Well-known IP is becoming an increasingly sought-after resource in the mobile games industry.
And while it's not the shortcut to immediate success that many assume, it's easy to see why. A well-matched IP can help generate organic discovery and expose a game to a ready-made, potentially lucrative audience of passionate fans.
But what happens when there are multiple mobile games with the same IP on the market, but developed by different studios? This is increasingly becoming the case, particularly when it comes to the biggest brands in entertainment such as Transformers and Star Wars.
A recent example of this is Kabam's Transformers: Forged to Fight, which launched on April 6th 2017 - less than a year after Space Ape released Transformers: Earth Wars in June 2016.
Admittedly, the two games are quite distinct - Forged to Fight is a beat-'em-up in the Marvel: Contest of Champions mould, while Earth Wars is a build-and-battler - but it seems inevitable that any two games using the same license should have an effect on one another.
To test this, we took a look at how the launch of Forged to Fight on April 6th affected the grossing position of Earth Wars, using data from App Annie.
As you can see, Transformers: Earth Wars quickly spiked from 145th in the US iPhone grossing charts on the day of Forged to Fight's launch to 77th on April 7th, the day after.
This is especially impressive since the game was at a lowly 291st - its lowest trough since February 19th - on April 2nd, just days before Forged to Fight's launch.
As for downloads, having exited App Annie's overall download chart rankings in the two weeks before Forged to Fight's launch, Earth Wars downloads spiked suddenly on April 6th, reaching a high of 813th on April 8th.
A short-term victory
However, the spike was just that, and Earth Wars' grossing rank has fallen every day since, sitting at 233rd as of April 11th.
This is likely due to the fact that Space Ape smartly launched a major new Beast Wars update, including new playable bots that coincided with the launch of Forged to Fight, perhaps in an attempt to steal its thunder.
It appears to have worked in the short-term, with Earth Wars out-grossing Kabam's title on its launch day.
Yes, while it's been available for less than a week and there's plenty of time to turn it around, the launch of Transformers: Forged to Fight hasn't set the App Store alight.
Its highest position in the US iPhone grossing charts so far has been 152nd, and has maintained a steady presence at 150 to 200.
With Transformers: Earth Wars averaging out at a similar position nearly a year on, Kabam will be hoping for a boost sooner rather than later.
This galaxy ain't big enough for the both of us
Another IP that's received a high-profile mobile game this year is Star Wars, with Netmarble launching the much-anticipated, Clash Royale-inspired Star Wars: Force Arena on January 11th.
But what impact did it have on perennial top performer Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes?
The impact was much the same as Forged to Fight has had on Earth Wars, jumping from #22 to #15 in the US iPhone to grossing charts the day after Force Arena's launch.
But again, it was a one-day spike only for Galaxy of Heroes as it quickly returned to its usual 20 to 30 position.
Galaxy of Heroes is of course a high benchmark for any developer, and Netmarble has failed to dent its dominance with Force Arena.
It peaked at 38th in the US iPhone top grossing charts on January 20th, but has been declining ever since and sits at 321st as of April 11th.
What this shows, then, is that it's not at all easy for mobile developers - no matter their size - to simply come along and take another game's players.
Developers are becoming more shrewd about protecting their own player bases - a case in point is Space Ape's Beast Wars update for Transformers: Earth Wars, launching on the same day as Forged to Fight - and a new game launch can actually drive further revenues more established titles.
There's now competition not only between, but also within IPs. And on this evidence, it's not easy being the challenger.