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The Top 50 Mobile Game Makers of 2020

The Top 50 Mobile Game Makers of 2020

Our Top 50 Mobile Game Makers list is now in its 11th year, and what a year it's been already.

2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, but in the mobile games industry, it will likely be remembered for the continued growth of hypercasual as a genre, some impressively large acquisitions, and a string of battles waged across and about the app stores.

We've seen Apple Arcade offer a new avenue for premium mobile developers, while free-to-play revenues have surged thanks to people spending more time at home. And we've seen streaming services start kicking into high gear, with Stadia and xCloud battling it out on smaller screens with console titles.

It's been tough picking out the developers we consider to be "the best" amongst all the chaos of 2020. It's been a difficult year, and it isn't getting any easier. Realistically, every company still hanging on deserves recognition of some kind.

Time to celebrate

Still, we want to take the time to celebrate the best game makers in the industry, and so once again consider our Top 50. There's a lot to take into account - revenues, quality of games - but perhaps the most important metric for this edition is potential.

We want to celebrate the developers making the big moves in the market, the ones who are investing heavily in their future and have exciting prospects on the horizon.

Maybe that's an upcoming game currently in soft launch, or perhaps it's an intriguing acquisition that set tongues wagging at the time. Whatever the case, bold actions and impressive growth has been the key to success in this year's Top 50.

We've also made a super nice downloadable brochure of all this year's winners. You can download that here.

Click here to view the list »
  • 50 Capybara Games

    Capybara Games logo

    Capybara Games may have only released one notable mobile game in the last 12 months, but it’s fair to say that the arrival of Grindstone has made a significant impact across the industry.

    A launch title for Apple’s Arcade service, Grindstone quickly became the defining game of the collection – an experience you can only get on mobile, perfectly suited for the platform, and with an assured long life ahead of it thanks to the addition of new levels and mechanics.

    Capybara doesn’t work much on mobile anymore, but with the success of Grindstone, that may change in the future.


  • 49 Huuuge Games

    Huuuge Games logo

    Huuuge is perhaps best known as a social casino studio, but the last year has seen it make a few big pushes into the more traditional mobile games, too.

    Not only did it pick up the Trolls licence for a casual bubble shooter, it also published Matchland and Transport It Tycoon, further diversifying its portfolio.

    On top of all that, Huuuge acquired Bow Land developer Double Star and interactive ads firm Playable Platform as part of its “Build and Buy” strategy, which will no doubt see further M&A activity from the studio in the months to come.


  • 48 Ndemic Creations

    Ndemic Creations logo

    Plague Inc. is a staple of the premium mobile market, but its importance has surged due to rather obvious reasons: a pandemic on the same scale as depicted in the game.

    Now eight years old, the game’s success enabled indie studio Ndemic to donate $250,000 to coronavirus relief charities, and add an anti-virus mode slightly more befitting the current climate.

    Ndemic isn’t just a one-trick-pony, however, and its other title Rebel Inc. is also greatly benefitting from its predecessor’s success, with a hefty single-player campaign due to be added in the future.


  • 47 East Side Games

    East Side Games logo

    Carving out a niche in the crowded mobile market is a pretty smart move, and it certainly seems to be paying off for narrative-led idle game developer East Side Games.

    It’s clearly caught the eye of TV execs, with the studio launching a game based on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and securing The Goldbergs IP for another title.

    East Side is also looking to grow the idle game market with its IdleKit SDK, which was used in Dragon Up: Idle Adventure from Night Garden Studio, and likely in more games to come.


  • 46 Annapurna Interactive

    Annapurna Interactive logo

    While a relative newcomer to the gaming scene, Annapurna Interactive has cemented itself as one of the most interesting and exciting mobile publishers around.

    Simogo’s Sayonara Wild Hearts is the jewel in its crown, but it’s important not to discount the rest of Annapurna’s catalogue, which in the last 12 months included Telling Lies, If Found…, and a mobile port of Journey.

    While these titles may be multiplatform, Annapurna recognises mobile as a legitimate space for its less conventional games, and upcoming releases like The Artful Escape and The Pathless are sure to bring more intriguing premium experiences to the platform.


  • 45 Frogmind Games

    Frogmind Games logo

    Frogmind has clearly hit on a winning formula with its Rumble series – how else can you explain its launch of Rumble Hockey so soon after Rumble Stars Soccer?

    While both games follow a similar format, Rumble Hockey caught our eye with its influencer program, offering a 100% revenue share from IAPs purchased by players the influencers brought into the game.

    It’s an interesting proposal, and no doubt helped push the title to clear 1 million downloads in a month – something it is surely looking to replicate with its next release, presumably featuring the same influencer incentive.


  • 44 Hutch

    Hutch logo

    London-based Hutch Games has proven itself to be a master of racing titles, both with its original IP and a particularly big licence now in its catalogue.

    F1 Manager continues to race ahead, with a huge new update in 2020 to bring the game in line with the current race season, adding new series and car components for a convincing and exciting refresh.

    And it’s secured top brands for its original titles, such as card-collector Top Drives and arcade racer Rebel Racing. We look forward to seeing what other spins on the racing genre Hutch conjures up.


  • 43 Jagex

    Jagex logo

    Jagex could be accused of simply ticking along with RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, though its sale to Macarthur Fortune Holding for $530 million is a sure sign of the faith people have in the studio.

    Indeed, Jagex posted annual revenues of $137.6 million for 2019, the first time in its history that it has cleared the $100 million mark, thanks to an uptick in subscriptions across both its games on mobile and PC.

    Not bad for a series which is fast approaching its 20th anniversary and is still finding its feet on the smaller screen.

    But Jagex is also looking forward: the recently announced deal to bring Flying Wild Hog’s next game to market signals its move into third-party publishing.


  • 42 Kwalee

    Kwalee logo

    It’s been a tough year for every developer, but Kwalee has taken the shift to remote working in its stride.

    Not only has it launched two new hypercasual games developed while the UK was in lockdown, but it’s also expanded into India with a new studio and partnered with Buildbox to potentially publish games made in the no-code development platform.

    With Kwalee now opening more of its roles to remote workers on a permanent basis, the studio looks primed to grow its development capabilities and expand its catalogue of hypercasual titles no matter what the future holds.


  • 41 GungHo Online Entertainment

    GungHo Online Entertainment logo

    Think of GungHo on mobile and you’ll probably think of one game in particular: the ever-popular Puzzle & Dragons.

    Despite never quite breaking the western market, P&D has now cleared 54 million downloads in Japan eight years after first launching, and has recently added a subscription pass which is sure to appeal to existing spenders.

    GungHo has other games, of course – mobile card-battle Teppen and Switch shooter Ninjala have seen strong starts – but there’s no doubting Puzzle & Dragons will continue to be the company’s top performer, even as it approaches its tenth birthday.


  • 40 Capcom

    Capcom logo

    Capcom may not have a huge mobile presence, but it’s been making some interesting moves of late that have put it back on our radar.

    Not only has it returned to the casual market with Snoopy Puzzle Journey, it also continues to pursue a core audience in Japan, with recently launched Monster Hunter Riders clearing 5 million downloads within two months of release.

    But most exciting is China-only release Devil May Cry: Pinnacle of Combat, the first mobile game to use the DmC licence and, based on what has been shown so far, one with some serious potential.


  • 39 LEGO

    LEGO logo

    Recent months have seen Lego fully embrace the world of gaming – and not just because of its partnership with Nintendo on the impressive new Super Mario sets.

    Instead, it’s the launch of Light Brick Studios, a development team working on experimental mobile games, which has drawn attention in the mobile space thanks to its beautiful, heartwarming Lego Builder’s Journey release.

    The group hasn’t shied away from traditional titles, with a Gameloft partnership resulting in Lego Legacy: Heroes Unboxed, but we’re excited to see which direction Light Brick takes next – if it remains part of the company’s strategy.


  • 38 Mixi

    Mixi logo

    Monster Strike is another one of those games that never found an audience outside of Japan, but its home country fans are big, big spenders.

    The almost seven-year-old game has seen MAUs fall pretty consistently year-on-year, but it continues to pull in huge revenues and remains the main focus of Mixi’s mobile gaming business strategy.

    That Monster Strike alone contributed the bulk of Mixi’s $1.06 billion annual revenue for 2019 is staggering – even if it is a yearly decline. But with everyone stuck in their homes for plenty of 2020, that figure is sure to again rise higher this year.


  • 37 Jam City

    Jam City logo

    We’re still waiting for Jam City’s much-anticipated IPO, but its business continues to thrive thanks to existing titles and newer releases.

    The last year saw Disney Emoji Blitz and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery reportedly clear $100 million and $154 million in revenues, respectively, while the studio also launched a new game with a major IP in the form of Frozen Adventures.

    No doubt Jam City will continue to support its existing licensed titles for years to come, and perhaps one day its dream of an IPO will come true.


  • 36 Miniclip

    Miniclip logo

    Miniclip has had a relatively quiet year, insofar as it hasn’t shouted about any big games lately, but it has made some pretty interesting acquisitions in recent months.

    It was reported (but never confirmed) that the company acquired Israeli developer Ilyon Games for $100 million – a perfect fit for the firm’s portfolio of casual games. And it officially bought Eight Pixels Square, adding a selection of midcore titles to its catalogue.

    Only time will tell how recently-appointed CEO Jurgen Post plans to expand Miniclip further and which studios will join the family down the line.


  • 35 Rovio

    Rovio logo

    The Angry Birds franchise is now over a decade old, and while the IP may have lost a little altitude in recent years, Rovio has shown signs that it’s planning to bounce back very soon.

    It started 2020 with a raft of soft-launches across multiple genres, trialling games with and without the Angry Birds IP, and eventually acquiring midcore developer Darkfire Games and rebranding it Rovio Copenhagen.

    Additionally, a new Angry Birds Netflix series on the way – and the launch of new IP Small Town Murders – all point to a re-energised Rovio.


  • 34 Gameloft

    Gameloft logo

    Gameloft has had its ups and downs over recent years, but any company celebrating its 20th anniversary will inevitably have experienced its fair share of turbulence along the way.

    And it’s a developer which obviously still holds weight in the industry, securing licences from Lego and Disney for numerous games, and maintaining an average of 1.6 million downloads every single day.

    With Minions Rush nudging ever closer to 1 billion downloads and racing stalwarts Asphalt 8: Airborne and Asphalt 9: Legends continuing to draw in revenues, Gameloft’s road to its 21st birthday looks smooth.


  • 33 Lockwood Publishing

    Lockwood Publishing logo

    2020 saw Lockwood’s mobile virtual world/MMO Avakin Life surpass 200 million registered users – not bad for a game now heading into its seventh year of operation.

    It’s also drawing in 1.4 million daily active users, no doubt thanks to the developer’s focus on running in-game events and partnering with musical acts to host gigs in the Avakin world.

    Lockwood has further capitalised on the title’s reach to go beyond games, bringing TV show World of Dance into Avakin Life for a month-long competition. It’ll be interesting to see what other partnerships the developer has lined up.


  • 32 DeNA

    DeNA logo

    DeNA may be best known to western audiences for its ongoing partnership with Nintendo on its mobile portfolio, yet it remains a strong mobile developer in its own right.

    Its latest notable release is Slam Dunk, a 3v3 anime basketball game developed in partnership with Toei Animation, which has been an unexpected success in China and is now spreading across Asia with similarly strong sales.

    Couple that with an upcoming Dragon Quest title, as well as whatever DeNA is secretly working on with Nintendo at the moment, and there are definitely exciting times ahead for the developer.


  • 31 Electronic Arts

    Electronic Arts logo

    EA continues to make significant revenues from long-running mobile games like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and FIFA Mobile, but new releases are often few and far between.

    However, recent months have seen the soft-launch of Plants vs. Zombies 3, a new entry in the evergreen franchise, along with promises of a few more mobile soft-launches to come.

    One such soft-launch is supposedly the mobile edition of Apex Legends, which is a hugely tantalising prospect – if it can successfully translate the console experience onto a smaller screen, EA will be strafing all the way to the bank.


  • 30 Bandai Namco

    Bandai Namco logo

    It’s no surprise that Bandai Namco’s main successes in mobile come from its anime titles, especially given its involvement in some of the biggest franchises available.

    From One Piece to Dragon Ball, the Japanese developer/publisher continues to see great sales from its existing titles – Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle, for example, is estimated to have cleared $2 billion in lifetime revenues as of November 2019.

    It’s also shown interesting moves outside its own franchises, including working on Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour. Could a deeper partnership be coming down the line? Time will tell.


  • 29 Glu Mobile

    Glu Mobile logo

    It has been a good few months for Glu Mobile as the company has finally returned to profitability.

    Glu’s 2019 financials show an overall upwards trend to its bottom line, largely thanks to Design Home, Covet Fashion, and the MLB Tap Sports Baseball franchise, which has now cleared over 40 million downloads since its first entry.

    Oddly enough, the developer has also seen a huge boost to the six-year-old Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which experienced a 320 per cent growth in bookings in Q2 2020. Capitalising even on its older, somewhat forgotten titles suggests Glu’s approach is working.


  • 28 SYBO Games

    SYBO Games logo

    There’s no outrunning the success wave of 2012’s Subway Surfers, a title which has now surpassed 3 billion downloads, accruing 500 million between May 2019 and August 2020.

    And SYBO Games has capitalised on this success by branching out into merchandise, teaming up with Walmart, Hot Topic, and Redbubble for lines of apparel and accessories based on the series.

    Co-developed with Kiloo and considered to be the most downloaded game of the last decade by App Annie, Subway Surfers has yet to show signs of slowing down.


  • 27 Tilting Point

    Tilting Point logo

    Free-to-play specialist Tilting Point has had a busy 12 months, from acquisitions and big IP launches to strategic partnerships aimed at bringing its games to the MENA region.

    Let’s start with the acquisitions: the firm acquired mobile RPG Star Trek Timelines from original developer Disruptor Beam, as well as the assets of FTX Games, the San Diego-based studio known for publishing Narcos: Cartel Wars.

    On top of this, Tilting Point partnered with Nickelodeon to launch SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off, which went on to achieve an impressive 14 million pre-registrations.


  • 26 Sony

    Sony logo

    In the mobile space, Sony remains something of a mystery. Not only does it never seem to mention its moderately successful mobile studio ForwardWorks, but it also groups its anime mobile titles under its Music label.

    But for all its odd approach, the firm nevertheless continues to have a strong foothold in the market, largely due to the ongoing success of Fate/Grand Order around the world.

    The five-year-old game is still holding strong, but attention should now turn to the Japan-only Disney Twisted-Wonderland, an RPG/visual novel with a focus on Disney’s villains that’s currently picking up steam.


  • 25 Take-Two Interactive

    Take-Two Interactive logo

    Take-Two’s focus may be its massive console franchises, but that doesn’t mean its mobile output is being ignored.

    The company’s acquisition of Spanish mobile developer Social Point has been the key driver on its mobile front, with games like Tasty Town and World Chef leading the charge alongside long-time hit Dragon City. And then there’s 2K’s mobile offerings, including WWE SuperCard, which continues to perform well for the company.

    Not to mention the fact the US publisher has 21 games “planned specifically” for mobile over the next five fiscal years, reaffirming its commitment to the market.


  • 24 Com2uS

    Com2uS logo

    Summoners War may not enjoy the same level of hype as other mobile games, but it remains a strong performer for Com2uS.

    The RPG recently surpassed $2 billion in lifetime revenues from a total of 116 million downloads. The studio’s work on pushing the game into the esports arena will surely only help boost those numbers.

    We’re also starting to see the first signs of life from Com2uS’s deal with Skybound Entertainment, with the developer now working on a new Walking Dead game while the entertainment firm puts the finishing touches to a Summoners War comic book.


  • 23 CyberAgent

    CyberAgent logo

    CyberAgent is another studio that is little-known outside of Asia, but is seeing fantastic revenues regardless.

    Its money largely comes from card-battler Shadowverse and RPG Granblue Fantasy, but don’t discount more niche titles like BanG Dream! Girls Band Party and Princess Connect! Re:Dive, the latter of which recently launched in China.

    CyberAgent has a pretty impressive future lineup too, including the much-anticipated NieR Re[in]carnation and a Switch version of Shadowverse. And it continues to operate Dragalia Lost in partnership with Nintendo, the latter’s first and only original mobile IP.


  • 22 Nintendo

    Nintendo logo

    Nintendo’s mobile efforts were called into question this year, following a bad start for Dr. Mario World and a lack of announcements for future titles.

    But it still found its successes. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp saw a huge boost in sales thanks to the release of New Horizons on Switch, while Mario Kart Tour got off to an excellent start and is fast becoming a key title in the firm’s mobile portfolio.

    With its mobile division passing $1 billion in lifetime revenues, one key question now is which of Nintendo’s many beloved IPs will see its own mobile outing next.


  • 21 Nexon

    Nexon logo

    Nexon didn’t have the best start in 2020, with revenues falling slightly year-on-year, but it bounced back remarkably with a record-breaking Q2.

    Its mobile library has performed well over the past year, with MapleStory M showing good growth, recently hitting 16 million downloads. Another top performer is KartRider Rush+, which saw 10 million downloads in two weeks.

    Nexon also picked up FIFA Mobile for its domestic market, which scored 1.2 million downloads within a day of launch. And all eyes are now on South Korea success V4, which just launched worldwide.


  • 20 AppLovin

    AppLovin logo

    While predominantly a mobile marketing company, AppLovin’s internal game output has become rather impressive over the last 12 months.

    Its hypercasual outfit Lion Studios has seen games like Slap Kings and Save the Girl top monthly download charts with close to 100 million installs between them, proving it has the capability to produce serious hits.

    Meanwhile, AppLovin’s acquisition of Game of War developer Machine Zone represents a step towards the opposite end of the mobile gaming spectrum, into a far more hardcore territory. It’ll be interesting to see what AppLovin has planned for this former titan of the mobile market.


  • 19 Stillfront Group

    Stillfront Group logo

    Acquisitions have proven to be very successful for the Stillfront Group. This year alone it picked up Candywriter and Storm8, in addition to the deal it struck with Kixeye in late 2019.

    All three of those studios have aided Stillfront to secure an impressive year, with games like Property Brothers Home Design, BitLife, and War Commander: Rogue Assault all proving their worth in recent months.

    With an evidently strong stable of developers, including Big Farm: Mobile Harvest studio Goodgame, the question on most lips when it comes to Stillfront is, ‘who will it buy next?’


  • 18 Moon Active

    Moon Active logo

    Give Moon Active’s Coin Master a spin for a few days, and it’s not hard to see why the game remains so engaging for players after four years on the market.

    The title is now estimated to have cleared $500 million in lifetime revenue and makes regular appearances in monthly top-grossing charts, so expect it to become another mobile gaming unicorn before long.

    As a social casino game, it’s currently toeing a fine line in many government’s eyes, but the winds are steering in its favour following Germany’s decision not to ban the game in its country.


  • 17 N3TWORK

    N3TWORK logo

    Back in November last year, N3twork began making moves by announcing that it had raised $40 million in investment for games, its Scale Platform, and its community-facing fan app.

    Nearly a year on and the San Francisco-based startup has put these funds to good use, releasing an official Tetris game and securing the rights to NBCUniversal’s puzzler Funko Pop Blitz, all while increasing its UA performance by 25 per cent.

    More interestingly, N3twork launched its $50 million publishing fund for its scale platform, securing partnerships with
    Grand Cru, 99Games, and others to help grow their games.


  • 16 Voodoo

    Voodoo logo

    It’s impossible to talk about hypercasual gaming and not mention Voodoo at some point. Even in 2020, with so many developers getting in on the genre, it remains at the top of its game as a developer and publisher.

    The studio now boasts over 3.7 billion downloads and 300 million MAUs, thanks to a staggering catalogue of games too numerous to mention separately here.

    Furthermore, it appears to be making moves to evolve hypercasual as a genre, thanks to a new studio established in Montreal and the acquisition of London-based developer Gumbug.


  • 15 Netmarble

    Netmarble logo

    Netmarble struck gold earlier this year when it launched adventure RPG Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross, which hit 3 million downloads within ten days of release back in March 2020.

    But it has plenty of other strong games in its arsenal. The King of Fighters Allstar continues to perform well, having pulled in multiple collaborations, while long-running titles such as Marvel: Contest of Champions and Lineage2 Revolution haven’t stopped their contribution of large sums of revenue.

    With a second game featuring K-pop icons BTS and a new Kabam-developed Marvel title currently in development, the path is trending upwards for Netmarble.


  • 14 Outfit7

    Outfit7 logo

    One of the most common ways of succeeding in the mobile games market is to establish a solid IP and run with it. That’s exactly what developer Outfit7 has achieved with its Talking Tom franchise.

    Launched in June 2020, latest game My Talking Tom Friends exceeded 100 million downloads in just over a month, adding to an already impressive 13 billion downloads across the company’s catalogue.

    It will be fascinating to see how Outfit7 plans to not only keep the existing audience happy, but draw in new players further down the line, too.


  • 13 Playtika

    Playtika logo

    Playtika has certainly had an interesting year, with subsidiaries Wooga and Seriously continuing to perform well through their June’s Journey and the Best Fiends franchise, which cleared $285 million in lifetime revenues in late 2019.

    Playtika has also been engaging in a number of charitable acts through its games, with Bingo Blitz donating meals to Feeding America while the studio donated its own catered meals to local communities to help out during the pandemic.

    Wooga CEO and founder Jens Begemann may have left to pursue new ventures, but Playtika looks to be perfectly safe hands to leave the developer in.


  • 12 Pearl Abyss

    Pearl Abyss logo

    South Korea-based studio Pearl Abyss has made a splash into the mobile market this year by bringing its highly beloved Black Desert Online game to mobile devices in the west.

    The MMORPG has gone on to become a huge success, accumulating more than 20 million downloads within its first two months on the mobile platform and helping push revenue for the series as a whole past the $1.5 billion mark.

    Pearl Abyss is now set to enter its final expansion phase for Black Desert before looking to launch its next title in the last quarter of 2021.


  • 11 Epic Games

    Epic Games logo

    There’s a debate to be had around whether Epic Games counts as a mobile developer – especially now that Fortnite is no longer available on the App Store or Google Play.

    But there’s no denying the company’s presence on the market, particularly given that Fortnite recently cleared $1 billion in estimated mobile lifetime revenues just two years after its small screen debut.

    Epic’s future on mobile is in turmoil at the time of writing, but if it does successfully force Apple and Google to lower their revenue cut from games and apps on their stores, it’d be a hugely significant win for developers everywhere.


  • 10 Playrix

    Playrix logo

    Playrix has been a dominant force in the casual mobile gaming space for some time now, and the last 12 months has seen it go from strength to strength, thanks to a string of acquisitions, impressive revenue milestones for its evergreen titles, and interesting moves for the future.

    When we spoke to Alexander Derkach, Playrix’s head of marketing, at the end of 2019, the studio had made eight acquisitions, bringing its total headcount to 1,700 people. And it didn’t stop in 2020, picking up Plexonic and Cateia Games within a few months of each other, strengthening its presence across Europe as a result.

    The studio’s games haven’t slacked off either. Flagship title Gardenscapes surpassed $1.5 billion in revenue just over three years after launching, while its follow-up, Homescapes, cleared $1 billion just after its second birthday.

    Future games are looking rather strong as well. It’s already launched Wildscapes, a more traditional match-3 experience combined with Playrix’s narrative-led metagame, and it has Farmscapes currently in soft-launch, which follows in Gardenscapes’ footsteps a little more closely.

    But it’s also branching out of its comfort zone with hidden object title Manor Matters and match-3 RPG Puzzle Breakers, both exciting new avenues for the developer.

    With its top titles continuing to bring in money, and new ventures starting to take form, Playrix’s future feels very well grounded. We look forward to seeing how much more it can grow over the next year.


  • 9 Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard logo

    In previous Top 50 editions, we’ve targeted King as its own company, largely strafing past owner Activision Blizzard due to the parent company’s focus on console, leaving King to take point when it came to all mobile operations.

    But since our 2019 list, Activision has unleashed a monumental assault on the mobile landscape in the form of Call of Duty: Mobile, effectively bringing the companies’ mobile game might into step.

    Call of Duty: Mobile has been nothing short of a phenomenon, generating 100 million downloads in its first week – reportedly making it the fastest mobile game to ever hit that figure – and growing that figure to 250 million just eight months after initially launching.

    Sensor Tower figures estimate that it’s also generated $327 million in lifetime spend, $60 million of which came from its launch month alone. And it swept up a surprising number of industry awards to boot, nabbing a BAFTA, Google’s Game of the Year, and a nod from the Game Awards, among numerous other nominations.

    King hasn’t exactly been resting on its laurels either, of course. Largely thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, its revenues have grown to the highest they’ve been since Activision Blizzard’s acquisition, with MAUs also climbing to 271 million.

    All sights are now trained on two mobile outings for major IPs, with Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal progressing through internal testing and King’s Crash Bandicoot: On the Run in soft-launch. And all the while, Call of Duty: Mobile forges ahead.


  • 8 Supercell

    Supercell logo

    Supercell has been slipping and sliding around recent Top 50 editions – it remains a powerhouse in the mobile gaming market, but has had its third consecutive year of falling revenues.

    Of course, even with a yearly decrease, the developer’s 2019 revenue came to $1.56 billion from just five games – impressive, no matter how you slice it. And with people stuck in lockdown earlier this year, you’d expect that figure to grow for 2020.

    Let’s remember Clash Royale has now cleared an estimated $3 billion in revenue just over four years since launch. And its most recent game, Brawl Stars, has finally landed in China, where it got off to a respectable start thanks to first-week revenues of $17.5 million.

    All that said, Supercell’s future is looking a little odd right now. For one, its much-anticipated Rush Wars was cancelled not long after being soft-launched, largely because the developer failed to “find the fun”. And the studio currently has Hay Day Pop in soft-launch, a match-3 puzzler using an older IP that marks a huge departure for the Finnish developer.

    Still, we know that Supercell only launches a new game when it’s guaranteed to be a billion-dollar release, so whatever it’s working on now that is allowed to see the light of day will almost certainly set chins wagging, match-3 or not.


  • 7 Sea Group

    Sea Group logo

    It’s entirely possible that, if you’re working in the western market, you’ve not heard much about Sea and its gaming division, Garena. But you’ll almost certainly have heard of the games it’s worked on in Southeast Asia.

    Take Speed Drifters, the name Tencent’s QQ Speed goes under outside of China. Or Arena of Valor, another Tencent title it operates outside of the behemoth’s home country, where it’s known as Honor of Kings. And who can forget Call of Duty: Mobile, which proved so popular for Activision?

    But the cherry on top of Garena’s ice cream is Free Fire, an enormously popular battle royale that’s given the likes of PUBG Mobile and Fortnite a run for its money in recent years.

    It’s already cleared $1 billion in lifetime revenues, around two years after launch, from 450 million registered users. And, according to Sea’s Q2 2020 financial release, the game now sees over 100 million daily active users, helping it become the highest grossing mobile game in Latin America and Southeast Asia for that quarter.

    It’s seriously impressive stats for a game that still has some markets left to capture, but with Fortnite now out of the race for the time being, we could see Garena muscling in on the game’s market share in the US and Europe before long.


  • 6 ROBLOX

    ROBLOX logo

    What can be said about Roblox that hasn’t already been said? The company and its gaming platform are nothing short of a phenomenon, and 2020 has seen it firmly cement its place in the mobile ecosystem.

    For starters, Roblox on mobile surpassed an estimated $1 billion in revenue in November 2019, and added another $500 million to that figure within just seven months. And thanks to a $150 million funding round in February 2020, the company is now valued at $4 billion.

    It’s not just Roblox that’s raking in the cash, either. Developers using the platform to sell their own experiences are currently on track to make $250 million, with some teams hitting over a million concurrent players on their products.

    But all that pales in comparison to the fact that Roblox is currently played by over half of children under 16 in the US. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that a large number of the game’s developers themselves are under 18, meaning its huge audience is also creating content for their peers, and getting paid for it in the process.

    With online communities now more important than ever, Roblox may well be on track to have its best year ever in 2020, and now it’s a question of how it will capitalise on that milestone and grow for the future. Dismiss it as “just a kid’s game” at your peril – it’s so much more.


  • 5 Scopely

    Scopely logo

    Scopely’s rise through the Top 50 ranks is nothing short of meteoric – only two years ago it clocked in at #33, before leaping into tenth place for 2019. And now, thanks to an already stellar 2020, it’s climbing ever higher.

    It all started with a $200 million series D funding round in October 2019, which ended up being topped off with an additional $200 million in March 2020.

    And that money went straight to work, with the publisher acquiring FoxNext Games, along with games Marvel Strike Force and the in-development Avatar: Pandora Rising.

    But it hasn’t forgotten its casual roots either, with Scrabble GO launching in March 2020 and reportedly experiencing the best launch week of a mobile word game of all time. Scopely snapped up the game’s developer, PierPlay, a month after launch.

    To top it all off, it’s made several key hires, including former Rogue Games founder and CEO Mike DeLaet as its new SVP of strategic partnerships, while ex-Product Madness MD Daniel Freireich became its president of games.

    With plenty of funds raised and games doing well across the board, Scopely is well positioned to become an even more powerful force in mobile gaming – next year’s Top 50 list should tell us.


  • 4 Niantic

    Niantic logo

    Pokémon GO is a game designed almost entirely around going outside, and if there’s one thing 2020 will be remembered for, it’s everyone in the world doing the exact opposite.

    With this in mind, it’s frankly amazing that Pokémon GO has not only successfully managed to turn itself into a game that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own abode, but that it’s experienced its second-best year of revenues since launch during that period.

    Niantic hasn’t just kept its spoils to itself, either. It made a huge donation to Black charities and communities using proceeds from 2020’s Pokémon GO Fest, and it provided free advertising for businesses across the world in-game to help out when the pandemic was at its peak.

    But Niantic’s business doesn’t begin and end with its monster capturing title. It acquired 6D.ai to help further its AR technology, and it’s partnered with interactive theatre company Punchdrunk to help “reinvent storytelling”.

    It does have other games too – though these maybe haven’t been the success Niantic was hoping for. Ingress, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite have been all but forgotten at this point, and the soft-launched Catan – World Explorers could be seen as an odd choice for its next release.

    But with ten games in development and its Real World Platform getting better all the time, Niantic remains a company to be reckoned with – and one that can clearly survive even the toughest times.


  • 3 Tencent

    Tencent logo

    Tencent’s presence in mobile is unavoidable. Look over this list and you’re sure to find plenty of companies that have at some point received investment from the Chinese behemoth, and some that may even be owned by it, if only indirectly.

    But Tencent is a phenomenally huge publisher and developer in its own right, and outside of all its investments and acquisitions, it has a thriving mobile business all of its own.

    A large part of that comes down to internal team TiMi Studios, the developer behind the beast that is PUBG Mobile and China-only sister title Game for Peace, which cleared $3 billion in revenues in July 2020 and is consistently one of the top-grossing games across the mobile market.

    TiMi is also partnering with SNK to bring beloved run-and-gun series Metal Slug to mobile with a new game, and with The Pokémon Company on Pokémon Unite, an arena battler that bears a striking resemblance to Honor of Kings – which, by the way, is also still incredibly successful.

    Tencent still continues to invest heavily, of course, most recently picking up a minority stake in Voodoo, but also acquiring shares in Sumo Digital and PlatinumGames, to name just three. It’s even helped Nintendo bring its Switch to China, but that’s another story for another list.

    Clearly, Tencent isn’t going anywhere, and you can expect the giant to continue lumbering around the higher reaches of our Top 50 list for many years to come.


  • 2 NetEase

    NetEase logo

    NetEase is another Chinese colossus that keeps on growing and doing ever more exciting things in the mobile space, but its future right now – especially for western gamers – is perhaps its most appealing yet.

    Not that its games in China are slouching, of course. Its Fantasy Westward Journey game series, which includes a recently-released 3D edition, continues to do the numbers in the publisher’s home country, for example.

    And its licensed titles consistently see pretty staggering results – like its 4v1 take on Tom and Jerry, which accrued over 100 million players within its first year of release.
    Indeed, its ability to acquire and effectively utilise licences is precisely what makes NetEase so exciting currently, with a trio of games being of particular interest: Marvel Duel, Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, and Harry Potter: Magic Awakened.

    The first two are already in soft-launch, while Magic Awakened is currently in beta in China and may never see the light of day beyond the country, but all three have the potential to be huge hits if done right.

    NetEase also has its eyes on the future, setting up a new development studio in Tokyo specifically for next-gen games, including mobile. And on top of all that, it’s listed itself on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, reportedly raising $2.7 billion in the process.

    How these partnerships and investments will play out is too early to assess, but NetEase’s performance in next year’s Top 50 should offer some guidance.


  • 1 Zynga

    Zynga logo

    We thought in 2019 that Zynga had done a fantastic job turning its business around, finally getting the most out of the mobile market, and growing rapidly. But we had no idea about its plans for 2020.

    In particular, the eye-watering acquisition of Turkish developer Peak Games for $1.85 billion shook the mobile industry, and marks a clear faith in the continued performance of the developer’s main games Toy Blast and Toon Blast.

    But Zynga continues to explore new avenues, too. It picked up hypercasual studio Rollic for $168 million, marking its first foray into the fastest-growing genre out there, released Word Pop for Amazon’s Alexa, and has signed a multi-game deal with Snapchat.

    Existing titles and studios continue to perform well – Empires & Puzzles has cleared $500 million in lifetime revenues, while NaturalMotion has opened a new office in Birmingham.

    And it already has a huge licensed game in soft-launch, with match-3 puzzler Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells in development thanks to a partnership with Portkey Games and Warner Bros.

    We already know Zynga isn’t planning on slowing down its M&A strategy, and with over $2 billion spent on new studios this year alone, it clearly isn’t scared of splashing the cash to get where it wants to be.

    Zynga is the shining example of a fast-growing, successful mobile developer with an exciting future ahead – and why it’s topped our Top 50 Mobile Game Makers list for the second year in a row.


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Lynda Shires
What happened to Bingo Story. I played it every day but it is not on my list today.