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Updated: Top 10 highest-grossing mobile games of all time

From Candy Crush and Clash of Clans to Pokémon and PUBG

Updated: Top 10 highest-grossing mobile games of all time

The mobile games industry has quickly developed into one of the most profitable and lucrative entertainment industries in the world.

The most popular mobile titles are now consistently exceeding $100 million individually each month, with a majority of consumer spending generated from Asia, thanks to the likes of China, South Korea and Japan contributing heavily

Here at PocketGamer.biz, we have curated a list of the highest-grossing mobile games of all time to give insight into what games have proven time and time again to be powerhouses of success.

Show me the money

As provided by mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the revenue estimates span the period of January 1st, 2014, to July 31st, 2021.

The figures are representative of consumer spending across the App Store and Google Play and do not include third-party Android stores.

Similarly, these figures do not represent additional revenue that companies may have earned through advertising and sponsorship deals.

Something worth noting is that not a single entry on this list is a premium title - instead, each entry falls under the free-to-play category and includes in-app purchases.

This speaks volumes about the mobile games industry and sets a precedent for future developers on how best to monetise their games if they wish to crack this list. 


Click here to view the list »
  • Number 10 - Lineage M

    Number 10 - Lineage M logo

    Developer: NCSoft
    Revenue: $3.5 billion
    Release date: June 21st, 2017
    Genre: MMORPG

    Lineage M is a mobile version of the 1998 MMORPG Lineage based on a South Korean comic book of the same name.

    The Lineage franchise is one of the most popular in South Korea and within seven hours of release had reached the top of the iOS charts within the country. During its first month of launch, Lineage M went on to generate $233 million from player spending. By June 2018, the game was claimed to have already exceeded $1 billion in revenue in its first year.

    Although Lineage M has not built upon its early successes, it still maintains its position as one of the highest-grossing mobile games of all time and remains a vastly profitable title for NCSoft.


  • Number 9 - Fantasy Westward Journey

    Number 9 - Fantasy Westward Journey logo

    Developer: NetEase
    Revenue: $4.7 billion
    Release date: March 26th, 2015
    Genre: MMORPG

    Similar to Lineage M, Fantasy Westward Journey is a mobile iteration of a popular PC MMORPG that was originally released in December 2001.

    Fantasy Westward Journey was launched for both iOS and Android in March 2015 and continues to perform admirably for NetEase six years on. In 2016, Fantasy Westward Journey pushed NetEase to be the world’s top-grossing mobile games company, a privilege that has since been lost to another on our list.

    Fantasy Westward Journey regularly charts in second place for player spending across China, with the first being the number one game on our list.


  • Number 8 - Pokémon GO

    Number 8 - Pokémon GO logo

    Developer: Niantic
    Revenue: $5.2 billion
    Release date: July 6th, 2016
    Genre: Location-Based/AR

    Pokémon GO was released worldwide in July 2016 and changed the way mobile games could be played entirely. As opposed to the traditional sedentary method of mobile games, Pokémon GO encouraged players to go outside and explore the world. 

    Pokémon GO is still going strong after five years since release, generating $5 billion in consumer spending across its lifetime. Live events such as Pokémon GO Fest see thousands attend from around the globe, with Niantic's player base continuing to grow.

    Alongside consumer spending, Niantic receives income each time a player visits a sponsored Pokéstop, so the overall revenue figure is likely much higher.

    Developer Niantic now has a number of other AR projects in the works, such as one utilising Nintendo's Pikmin and another with the Transformers IP. Let's see if lightning strikes twice, as this certainly wasn't the case with the studio's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite follow up. Still, the accomplishments of Pokémon GO cannot be overstated. 


  • Number 7 - Fate/Grand Order

    Number 7 - Fate/Grand Order logo

    Developer: Aniplex
    Revenue: $5.4 billion
    Release date: July 29th, 2015
    Genre: RPG

    Fate/Grand Order is a Japanese RPG based on Type-Moon’s franchise Fate/stay night and was first released in Japan in July 2015 on Android and then on iOS two weeks later.

    An English language version was released in North America almost two years after the original release on June 25th, 2017.

    The title is extremely popular in Japan, where players have previously contributed 82 per cent of overall consumer spending, with China and the US placing in a distant second and third respectively. Publisher Aniplex is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, and therefore, is one of Sony’s biggest gaming successes in or out of mobile games. 

    The franchise has been so successful in fact, that it has even received several animated films, an animated series, three manga adaptations, an arcade version and two stage plays in 2017 and 2019.


  • Number 6 - Puzzle & Dragons

    Number 6 - Puzzle & Dragons logo

    Developer: GungHo Online Entertainment
    Revenue: $5.6 billion
    Release date: February 20th, 2012 
    Genre: Puzzle/RPG

    Puzzle & Dragons is a match-three monster battling RPG and was the first mobile game to surpass the $1 billion milestone.

    Since launching in February 2012, the game has been downloaded over 80 million times, highlighting how popular match-three mobile titles can be.

    The bulk of Puzzle & Dragons' revenue has been accumulated from Japan, where the title became most successful and remains the same to this day. Puzzle & Dragons is only available in Japan, North America and Europe, with the latter only able to be accessed via iOS devices.

    Although revenues have been declining, it still remains one of the highest-earning mobile games each month in Japan, generating tens of millions.


  • Number 5 - Candy Crush Saga

    Number 5 - Candy Crush Saga logo

    Developer: King
    Revenue: $6.4 billion
    Release date: April 12th, 2012
    Genre: Puzzle

    Candy Crush Saga is the second match-three title to earn a place in the 10 highest-grossing mobile games, solidifying the genre’s profitability.

    Originally released as a browser experience, Candy Crush Saga eventually made its way to iOS on November 14th, 2012 and to Android on December 14th, 2012.

    Candy Crush has been considered one of the original and most successful utilisers of the "freemium" model, where players can play the entire game without spending a cent. Although, this ranking suggests otherwise with in-game purchases designed for players to acquire items that will help them progress through difficult levels.

    Since the release of Candy Crush Saga, King has developed three spinoffs: Candy Crush Soda Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga and Candy Crush Friends Saga.

    As a result of Candy Crush's dominance on the market, Activision Blizzard acquired developer King in 2016 for $5.9 billion.


  • Number 4 - PUBG Mobile

    Number 4 - PUBG Mobile logo

    Developer: PUBG Corporation/Tencent/Bluehole
    Revenue: $7 billion
    Release date: March 19th, 2018
    Genre: Battle Royale

    Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) was one of the pioneers of the battle royale genre. Initially launched on PC in March 2017, the game received a mobile version the following year.

    While PUBG initially experienced a rocky start that saw battle royale competitor Fortnite succeed it in revenue, the game made a huge comeback to become the highest-grossing battle royale on mobile.

    Chinese publisher Tencent approached the developers of PUBG in its early stages to release the game in China. however, this release suffered several setbacks. Eventually, to abide by Chinese government regulations, the game was released under the name Game for Peace. and doesn't feature any blood and complies with other Chinese values.

    PUBG mobile has been banned in several countries - including India, citing security fears and the alleged potential of addiction in younger players. Krafton revealed a relaunch in the country as Battlegrounds Mobile India. Additionally, PUBG Mobile Lite, a version for lower-end mobile phones, was released in July 2019.

    In August 2021, Krafton renamed Player Unknown Battlegrounds to PUBG: Battlegrounds.

    A sequel to PUBG mobile, PUBG: New State, was released on November 11th, 2021, and accumulated over 20 million downloads within five days since launch.

    In November 2021, PUBG Mobile reached a new milestone and surpassed $7 billion in lifetime player spending.


  • Number 3 - Clash of Clans

    Number 3 - Clash of Clans logo

    Developer: Supercell
    Revenue: $7.7 billion
    Release date: August 2nd, 2012
    Genre: Strategy

    Clash of Clans is Supercell’s most successful game and rocketed the company to a household name in the mobile space. The game was initially launched on iOS with an Android release following a year after.

    Clash of Clans has received four spin-off titles set in the same universe. The first spinoff was 2016’s Clash Royale, with a further three revealed to be in development earlier this year: Clash Mini, Clash Quest and Clash Heroes.

    Supercell is known for producing consistently successful games with three other games - Hay Day, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars - reaching over $1 billion in revenue.

    Chinese conglomerate Tencent holds a majority stake in Supercell in what was the largest games industry acquisition of all time.


  • Number 2 - Monster Strike

    Number 2 - Monster Strike logo

    Developer: Mixi (XFLAG)
    Revenue: $9.3 billion
    Release date: August 8th, 2013
    Genre: RPG

    Monster Strike is a Japanese role-playing game that features physics, puzzle and multiplayer features.

    Much like the many entries on this list, Monster Strike found massive success in its homeland of Japan and by 2014 stole the top spot for the highest-grossing mobile game. Developer Mixi (formerly known as XFLAG) has credited Monster Strike for saving the studio from closure. 

    That said, the game has struggled to expand Monster Strike’s audience outside of Japan, and although it was released in North America, Taiwan and South Korea, the majority of the game’s revenue is generated from Japanese consumer spending. Not that it needs any help from elsewhere.

    Monster Strike's lack of success overseas has not proven to be a problem as the RPG is the second highest-grossing mobile game in the world with over 50 million installs.

    Mixi grew the franchise to create merchandise and even an animated series around the IP, as well as esports tournaments and lotteries surrounding the RPG. While the franchise has lost some of its presence to newer releases, it still remains one of the highest-grossing mobile games in Japan each month.


  • Number 1 - Honor of Kings

    Number 1 - Honor of Kings logo

    Developer: Tencent
    Revenue: $10 billion
    Release date: November 26th, 2015
    Genre: MOBA

    Honor of Kings is Tencent’s magnum opus and takes the top spot as the highest-grossing mobile game of all time. The game follows in the footsteps of Riot Games’ League of Legends (also owned by Tencent) and has exceeded 100 million daily active users.

    Honor of Kings regularly takes the lead for overall worldwide consumer spending on a monthly basis. Most of this success stems from China, where the game originated from and was individually responsible for 96 per cent of global player spending by 2018.

    The mobile game is so popular in China that state media has branded it a "spiritual opium" and publisher Tencent has had to implement multiple restrictions, such as limiting the amount of daily screen time under 18s can have and prohibiting in-game purchases for children under 12.

    An international adaptation of the game, Arena of Valor, was released on October 12th, 2016 in Taiwan, which has gradually made its way to other territories in the subsequent years. Arena of Valor launched the Nintendo Switch on September 25th, 2018.

    Honor of Kings is a colossal contributor to Tencent, being a big part of why the Chinese tech giant has expanded to the gargantuan size that it is today. Through a series of successfully developed titles and smart acquisitions, Tencent has become the leading mobile games company in the world and unabashedly dominates this list.


News Editor

Aaron is the News Editor at PG.biz with a lifelong interest for the games industry and a penchant for mobile rhythm games.

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