Data & Research

Words With Friends booms in troubled times

Crunching the data with App Annie

Words With Friends booms in troubled times

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and App Annie highlighting trends in the mobile games sector.

This week, we're heading back to the USA to see how current events are impacting American mobile game usage.

And, as you'd expect, there are some significant trends.

On the most downloaded chart, four titles stand out from the usual array of hypercasual titles that typically dominate proceedings; Playgendary’s Perfect Cream is a new entry at #1 with Voodoo's Spiral Roll at #2.

Zynga's New Words With Friends has always been a very strong performer in the US, but the demand of social engagement with physically distanced friends and family has seen its downloads rocket.

Similarly, it's a surprise to see Coin Master and Fishdom in the chart. Both are very successful games of course, but they've already been downloaded many millions of times. However, it seems that these sort of casual but engaging games are the type of experiences the Covid-19 pandemic is encouraging people to play.

Released back in 2017, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp gets a boost thanks to the recent Switch launch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Things move more slowly on the engagement chart, which measures weekly activity, but it's notable to see both Roblox and Minecraft soaking up people's spare time and encouraging creativity in these troubled times.

Niantic's changes to make Pokemon Go work as a home-bound-game are also paying off with the location-based collection game in second place.

Candy Crush Saga, New Words With Friends, Wordscape, Toon Blast and MobilityWare Solitaire also point to the growing casualisation of the sector as a much wider demographic now has more free time to spend playing games.

Similar trends are reflected on the top grossing chart, where the changes to Pokemon Go have clearly had an impact in hours played and dollars spent.

Pokemon Go is up to #2 compared to #5 in mid-February.

It's fascinating to see the absence of Clash of Clans - a game that's (almost) always in the top 10 top grossing charts. Instead PUBG Mobile and Fortnite are the only representative of core gaming, with Fortnite's cross-platform features no doubt boosting its user stats.

It's also worth mentioning (again) that Russian developer Playrix is the only company with multiple games in the US top 10. Gardenscapes and Homescape continue to ramp up their success.

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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.


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