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How EA Mobile's Galaxy of Heroes is winning the Star Wars app store battle

How EA Mobile's Galaxy of Heroes is winning the Star Wars app store battle

Given the over-excited build-up and the $50 million of pre-sold tickets, it will be a wonder if the internet itself doesn't meltdown in post-coital dis/satisfaction following the first showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on 18 December.

Unlike the product-based business model of the movies, however, Star Wars games have moved onto something more contemporary - games-as-a-service.

There are three high profile mobile Star Wars titles currently available, but none of them is the official A Force Awakens game.

Instead Disney's SW: Commander is set between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, while Kabam's SW: Uprising is set between Return of the Jedi and A Force Awakens.

While, the newest, and most successfully of the trio, EA Mobile's Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is a card-based RPG covering the entire canon.

Sophisticated approach

Released on iOS and Android on 24 November, Galaxy of Heroes has hit the top grossing charts high, immediately climbing into the top 100 in key western territories.

Indeed, drawing deeply on the hardcore monetisation techniques of successful Asian CCGs, it's EA Mobile's most sophisticated and honed free-to-play mobile game since The Simpsons: Tapped Out.

Developed by Capital Games - the Sacremento, CA studio also made Heroes of Dragon Age - it layers different missions and character upgrade paths with multiple gameplay modes; all wrapped up in an engaging daily retention cadence.

Core audience

Looking at the key English-language markets, the game has been solidly top 40 grossing on iPhone in the US, UK and Canada for two weeks now.

The only outlier is Australia, where it's top 60, most likely because the game has been available longer in the country via soft launch testing.

Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes' has also performed equally well in Germany and France on iPhone.

On Google Play, the situation is the same, with Australia being the lowest ranked grossing territory and the game positioned strongly with the top 40 in all other countries.

Asia apathy

While Star Wars is a global brand, it's not so embedded into geek culture in Asia, and this is reflected in Galaxy of Heroes performance in the top grossing markets of Japan, South Korea and China.

Rebasing the graphs from 100 to 500, we can see that on iPhone, Galaxy of Heroes is doing best in South Korea, where it's within the top 100. In Japan, it's within the top 150.

Neither are bad performances for a western game, but it's hard to see the game rising higher in these highly local markets.

Looking at China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, it's western-orientated Hong Kong where Galaxy of Heroes is doing best on iPhone.

Interest in Taiwan has fallen away over the past week, while the game hasn't caught the attention of Chinese gamers yet, although this might change as the predictive massive Chinese buzz around the film kicks in.

Looking at the game's performance on Google Play (excluding China obviously), again Hong Kong is the strongest Asian market.

In South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Galaxy of Heroes is stuck around the top 200 grossing mark.

Conclusion

Perhaps it's little surprise that Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is doing best in the west.

What is more surprising, however, is that of the three big Star Wars mobile games, it's doing the best, and significantly so.

Despite a recent lift, Star Wars: Uprising hasn't solidified a top 200 grossing position, while Star Wars: Commander is yoyoing in and out of the top 100.

Instead, it's the more complex card-battler, with its abstract setting, that's currently making the most of the Star Wars buzz.

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.

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