The Charticle

Which Star Wars mobile F2P game took best advantage of The Force Awakens buzz?

EA vs Disney vs Kabam

Which Star Wars mobile F2P game took best advantage of The Force Awakens buzz?

Despite being released on 18 December, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the biggest film of 2015. 

So how did the three principal mobile F2P Star Wars-licensed games perform in its wake?

That's the question we're answering in this week's Charticle.

Star Wars: Commander

The oldest of the three games is Disney's own Star Wars: Commander.

Effectively 'Clash of Clans in a Star Wars setting, the game was launched in September 2014 and quickly settled down into the US iPhone grossing chart in the range top 50 to top 100.

During the first half of 2015, it slowly drifted down, regularly finding itself outside the top 100, before updates returned it into the 50-100 range.

Significantly, however, as the year drew on, the growing hype machine for The Force Awakens didn't appear to have any impact, with Commander again slipping outside the top 100.

The film's release did generate an instant boost but it wasn't strong or sustained. Currently the game is outside the top 100.

On Google Play, the early picture was similar, with Commander sustaining within the upper reaches of the top 100 grossing in France, Germany, the UK and the US until mid-2015.

The difference is from that low point, its chart position in all four countries has since risen steadily, with the film's launch even boosting the game back into the UK top 50 top grossing.

Indeed, Commander has maintained a strong position in the UK and France, and even in Germany and the US, it is now as high as it was back in April.

Surprisingly then, the release of The Force Awakens had little impact on the game's US iPhone grossing position - perhaps because it already has an embedded audience - but has been a strong driver of revenue on Google Play.

Star Wars: Uprising

Released in September, Kabam's Star Wars: Uprising is an action-RPG, which is set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

The game launched into the US top 100 top grossing for iPhone but in the months leading up to the film's release, dropped down until it was outside the top 400.

On Google Play, the performance was similiar, with a decent launch position slipping down until in key countries such as the US, UK, Germany and France, the game was somewhere between the top 200 and top 300 grossing.

The release of The Force Awakens - which was supported with a key update - saw an immediate impact, however.

On the US iPhone chart, Uprising jumped almost back into the top 100, while on Google Play, in all four countries studied the game rose into the top 150.

Yet, in neither case has it sustained its position: on the US iPhone chart it's now back outside the top 200, while on Google Play the decline has been less dramatic.

Galaxy of Heroes

The final Star Wars game to be considered is EA/Capital Games' Galaxy of Heroes.

Released in late November, the CCG immediately climbed into the top 40 top grossing US iPhone chart, with the release of The Force Awakens providing the momentum to push it into the top 20.

And since that point, the game has continued to rise; currently it's placed at #14.

Looking at the wider performance of the game on Google Play in France, Germany, the UK and the US and the situation is the same.

From launch, Galaxy of Heroes rose into the top 40, with the film's release provided the impact required to enter the top 20, where it remains in all four countries.

In conclusion

Each of the three Star Wars games we're studied is different in terms of gameplay and appeal, as well as how mature it is as a product.

Being the oldest of the three, Star Wars: Commander was already locked into its own performance curve, and the release of The Force Awakens - despite being supported with a large content update - didn't impact this greatly, at least on iOS.

Of the trio, Star Wars: Uprising experienced the most significant uplift, but this was perhaps because the game was already in a weaken position. It's unclear whether the momentum provided will have any medium term affect, although the situation for Kabam is more positive on Google Play than on the US iPhone App Store.

Indeed, given the dichotomy between the App Store and Google Play performance for both these games, it's possible to speculate that the more open nature of the Android store means it better reflects external marketing than the more closed and curated App Store.

As for Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, the news is the most positive, in so far as it's currently the most successful of the three games, and that by a significant margin.

Ironically, though, given its strong early performance, and the proximity of the game and the film releases, it could be argued that it received the smallest direct boost from The Force Awakens.

NB: According to market intelligence company Sensor Tower, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes generated $186,000 during the period 18-19 December 2015, while Star Wars: Commander bought in $43,000. No numbers were released for Star Wars: Uprising.

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.