The Charticle

Is ZeptoLab's King of Thieves stealing any app store gold?

The Charticle considers latest dungeon treasure game

Is ZeptoLab's King of Thieves stealing any app store gold?

One key trend arising from out Top 50 Developers of 2015 list is how most companies are now focusing on fewer games.

The days of having longterm global hits such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja just by releasing a game and letting virality do the rest are long gone.

Even for companies like ZeptoLab (#45 on our list), which found massive success in the days of 99c paid games with Cut the Rope (published via Chillingo), are now having to work much, much harder to launch new franchises in the global F2P world.

And that's what we're looking at in this week's Charticle as we consider the early impact of its latest game King of Thieves, which was launched on iOS on 12 February.
Caught stealin'

When it comes to gameplay, King of Thieves is an interesting mixture of tight 2D platforming - you control a little box character through dungeons full of guards and traps - with a meta-game that uses random gacha mechanics - locks, keys, gems etc - to provide the backbone of the IAP economy.

Neatly, there's also a strong PVP element as you get to build your dungeon's defences up, while trying to steal gold from other players' dungeons.

So, how's the game performing so far?

If we look at the top grossing iPhone charts in the US and UK (which often mirror each other), things don't look good.

Neither the US or UK are key markets for King of Thieves

King of Thieves peaked in the UK just inside the top 100 but immediately fell away, while in the US, it touched the top 150.

In neither country is it currently listed within the top 250.

The Euro Vision

Looking at other key European territories, however, things are different.

Spain is a surprising market in which King of Thieves has strong appeal

Spain and Italy are the smallest markets in the EU5, nevertheless, King of Thieves' had a week in the Spanish top 50 and Italian top 100, and while it dropped quickly, it's since bounced back into the top 100.

King of Thieves has done best in France

King of Thieves best performance in a big country has been France, where it's constantly been within the top 100 top grossing chart.

Russian isn't a European country, of course, and while the game hasn't performed as strongly as in France, it has been within the top 100 for a period of time.

King of Thieves launched okay in Germany but has since drifted

Yet, it's perhaps the German market which suggests King of Thieves' more general trajectory.

It launched well within the iPhone top 100 top grossing chart, but after three weeks, dropped quickly; and a recent rebound hasn't been enough to get it back.

The wider world

Taking a look at the key Asian markets, King of Thieves hasn't found any audience in Japan, and only made a brief impact in South Korea.

In China, things are slightly better - the game there is published by Yodo1 - but even with local support, King of Thieves hasn't really troubled the iPhone top grossing top 100.

King of Thieves has done better in China than Korea (and Japan) but has fallen out of the top 100

All-in-all then, it seems that while ZeptoLab has served up an innovative gameplay experience, the competitive nature of the F2P-dominated App Store means the developer has a long way to go to turn the game into a hit.

Perhaps the mixture of cute art style and casual one-touch platforming gameplay within tight dungeon confines - generally you die a lot - and gacha monetisation is just too diverse to appeal either to the casual or the core mobile gaming audience.

King of Thieves' early performance on Google Play is promising

However, there is a potential positive development.

King of Thieves was released on Google Play two weeks ago, and although still well outside the top grossing top 100, in Russia, Germany and the UK, it is heading in the right direction.

Contributing Editor

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