in 2015, representing a 270 percent growth–with mobile games accounting for 55 percent of app store revenue.
As such, this will no doubt be encouraging for those looking to invest in mobile gaming stocks as publicly traded companies will look to meet the industry’s growing demand over the next several years.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.