Forking move: How LINE, KakaoTalk and GREE's social apps also rule on Google Play

It's not just about the games

Forking move: How LINE, KakaoTalk and GREE's social apps also rule on Google Play
We been looking at the rise of social services like LINE and KakaoTalk during 2013 because of their gaming significance.

But the platforms started out as pure messaging services before rolling out specific game services for developers to integrate with.

In this context, the recent survey from market intelligence outfit App Annie points out their significance is more than just games.

With friends

Stripping games from the equation, App Annie estimated the breakdown for the top grossing Google Play apps globally during April 2013.

LINE, with its 150 million users is #1, followed by KakaoTalk, with its 90 million users.

Both apps monetise through customisation items such as stickers and gifting.

Interestingly, GREE ranks #3 on this list, thanks to its own social messaging app which it moved from the Games category into Social earlier in 2013.

Notably missing on this list is DeNA's similar Comm app, which is launched in October 2012. Only available in Japan, it currently has 5 million users.

Like GREE, DeNA keeps its social network separate from its core Mobage gaming network.

Double attack

To understand the full impact of these services in territories such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, you have to combine these social app revenues with games, however.

As App Annie's games report for April makes clear, the top games that use these networks to provide virality and retention are performing very well.

WeMade's Windrunner for Kakao was the #2 top grossing game globally on Google Play, while CJ E&M's Everybody Cha Cha Cha for Kakao was #3.

The #6 and #7 top grossing games use KakaoTalk, while #9 and #10 use LINE.

It's no surprise, then, to see WeMade, CJ E&M, LINE and NHN (LINE's parent company) all listed in the top 10 top grossing publishers on Google Play.

You can find out more by reading App Annie's App Index and its Games Index

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.