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Top Mobile Games of Q3 2017: Candy Crush Re-Crowned U.S. Revenue King While Global Game Spending Surged 26% YoY

Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals which mobile games led downloads and revenue on the App Store and Google Play for Q3 2017.

Q3 2017's Top Mobile Games Hero Image

Consumer spending in mobile games on Apple's App Store and Google Play grew 26 percent year-over-year last quarter to approximately $12.5 billion, up from about $9.9 billion in the year-ago quarter, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data. Gaming revenue growth on the App Store once again outpaced Google Play, and Apple's platform accounted for 78 percent more gaming revenue than its rival's. In this report, we'll share further insights into global mobile gaming performance during Q3 2017, along with rankings of the top mobile games by revenue and downloads worldwide and in the United States.

Games Category Revenue Growth - Q3 2017

Sensor Tower estimates that consumer spending on premium mobile games and gaming in-app purchases on Apple's App Store reached $8 billion worldwide last quarter. This represented a 29 percent increase YoY from approximately $6.2 billion globally in 3Q16 and accounted for 64 percent of all mobile gaming spending between Apple's platform and its chief competitor's. Quarter-over-quarter, gaming revenue on iOS grew about 4 percent from $7.7 billion in 2Q17.

Q3 2017 Games Category Worldwide Revenue Growth

We estimate that Google Play spending on mobile games reached approximately $4.5 billion worldwide last quarter, an increase of 22 percent over 3Q16's total of $3.7 billion. Gaming revenue growth was flat QoQ on Google's platform, equalling the $4.5 billion spent by users in 2Q17.

Games Category Download Growth - Q3 2017

New installs of mobile games grew to an estimated 9.1 billion worldwide last quarter, an increase of about 13 percent YoY from approximately 8.1 billion in 3Q16.

Q3 2017 Games Category Worldwide Download Growth

Google Play led in terms of YoY mobile game download growth, increasing new installs by about 14 percent to 6.9 billion, from 6.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Growth on the App Store was close at about 10 percent, increasing from two billion to 2.2 billion in the same timeframe.

Top Mobile Games by Revenue and Downloads (Worldwide)

Q3 2017's Top Mobile Games by Revenue

Mixi's Monster Strike held onto its No. 1 ranking in terms of worldwide mobile game revenue last quarter, and was also the top game by global user spend on Google Play. On the App Store, Tencent's Honor of Kings took the No. 1 spot, edging out Monster Strike.

Significant movement was seen on the chart from Niantic's Pokémon GO, which went from not ranking in 2Q17 to placing No. 9 for overall worldwide revenue last quarter. Meanwhile, multiple mainstays saw their rankings reduced. Supercell's Clash of Clans moved off the overall chart to No. 11 (from No. 4 in Q2) while MZ's Game of War and Mobile Strike dropped from 2Q17's rankings of No. 6 and No. 9 to No. 15 and No. 16, respectively.

In terms of new releases, none made a bigger splash than Lineage M from NCSOFT, which debuted at No. 5 overall and No. 2 on Google Play.

Q3 2017's Top Mobile Games by Downloads

On the downloads front, the No. 1 ranked apps were unchanged over 2Q17, with Kiloo's Subway Surfers holding steady stop the overall and Google Play charts, while Honor of Kings was once again the most installed iOS game. Many familiar apps populated the rest of the ranks, including the latest viral hit from China's Voodoo, Snake VS Ball, which spent its second quarter at No. 2 on iOS and climbed to No. 2 overall.

Top Mobile Games by Revenue and Downloads (United States)

Q3 2017's Top U.S. Mobile Games by Revenue

Candy Crush Saga—and, by extension, King—was the big story of U.S. mobile game revenue last quarter. The casual classic became the top earning mobile game worldwide for the first time since Q1 2015, displacing Clash of Clans, the game that knocked it out of the top spot way back in Q2 2014. What're more, Candy Crush Saga was the quarter's top earning game on the App Store and Google Play, as well. Worldwide revenue for Candy Crush Saga was up 97% year-over-year last quarter to an estimated $271.4 million, from $137.7 million in 3Q16.

Game of War, the top earning U.S. mobile game in 2Q17, dropped to No. 6 last quarter, followed by fellow MZ release Mobile Strike, which ranked at No. 6 in the previous quarter.

Pokémon GO experienced a revenue surge last quarter, climbing to No. 4 overall in the U.S. after having ranked at No. 8 in 2Q17. Meanwhile, Playrix's Gardenscapes debuted in the top 10 at No. 9 overall, matching that on the App Store and placing at No. 8 on Google Play.

Q3 2017's Top U.S. Mobile Games by Downloads

While its legacy titles slipped in revenue, MZ's latest release, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, made a splash in the U.S. Under license from series creator Square Enix, the strategy title debuted at No. 6 in terms of overall U.S. downloads, while it was No. 8 on the App Store and No. 2 on Google Play.

Another standout in terms of downloads was ROBLOX, which increased its overall ranking to No. 4 from No. 8 in 2Q17, and climbed from No. 5 on Google Play to No. 1 on the platform. On the App Store, it ranked at No. 5 after having been ranked No. 15 in Q2 of this year.

More Q3 2017 Analysis to Come

Sensor Tower will continue our look at the third quarter of 2017 with the release of our Q3 2017 Store Intelligence Data Digest, coming soon. Be sure to follow our Twitter and check back here for the report, along with more new mobile market insights delivered every week.

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Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: November 2017