Gaming Apps Usage : Japan vs USA


Saying that Gaming Apps have conquered the mobile marketplace ranking charts is not exaggerating. Smartphone users, regardless of age, have been showing an increasing demand towards mobile gaming applications over the past several years.

The contents of the article are focused on gaming apps in Japan and the US. In particular, this article examines and highlights the differences in behavior, activity, demographics and other indicators of Monthly Active Users (MAU) of top 10 Android gaming applications in both countries in October 2018.

MAU of Android Gaming Apps : US vs. Japan (Oct 2018)

King in the US, Line in Japan

King, a video game developer founded in Sweden, dominated the top 10 US charts in October 2018 with 3 applications, all Candy Crush which is King’s most famous gaming app having millions of users around the globe. It might be interesting to know that Candy Crush franchise have been downloaded over 2 billion times (Daily Mail UK, 23 Mar. 18).

In Japan, LINE Corporation, a globally famous name in IT industry, has the majority of shares in October rankings with 3 gaming apps. The company is most known worldwide for their messaging app called LINE.

US Market, Foreign Developers

In US October ranking charts of gaming applications vast majority of game developers are foreign firms compared to Japan where only 2 apps that appear in the chart have been created by a foreign developer.

The foreign developers that have presence in top US chart are from Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, France, and Russia. The only 3 apps developed by a US firm are Pokemon Go, Roblox, and Lucky Day. On the other hand, Chinese and American developers are the only foreign firms representing gaming apps in Japan MAU top ranking. These are “Knives Out” and Pokemon Go respectively.

Top 10 Chart Trends

The below image represents the changes in the top 10 ranking charts of October gaming applications in the US and Japan. Japan has not seen a considerable trend in October except for LINE POP2 which climbed up 2 ranks to 10th positions.

However, In the US market, ranking trends leading to repositioning of applications have been remarkable. As can be seen clearly, Lucky Day, a not so well-known app, has beaten Candy Crush, one of the most popular games on the market, to secure the top position in October rankings. It is believed that the fact that Lucky Day allows users to win real money by playing free daily lotto and scratch cards could be the reason why it has gained so much attention recently.

Toon Blast, a puzzle adventure game, climbs up ranks to 6th position to replace the user-generated cross-platform multiplayer gaming app Roblox which is now on 9th position. The biggest shift in the chart belongs to Helix Jump, an action game where users bounce a ball through a helix tower labyrinth. It jumped up 4 positions in October to secure a place in the top 10 charts. App Ape data indicate that Helix Jump MAUs have been increasing over the past few months. Could it one day reach the top 3? We will have to wait and see.

It is equally important to highlight the newly added app Candy Crush Friends Saga which was globally launched on 10th of October. Within the first week of its launch it reached 10 million downloads (Venture Beat, 19 Oct. 2018) which leaves no doubt as to why it has been able to secure a place in top 10 ranking charts.

Trends in US and Japan Top 10 Gaming App Charts, October 2018

“Lucky Day” Rocketing Up the Chart

As show in the graph below, “Lucky Day” has been growing substantially over the past few months. Once behind Candy Crush, it has now, probably unexpectedly, topped the gaming chart in the US in October.

Lucky Day, a free gaming app, allows users to win real money by paying daily lotto and scratch card. It also rewards winners with gift cards from top brands such as Amazon, Walmart, etc. This is without the doubt the main reason why it has gained such remarkable attention in the US.

Comparison of the top 3 gaming apps’ MAUs in US, October 2018

Pokemon Falling Behind in Japan?

App Ape MAU data indicate that Pokemon Go users have been falling over the past couple of years. However, number of MAUs drops is not limited to Pokemon Go. As seen below, Line: Disney Tsum Tsum and Monster Strike’s users have had a dramatic decline as well.

“Puzzles” and “Casual” Most Popular Genres

5 applications appearing in the top 10 chart of gaming category in both countries are puzzle games. Having said that, Casual games top the chart when it comes to genres with 6 gaming apps. Casual games are targeted to casual gamers (as opposed to hardcore genre) and refer to games with simple rules which require less skills.

Action games were not as popular in October and Simulation and Sport genres only had one representative in both rankings. Casino genre (Lucky Day) appears only in the US chart.

Demographics : Female users dominating Casual Genre

As presented below, the dominant active users of casual games in Japan and US are females amongst which “Homescapes” has the highest rate of female users at 87%.

What is really interesting about these data is that “LINE POP2” and “Homescapes” are popular with female users in their 40s with 37.2% and 32.7% ratio respectively. On the other hand, Candy Crush Saga is mostly played by females in their 30s. The same age group statistics applies to male users.

Mutual Possession : 1 Casino Game is not enough

In this section, we look at the mutual possession apps of “Lucky Day” and “Pokemon Go” in the US. As the term suggests, mutual possession refers to apps that are concurrently installed on a user’s phone.

“Lucky Day” users, according to App Ape indicators, also have other casino games installed on their phone. The image above shows that top 3 mutual apps all are of casino genre and obviously have to do with winning real money and gift cards and other types of rewards. It does make sense in way. After all, wining real money through playing mobile games is something we all would want.

On the other hand, Pokemon Go users seem to be more interested in other apps The top mutual app is Pokemon Quest which is a cube-shaped version of Pokemon Go. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, a Nintendo’s app, also appears in the image below. Interestingly, the same app can be seen in Japan’s top 10 chart (ranked 6th).

The data presented in this article have been collected by App Ape, a mobile app data analytical platform which is the leader of the industry in Japan with more than 5000 clients around the globe.

The various data demonstrated in this article is just a small portion of what APP Ape is capable of analyzing. App Ape, consisting of more than 50 indicators, provides detailed and accurate data usage in 7 countries. The indicators include daily, hourly active users (DAU, HAU), number of daily installs, demographics, mutual app possession rate and many many more.

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