The Charticle

The Charticle: A Gameloft special

Downloads are vanity. Only top grossing is sanity

The Charticle: A Gameloft special

While market intelligence outfit Distimo has already sewn up its 2013 coverage, rival App Annie is still working through November 2013.

Its most recent App Annie game index breaks out the top titles and publishers across iOS and Google Play.

One topic it's keen to discuss is Gameloft's positioning, especially in terms of the four titles it had in the top 10 iOS game downloads chart for November.

Combined, they pushed Gameloft into the #1 position in terms of game publishers across iOS.

It was also #2 on the Google Play chart, albeit down from the #1 position in October.

Rattled by the Rush

Yet, getting a lot of downloads is meaningless if you can't convert those players into payers.

And this seems to be an issue for Gameloft. Despite being the #1 publisher on iOS in terms of downloads, it's only the #8 publisher in terms of App Store revenue and isn't listed on the top 10 publishers in terms of Google Play revenue.

So with that in mind, in this Charticle we're taking a quick look at those four top downloaded Gameloft titles.

The most important one is a title we're previously covered: Despicable Me: Minion Rush.

It's a good game based a good film and Gameloft has done an excellent job in terms of supporting the endless runner with updates. The result is Despicable Me: Minion Rush has performed very well across iOS and Google Play; in the US going top 10 top grossing on iPhone, and top 20 top grossing on Google Play.

More widely, it's gone top 10 top grossing in over 100 countries on the App Store.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush's top grossing iPhone success in the US (top 50 shown) - via App Annie

Racing to the finishing line

Asphalt 8: Airborne hasn't been quite so successful, but it's another solid racing game.

Like Despicable Me: Minion Rush, it's been in the top 10 top grossing charts in over 110 countries in terms of the App Store, and been a top 30 top grossing app on iOS in the US.

Asphalt 8: Airborne launched well in the US iPhone top grossing chart but didn't maintain a top 100 position - via App Annie

Missing the swing

Gameloft's other two titles demonstrate that a lot of downloads don't automatically convert into revenue, however.

Thor: The Dark World is a flashy 3D brawler movie tie-in, which despite its 800MB download size and unimaginative IAP system was a top 10 top grossing game in 34 countries on iOS.

Unfortunately, they weren't the sort places in which you'd want to be successful. There's not much money in Madagascar, Guyana, Burkina Faso, Barbados or Oman; all countries in which it was #1 top grossing on iPhone.

In the US, Thor peaked at #146 on the top grossing chart for iPad and #204 on iPhone, and that was despite tie-in film's strong commercial success.

Thor: The Dark World didn't even make the US iPhone top grossing top 200, despite its millions of downloads - via App Annie

Running on empty

The performance of GT Racing 2 was, if anything, even worst.

The racing genre is already highly competitive both in terms of realistic racers like Real Racing 3 and drag racers like CSR Racing, leaving Gameloft's 'Real Car Experience' struggling for a committed audience, despite it being the 9th most download iOS game during November.

It didn't even break into the top 200 top grossing iPhone apps in the US.

Similar to Thor, GT Racing 2 didn't stay in the US top grossing top 500 charts for even a month - via App Annie

The bigger picture

Of course, corporately Gameloft remains in a very strong position, with its smartphone and tablets game sales rising fast and its feature phone game sales falling slowly.

Yet, as this brief analysis demonstrates, while the company has shown it can operate successfully in the new F2P games-as-a-service business, it's not yet demonstrated that all its numerous development teams - mainly located in low cost countries - can operate games-as-a-service.

Nor, indeed, that its product managers yet understand the sort of experiences the new generation of F2P gamers want to play, and pay for.

You can read App Annie's Game Index for November 2013 here.

Contributing Editor

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