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36 mobile games that have made more than $1 billion in lifetime sales

The most successful mobile games ever

36 mobile games that have made more than $1 billion in lifetime sales

Mobile games have changed a lot over the years and an increasing number of mobile games have generated over $1 billion of lifetime revenue: with many now doing so on an annual basis.

When this list was first created and maintained, it counted among 23 titles to have breached the billion dollar landmark. Now, there are over 60.

As such, PocketGamer.biz will be routinely updating this list to catalogue all of the games that have achieved this astounding achievement.

Money-makers

So, taking that all into consideration, we’ve put together an ongoing list of games officially confirmed (or reported) to have crossed into the $1 billion milestone.

Click on the link below to view the list.

N.B. Please note each game's entry is written when it becomes a billion-dollar game. We don't update each game's entry on a regular basis.


Click here to view the list »
  • Township

    Township logo

    Developer: Playrix
    Based: Russia and Ireland
    Release date: October 2013
    Genre: Simulation
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Another billion dollar game from Playrix?

    Township was the second title from Playrix and is the company’s biggest deviation from its well performing match-three ‘scapes’ series, being that it is a town building simulator.

    From its launch to July 2015, Township remained constantly in the US iPhone top grossing charts, keeping a stable position between 200 and 250.

    Between 2016 and 2017, Township jumped into the top 100 and also established a strong presence in Europe and was in the top 50 in the UK and Germany, at 32nd and 12th respectively.

    Fishdom’s release on mobile also pushed Township’s revenue higher and the game continued to do well, passing the $1 billion mark.


  • Onmyoji

    Onmyoji logo

    Developer: NetEase
    Based: China
    Release date: September 2016
    Genre: Team Battle
    Where it found success: East Asia

    Onmyoji is a turn-based strategy based on a series of Japanese novels of the same name.

    The year following its release Onmyoji helped push NetEase’s Q1 2017 revenues past $2 billion after the game got 200 million downloads in February that year which was linked to its launch in Japan.

    It repeated this success the following quarter following a successful launch in South Korea and quickly reached the top ten grossing mobile games in the country.

    The game launched in Western countries in 2018 but by this point the game had started to lose traction and revenues had fallen. Nonetheless, during the height of its popularity Onmyojij still managed to generate over $1 billion in player spending.


  • Clash of Kings

    Clash of Kings logo

    Developer: Elex Tech
    Based: China
    Release date: June 14 2014
    Genre: Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    A lot of mobile games tend to flare out after an initial craze, but Clash of Kings has avoided this fate despite a decline. By 2019 the game was seeing a $17 million monthly revenue – a steep decline from the $375 million the game earned in 2015, but still the sort of numbers other games could only hope of achieving, with an ARPPU of $102.

    In 2019 the game saw 230 million users, and in the thirty days prior to writing the game generated $2 million, with 28% of the earnings coming from the United States.

    This addition to the Unicorn Club has seen success worldwide, but it was one of the 59 mobile apps by Chinese developers banned in India in 2020 citing privacy concerns, although the border tensions between China and India have also been cited as a reason for this decision.


  • Granblue Fantasy

    Granblue Fantasy logo

    Developer: Cygames
    Based: Japan
    Release date: March 10 2014
    Genre: Role-playing game
    Where it found success: Japan

    Granblue Fantasy certainly has pedigree: with famed composer Nobuo Uematsu and art director Hideo Minaba teaming up once again, following on from their collaborations on games such as Final Fantasy IX and Lost Odyssey.

    In May 2022, Cygames announced that over 32 million players had downloaded Granblue Fantasy, and the game has been adapted into both anime and console games.

    The game is partly responsible for Cygames parent company CyberAgent's significant revenue results, as well as affecting the games industry at large. Granblue Fantasy uses a gatcha system, with the Japanese Online Gaming Industry imposing stricter regulations on the industry as a whole after one player spent around 700 thousand yen (around $6000) attempting to get Andira, a heavily advertised character, in 2015.

    Despite being a Japan exclusive title, this entry into the unicorn club made over 54.8 billion yen between 2017 and 2018 alone, being named as Japan’s sixth highest-grossing title in 2018. (translated via Google Translate).


  • Knives Out

    Knives Out logo

    Developer: NetEase
    Based: China
    Release date: November 2017
    Genre: Battle Royale
    Where it found success: China and Japan

    Knives Out is NetEase’s answer to the massively popular battle royale genre, but unlike many battle royales, this one is exclusively mobile.

    By January 2018, Knives Out had reached 50 million monthly active users and generated $24 million in player spending in February largely due to its launch in Japan. This was at a time where Fortnite, arguably the largest battle royale, was still available on mobile devices, so this is rather impressive for a new IP.

    It wasn’t sunshine and roses for long and eventually NetEase was sued by PUBG Corp over claims that Knives Out, and its other battle royale Rules of Survival, were clones of PUBG.

    The lawsuit was eventually settled in March 2019 however during that time Knives Out continued to bring in players and generated $465 million in 2018, with the majority of revenue from China and Japan. In fact, Japanese players spent approximately 11 times more on Knives Out than they did on PUBG Mobile, showing a clear preference for the title.


  • Genshin Impact

    Genshin Impact logo

    Developer: HoYoverse
    Based: China
    Release date: September 2020
    Genre: RPG
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Where do we even start with this one? If you haven’t heard of Genshin Impact yet then you need to spend more time here on PocketGamer.biz.

    HoYoverse’s RPG took the mobile world by storm and really highlighted to the world the power of mobile devices

    Genshin Impact was an instant hit and was awarded Best Game at the 2020 Google Play awards.

    In its first month, Genshin Impact generated $245 million and quickly reached $1 billion in revenue after only seven months.

    Within its first year alone, Genshin Impact generated over $2 billion in player spending, and if that wasn’t impressive enough, for its first anniversary the game generated the highest consumer spending on a single mobile game in a month.

    According to Sensor Tower, Genshin Impact was one of eight games to generate over $1 billion in 2021, placing third with $1.8 billion in player spending, and has surpassed the $3 billion lifetime revenue landmark.


  • Rise of Kingdoms

    Rise of Kingdoms logo

    Developer: Lilith Games
    Based: China
    Release date: April 2018
    Genre: 4X Strategy
    Where it found success: China

    Lilith Games has enjoyed considerable success, with titles such as AFK Arena, Art of Conquest, and its most recent addition, gacha RPG Dislyte. However, Rise of Kingdoms is a pronounced example of capitalising on Lilith Games' considerable capabilities.

    In December 2020, Rise of Kingdoms was the leading build-and-battler subgenre in China, a position that it had held since its release in 2018.

    By April 2021, Rise of Kingdoms was still going strong and was the seventh highest grossing mobile game for the month, according to Sensor Tower.


  • Slotomania

    Slotomania logo

    Developer: Playtika
    Based: Israel
    Release date: November 2011
    Genre: Slots (Casino)
    Where it found success: US

    Slotomania was one of Israeli mobile games studio Playtika’s first titles, released one year after the studio founded.

    To date, Slotomania has been downloaded over 70 million times with the majority of downloads from the US at 39 per cent.

    As well as its biggest player base, the US is also the biggest spender on Slotomania and is responsible for 65 per cent of player spending, which by April 2021 had reached $1.5 billion.


  • Lords Mobile

    Lords Mobile logo

    Developer: IGG
    Based: China
    Release date: December 2015
    Genre: 4X Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    After its first full year after launch, Lords Mobile had generated $130 million and pushed publisher IGG’s revenue up 59 per cent for that year.

    By 2018 the game was generating up to $50 million each month and by 2021 the game had surpassed over $2 billion in lifetime revenue following the introduction of its battle pass.

    A testament to its success, in 2016 Lords Mobile won the award for Best Competitive Game at the Google Play Awards, followed by Android Excellence Game in 2017.

    According to a recent report from Sensor Tower, Lords Mobile is the leading 4X strategy mobile game in the US and generated $330 million in player spending between November 1 2020 to October 31 2021.


  • Call of Duty: Mobile

    Call of Duty: Mobile logo

    Developer: TiMi Studios (Tencent/Activision Blizzard)
    Based: China
    Release date: October 1st, 2019
    Genre: Battle Royale
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    As part of its financial filings, Activision Blizzard confirmed that Call of Duty: Mobile has been downloaded 500 million times, and has generated over $1 billion in revenue.

    In total, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 400 million units on PC and consoles globally. Developed by Tencent’s Shenzhen-based TiMi Studios, Call of Duty: Mobile was launched on October 1st, 2019, generating three million installs at launch. It was also the fastest ever mobile game to reach 100 million downloads


  • Free Fire

    Free Fire logo

    Developer: Garena/Sea
    Based: Singapore
    Release date: September 30th, 2017
    Genre: Battle Royale
    Where it found success: Emerging markets

    Following in the footsteps of other billionaire mobile battle royale games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile comes Garena's Free Fire.

    Developed by an internal studio, Free Fire is designed specifically to appeal to emerging markets, notably in terms of its file size and networking requirements.

    And on that basis, it has worked brilliantly, being a most downloaded and top-grossing game in India, Brazil and many smaller countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

    It broke through the billion-dollar ceiling within two years. 

    It also one of the most successful mobile esports, with over 100 million views of its tournaments including two million peak concurrents during its most recent world championship. 


  • Homescapes

    Homescapes logo

    Developer: Playrix
    Based: Russia
    Released: September 2017
    Genre: Match-Three/Builder
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    The follow up to Playrix's groundbreaking match-three builder mash-up Gardenscapes, Homescapes has been even more successful

    It's generated over 225 million downloads across iOS and Android, generating the majority of its more than $1 billion of revenue from Japan and key western markets such as the US and Germany.


  • PUBG Mobile

    PUBG Mobile logo

    Developer: Tencent
    Based: China
    Release date: March 23rd, 2017
    Genre: FPS/Battle Royale
    Where it found success: China

    After a problematic debut in which it fell foul of Chinese government restrictions on updating games and hence couldn't properly monetise, PUGB Mobile's sales exploded in Q2 2019. 

    Known as Game For Peace in China - where the battle royale title generates the majority of its revenue - PUBG Mobile also does decent business globally.

    With monthly revenue running at around $160 million per month, the geography split is 60:40 in favour of China. 


  • Fortnite

    Fortnite logo

    Developer: Epic Games
    Based: North Carolina, US
    Released: March 15th, 2018
    Genre: Battle Royale
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Epic's battle royale sensation Fortnite is in a unique position in the industry - it’s a cross-platform title available on PC, consoles and mobile, offering the exact same experience.

    It’s an impressive technological feat by the team and the company’s Unreal Engine, helping to spur on a new cross-platform gaming trend that actually works. You can check out our interview with Epic Games’ Arjan Brussee about how the team made this all possible in Fortnite.

    Not just a game but a cultural phenomenon, in 2018 Epic’s free-to-play battle royale sensation Fortnite made $2.4 billion across platforms, according to SuperData.

    That made it by far the world’s top-earning game, above Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online ($1.5 billion), Riot Games’ League of Legends ($1.4 billion) and Niantic’s Pokemon Go ($1.3 billion).

    When it comes to tracking mobile sales, things are slightly more complex as while the title is available on the App Store - where it’s a regular top grosser - Epic has sidestepped the Google Play store on Android in favour of its own launcher.

    Sensor Tower estimates that as of February 2019, the game made $500 million in 326 days on iOS alone.

    For some perspective, it reportedly took Supercell’s Clash Royale 389 days and Tencent’s Honor of Kings 405 days to reach the milestone.

    It's not just the sales that make Fortnite one of the most high-profile games around, its cultural impact has been significant, bringing with it glory and controversy, with Epic sued on numerous occasions for its use of certain dance emotes.

    In February 2019, the game made history by hosting a DJ Marshmello concert that was attended by 10 million concurrent players. That figure doesn’t include those who watched it online.

    That number makes it the all-time biggest concert in the world. The current Guinness World Record holder for a live event is Rod Stewart, who performed back in 1993 to 3.5 million people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Fortnite offers a glimpse of what's possible for games as a destination, rather than simply just their core, functional gameplay. And as it reportedly closes in on 250 million players, Epic may have more special events like this up its sleeve in future.

    Epic Games took home Game of the Year for Fortnite at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards 2019 in association with Game Insight. It also bagged the accolade for Best Developer on the night.

    Epic Games was named as the top mobile games studio in the world in the PocketGamer.biz Top 50 Developer list for 2018.


  • Lineage M

    Lineage M logo

    Developer: NCSoft
    Based: Seongnam, South Korea
    Release date: June 21st, 2017
    Genre: MMORPG
    Where it found success: South Korea

    Lineage M is a mobile port from NCSoft of the hit PC MMO Lineage.

    The IP is one of the most popular franchises going in South Korea, and it didn’t take long for the mobile release to make an impact.

    In just seven hours, the publisher claimed the title had already topped the country’s iOS top grossing chart. That came after 5.5 million players had pre-downloaded the game in anticipation of its launch.

    It was later reported that Lineage M had raked in more than $233 million in just its first month of release. That surpassed the wildly successful launch of Netmarble’s Lineage 2: Revolution mobile game, which generated $176 million in its launch month. NCSoft also receives royalties from that game thanks to its ownership of the Lineage brand.

    In January 2018, it was claimed that Lineage M had rocketed past $1.2 billion revenue in its first year, substantially increasing sales from NCSoft’s mobile business along with it.

    Lineage M hasn’t been able to maintain that success, but then that was always unlikely. It remains a hugely profitable title for NCSoft and is part of a franchise that will no doubt continue to contribute significantly to the publisher’s bottom line in the years ahead.


  • Lineage 2 Revolution

    Lineage 2 Revolution logo

    Developer: Netmarble
    Based: Seoul, South Korea
    Release date: December 2016
    Genre: MMORPG
    Where it found success: South Korea

    Lineage is one of the top gaming IPs in South Korea, achieving great success on PC.

    But when one of the country’s key publishers Netmarble picked up the rights to develop Lineage 2 Revolution for mobile from NCSoft, it’s unlikely it could have anticipated just how popular that game would be.

    Within its first month it picked up $176 million in revenue. If you thought that might not be matched for quite some time, you’d be wrong. NCSoft’s mobile follow-up Lineage M - a port of the original PC MMO - bagged more than $233 million in its first month.

    By 11 months, Lineage 2 Revolution brought home $924 million. At GDC 2019, Netmarble confirmed during Epic’s State of Unreal keynote that the title had reached the $1 billion milestone in its first year.

    The game’s success played a key part on Netmarble’s IPO, success it would have been able to leverage to increase its share value.

    While game sales have slowed for Lineage 2 much as they have for Lineage M, it is still the biggest revenue driver for the publisher ahead of the likes of Marvel Contest of Champions, Cookie Jam, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and Marvel Future Fight.


  • Pokémon GO

    Pokémon GO logo

    Developer: Niantic
    Based: San Francisco, US
    Release date: July 6th, 2016
    Genre: Location-Based/Augmented Reality
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    If Niantic had called the Pokémon in its Google Maps April Fools’ joke in 2014 a $1 billion experiment, you wouldn’t have believed it. That said, after going independent the studio turned the idea into a fully-fledged mobile game in the form of Pokémon GO, delivered a location-based worldwide catch 'em all utilising augmented.

    In just seven months, Pokémon GO generated more than $1 billion. The mobile phenomenon has gone on to accumulate $1 billion every year since its launch - equalling $5 billion in five years as of 2021.

    Pokémon GO is still going strong and is a regular feature in the upper echelons of the top-grossing charts around the world. Not just a fad, the various in-game events and the introduction of new Pokémon have kept players coming back, with no signs of slowing down. 


  • Clash Royale

    Clash Royale logo

    Developer: Supercell
    Based: Helsinki, Finland
    Release date: March 2nd, 2016
    Genre: MOBA/CCG
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Supercell isn’t messing around when it comes to developing the biggest games around. Harnessing the Clash of Clans IP (a game also on this very exclusive list), it reportedly generated $1 billion in less than a year.

    The MOBA/card battler has revolutionised how mobile games can monetise, thanks to its innovative four chest system. It also condensed the essence of the hugely popular MOBA genre from PC and deftly brought it to mobile platforms. Its style has been copied by a number of other studios, but so far largely unsuccessfully.

    Not just that, Supercell has really led the way in real-time PvP on mobile, a trend that’s set to stay. It’s more proof, if you needed it, that Supercell is one of the best developers in the world when it comes to creating exciting, fun games that are innovative and can last.

    Much like Clash of Clans, you can expect to see Clash Royale at the top of the charts for years to come, particularly if it successfully breaks into the eSports scene (yet another area Supercell is taking the lead in on mobile).


  • Fantasy Westward Journey

    Fantasy Westward Journey logo

    Developer: Netease
    Based: Guangzhou, China
    Release date: 2015
    Genre: MMORPG
    Where it found success: China

    NetEase is the second biggest mobile games publisher in China, just behind industry heavyweight Tencent.

    Alongside its competitor, it regularly dominates the top 10 grossing charts in China - a market far more lucrative than any other in the world. And the game that’s leading NetEase’s multi-billion dollar charge? Fantasy Westward Journey.

    The MMORPG has had hundreds of millions of players and has become one of the most popular IPs in China. It has regularly charted in second place on the China App Store, just behind mega-hit Honor of Kings.

    In 2017, Pearl Research reported that over $7.3 million worth of in-game currency was exchanged each day in the game - which lets players trade items and collectables with each other for currency.

    In 2017 alone, SuperData reported the game had generated $1.5 billion in revenue. As of 2019, the game continues to be a top earner for NetEase on mobile.


  • Honor of Kings

    Honor of Kings logo

    Developer: Tencent
    Based: Shenzhen, China
    Release date: November 26th, 2015
    Genre: MOBA
    Where it found success: China

    In terms of annual revenue, Honor of Kings is the biggest game on the planet.

    Honor of Kings has had many names, including Arena of Valor in the West (previously Strike of Kings) and Penta Storm in South Korea. It’s also been known as Realm of Valor and King of Glory.

    Taking cues from another massive hit for PC, Riot Games-developed League of Legends (which Tencent also owns), it’s attracted more than 200 million players and reportedly had a peak of had around 70 million daily active users.

    These kinds of numbers boggle the mind, particularly when much of its success comes solely from Tencent’s home country of China. The game has become so popular that the Chinese government has even intervened to hit back at the title, calling it ‘poison’.

    Not many games prompt the ire of the government that effectively force the developer to implement gameplay restriction for young players. Tencent has limited gameplay to one hour a day for children under 12. Those aged 12 to 18 will be restricted to two hours a day. On top of this, children under 12 will not be able to play the game after 9pm in China.

    In March 2019, lifetime sales were estimated to have hit $4.5 billion. The game is now closing in on $10 billion revenue - the mobile game in history to achieve this.

     


  • Fate/Grand Order

    Fate/Grand Order logo

    Developer: Delightworks
    Based: Tokyo, Japan
    Released: July 30th, 2015 
    Genre: RPG
    Where it found success: Japan

    Fate/Grand Order is one of mobile gaming’s most peculiar smash hits. Not because the game doesn’t fit in with the Asia market’s thirst for RPGs, but because it sits in Sony’s Music division.

    Developed by Delightworks, the title is published by Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. When that division posts a big profit - much of that money comes from Fate/Grand Order’s billions.

    SuperData claims that in 2017, the title made $982 million. By March 2019, Sensor Tower estimates the game reached $3 billion in worldwide player spending. That makes it one of Sony’s all-time biggest gaming successes.

    Players in Japan are said to have contributed 82 per cent ($2.46 billion) of that, with China and the US coming in at a distant second and third.

    In recent times the title has appeared on and off in the top 10 grossing rankings on the Chinese App Store. Still regularly hitting the top spot in Japan, don’t expect Fate/Grand Order to stop raking in the billions anytime soon.


  • Mobile Strike

    Mobile Strike logo

    Developer: Machine Zone
    Based: Palo Alto, USA
    Release date: July 11th, 2015
    Genre: Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    How do you follow up a massive hit like Game of War? Swap fantasy for a real-world war theme and slap Arnold Schwarzenegger on the marketing and voila – you’ve got your next $1 billion game.

    Obviously, it’s not that simple, but MZ, with its huge marketing budget, makes it look easy. Not cannibalising Game of War, Mobile Strike has proven an equally successful addition to MZ’s portfolio - and much like Game of War, you’re unlikely to miss it from the incessant advertising.

    But it worked – MZ’s big Super Bowl ad was the most-watched ad on YouTube in 2016 with over 100 million views. The title began to fall away slightly in 2017 in the top-grossing charts after MZ seemingly pulled the plug on marketing for the game.

    The game has now dropped out of the top 100 grossing rankings on the US App Store, as MZ appears to be focusing its efforts on Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire.

     


  • Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle

    Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle logo

    Developer: Akatsuki (Bandai Namco)
    Based: Tokyo, Japan 
    Release date: January 30th 2015
    Genre: Puzzle RPG
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Bandai Namco has carefully built up a mobile gaming powerhouse with Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle.

    The team’s approach to live operations and in-game events have seen the title come on in leaps and bounds to become a $1 billion-plus generator.

    Back in 2017, we analysed how the game went from grossing outside the top 400 in the US to a big hit. By July 2017, Dokkan Battle had surpassed 200 million downloads.

    As of March 2019, Sensor Tower estimates the game’s lifetime revenue to date had hit $1.6 billion. That came after its best month ever in February 2019 where it generated around $78.6 million.


  • Summoners War

    Summoners War logo

    Developer: Com2Us
    Based: Seoul, South Korea
    Release date: June 12th, 2014
    Genre: Strategy/RPG
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Summoners War is unique in that it’s a game developed in South Korea but has found most of its success internationally - though it's no slouch at home either.

    It’s generated more than $890 million overseas, still leaving a cool $100 million-plus from earnings in its home region.

    Com2us aims to capitalise on its success by developing a new MMO based on the IP and publishing the title as an eSport. To that end, the developer is running a Summoners War World Arena Championship through the second half of 2017.

    It's easy to see the game itself making another $1 billion, and with other projects in the works, Summoners War is very much about to become a multi-billion dollar franchise.

    As of February 2019, Summoners War crossed 100 million downloads.

     


  • Boom Beach

    Boom Beach logo

    Developer: Supercell
    Based: Helsinki, Finland
    Release date: March 26th, 2014
    Genre: Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    While it clearly has a large and very engaged audience to break through the $1 billion barrier, Boom Beach is one of Supercell’s lesser-known hits.

    Perhaps not as big as its sibling's Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Hay Day, Boom Beach would be a flagship title for any other mobile games studio. But as you’ll see from this list of $1 billion mobile games, Supercell is different.

    We’ve covered Boom Beach’s charting performance previously, showing how it maintained a top 20 position in 2015 and 2016 before steadily facing a decline on both US app stores.

    It’s fallen outside of the top 100 grossing spots in markets such as the UK and US in 2019, though the IP is very much alive with Space Ape Games and Supercell collaborating for Boom Beach: Frontlines. The game is currently in soft launch.


  • Monster Strike

    Monster Strike logo

    Developer: Mixi
    Based: Tokyo, Japan
    Released: August 8th, 2013
    Genre: Physics Strategy/Puzzle/RPG
    Where it found success: Japan

    One thing is for sure: Japan likes its dragons. Following quickly on from Puzzle & Dragons, Mixi’s Monster Strike became Japan’s number one top grosser in 2014 and has continued to generate millions of dollars a day since.

    In August 2015, it was reported the game was earning some $4.2 million a day. Much like Puzzle & Dragons, nearly all of Monster Strike’s success came from Japan as it struggled to find engaged users elsewhere in the world.

    But unlike GungHo, Mixi’s revenues actually grew in 2017 after it managed to grow the userbase of Monster Strike, even hitting a record number of players. By October 2018 it was estimated that lifetime sales had surpassed $7 billion.

    Mixi’s managed to grow the franchise to create merchandising around the brand, as well as release an anime based on the IP. It’s also running eSports tournaments and lotteries for the game.

    The IP has shown remarkable resilience and longevity and, even if Monster Strike fades over time, the franchise looks like it might just live on for a long time yet. Perhaps in another billion-dollar mobile game?


  • Game of War: Fire Age

    Game of War: Fire Age logo

    Developer: Machine Zone
    Based: Palo Alto, US
    Released: July 25th, 2013
    Genre: Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    MZ cuts a somewhat controversial figure in the games industry. It’s at times brutal monetisation practices and complex game design aren’t for everyone, as it focuses on the spenders in its titles and building close-knit communities.

    But there’s a lot to be learned from MZ who have proven masters of creating high revenue-generating games.

    It all kicked off with Game of War: Fire Age in July 2013, which has laid down the foundations in game design, technology and marketing techniques for its latter titles Mobile Strike (also on this list) and Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire (perhaps a $1 billion contender in the future).

    You may have come across Game of War in the past from any game that used advertising, including playable ads – though that’s something MZ has pulled back from when it comes to this title.

    You may also recognise those infamous Kate Upton ads on TV. MZ has certainly never been shy about ploughing many millions of dollars into its user acquisition campaigns and attaching a well-known face to the marketing.

    It’s all helped spur Game of War on to well over $1 billion in lifetime revenues - it's been the number one top-grossing game in 111 countries, according to App Annie.

    And while Game of War may be reaching the end of its life, it's still generating revenue for MZ.

     


  • Disney Tsum Tsum

    Disney Tsum Tsum logo

    Developer: Line Corporation
    Based: Tokyo, Japan
    Release date: 2013
    Genre: Puzzle
    Where it found success: Japan

    Disney Tsum Tsum’s performance has been remarkable since its 2013 release.

    It’s rarely slipped out of the top 10 grossing charts in Japan, though it’s perhaps not been as big a title elsewhere in the world. But it's still been able to hit a significant milestone. On April 11th, 2017 it surpassed $1 billion in lifetime revenues.

    According to Line, the title has been played 165.4 billion times since it was launched in Japan in 2013 and later worldwide in July 2014. Disney has also benefitted hugely from the Tsum Tsum brand. Combined game and merchandise sales are said to have reached a combined $2 billion.

    On April 29th 2017, it hit 70 million downloads. By February 2019, the game reportedly surpassed $1.5 billion in sales.


  • Candy Crush Saga

    Candy Crush Saga logo

    Developer: King
    Based: London, UK
    Released: November 14th, 2012
    Genre: Match-Three
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    If you know one mobile game, it’s probably Candy Crush Saga. If you’ve played one mobile game, it’s probably Candy Crush Saga, too.

    The title perfected the match-three genre for mobile devices and has become not just a hugely successful game (and franchise), but a cultural phenomenon.

    There’s a reason there’s now a Candy Crush game show in the US that is attracting four million-plus viewers.

    In 2017 we reported the title had only dropped out of the US App Store top 10 grossing charts twice in over four years, and while its sequels have been highly lucrative themselves, they’ve never quite managed to match the original.

    Back in September 2016, it was reported that an average of 18 billion games in Candy Crush Saga was being played every month. It’s easily surpassed one trillion game plays since it was launched on Facebook in 2012.

    The title's multi-billion-dollar success (as well as the rest of its hugely popular titles) is a key reason why Activision Blizzard swooped in to buy King for $5.9 billion in November 2015.

    As of October 2018, Candy Crush Saga was estimated to have reached $3.91 billion in lifetime revenue.


  • Clash of Clans

    Clash of Clans logo

    Developer: Supercell
    Based: Helsinki, Finland
    Release date: August 2nd, 2012
    Genre: Strategy
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    There’s only one Supercell. And it should come as no surprise that the Finnish developer is on the list of mobile’s biggest revenue generators.

    Clash of Clans was released five years ago on August 2nd 2012 and to this day it remains one of the highest grossing games period, not just on mobile. It’s thought to be raking in $1 billion a year, making it a multi-billion-dollar game.

    Supercell hasn’t simply rested on its laurels with the game – despite having a comparatively (to other developers) tiny team working on the title.

    The release of a major ‘Builder Base’ update, which introduced some major changes including simultaneous PvP gameplay, helped boost sales once again for the ageing title.

    In July 2018, it was estimated that Clash of Clans had surpassed $4 billion in revenue.

    Clash of Clans is the pinnacle of the build-and-battle strategy genre on mobile, perfecting the design and monetisation that’s led it to become such a force in gaming.

    You can find out more about how the team has kept the game going so strong after five years in our interview with the title’s Senior Server Engineer Jonas Collaros.


  • Hay Day

    Hay Day logo

    Developer: Supercell
    Based: Helsinki, Finland
    Release date: June 21st, 2012
    Genre: Simulation
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    When a lot of people think of Supercell, they think of it as the Clash of Clans studio. But the game that started it all was in fact Hay Day (unless you count Gunshine, of course).

    Mobile farming title Hay Day was first launched in 2012 on iOS, before coming to Android over a year later. It launched around a month and a half before Clash of Clans did, and while the latter has had explosive growth, Hay Day itself is no slouch and has bagged over $1 billion.

    But don’t take our word for it - Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen revealed the news himself in the company’s 2018 financials.

    All of the company’s first four-game releases - Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Clash Royale - have all made more than $1 billion.

    At the time of writing (April 2nd, 2019), Hay Day was still a regular top 80 grossing mobile games on the US App Store.

    If there’s any game that can show the longevity to be had on mobile - it’s Hay Day.


  • Puzzle & Dragons

    Puzzle & Dragons logo

    Developer: GungHo
    Based: Tokyo, Japan
    Release date: February 20th, 2012
    Genre: Match-Three/RPG
    Where it found success: Japan

    GungHo’s match-three monster-battling RPG Puzzle & Dragons will be remembered as one of the most significant mobile games of all time.

    Released in Japan in February 2012, it was the first game to officially cross the $1 billion sales milestone.

    It showed just how popular mobile games can be and has its blend of match-three, RPG mechanics, collectables and gacha monetisation, while also been hugely influential on that Japanese mobile games market.

    What’s even more impressive (depending on how you look at it), is most of this revenue came from just Japan, where the title has been most successful by far.

    By July 2017 the game has achieved 46 million downloads in Japan alone. For some perspective, in 2016 Japan’s total population was said to stand at around 127 million.

    Revenues from Puzzle & Dragons have been on the decline in recent times, but years after launch it’s still no slouch. In fact, lifetime earnings from the game are estimated to have exceeded some $7 billion.


  • Roblox

    Roblox logo

    Developer: Roblox Corp
    Based: US
    Release date: May 2012
    Genre: Creative Sandbox
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    The past few years has seen many firms chasing after the coveted metaverse, but perhaps one of the closest yet is Roblox.

    With its array of user generated content (UGC) available on the platform, players are able to jump into all sorts of games; or as Roblox calls them, 'experiences'.

    First launched on PC in 2006, Roblox came to mobile devices in 2012 with its launch on iOS and later on Android devices in 2014, and the game continued to grow.

    Since its launch Roblox has only continued to generate revenue at a faster rate. In 2021, Roblox generated $1.3 billion in player spending which made it one of eight mobile games that generated over $1 billion in revenue that year alone.

    The game is now perhaps the truest interpretation of the metaverse. It has also hosted a variety of music performances, such as David Guetta, Twenty One Pilots, and KSI. Clothing brands are also keen to enter the Roblox metaverse, including Nike, Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, and more. Even Spotify has joined the party.


  • Gardenscapes

    Gardenscapes logo

    Developer: Playrix
    Based: Ireland
    Release date: June 2016
    Genre: Match-3
    Where it found success: Worldwide

    Much like its predecessor earlier on the list, Playrix’s Gardenscapes has also shot past the billion dollar mark.

    Gardenscapes was the foundation that led to Playrix perfecting its formula that it has used for Homescapes and its upcoming Farmscapes.

    By August 2021 the title surpassed $3 billion in player spending after the title generated almost $1 billion in player spending alone in 2020 when the title had 11.5 million DAU.

    We spoke with Playrix about how they changed the match-three market with their ‘scapes’ franchise and how this rocketed the studio to be the household name it is now.


  • Candy Crush Soda Saga

    Candy Crush Soda Saga logo

    Developer: King
    Based: UK
    Release date: June 2014
    Genre: Match-3
    Where it found success: Globally

    Ever since the candy-matching phenomenon first appeared, players haven’t been able to get enough.

    Candy Crush Soda Saga was the first sequel in the franchise and featured soda bottles in place of candy. Soda Saga is currently the only sequel in the franchise to surpass $1 billion in consumer spending.

    The success of the Candy Crush franchise is one of the reasons that Microsoft is seeking to acquire Activision Blizzard (and ActiBlizz acquired King) in early 2022 for almost $70 billion.

    As confirmed by a moderator on a post to the community page for the game, as of January 2022 there were 8470 levels available on mobile devices.


  • Coin Master

    Coin Master logo

    Developer: Moon Active
    Based: Israel
    Release date: December 2010
    Genre: Casual/Luck Battle
    Where it found success: Europe

    In the Casino mobile games space, Coin Master is leading the front and has held its number one spot for some time.

    Launched in 2010, Coin Master is the oldest mobile game on our list to surpass $1 billion in player spending.

    Coin Master has found its greatest success in Europe, in particular the UK and Germany. In 2019, Coin Master was the highest grossing mobile game in Europe with $211 million in player spending.

    More recently, Coin Master was the second-highest earning mobile game in Europe in 2021 with $392 million generated during the period, highlighting how the game has only continued to increase in popularity with time.

    On the back of the success of Coin Master, Moon Active raised $300 million in November 2021, which valued the company at $5 billion, quadrupling its value in two years.


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