Photo: April L. Sanders
If you want to understand why Zynga is struggling, look no further than a recent report from App Annie, an analytics firm that tracks Android and iOS apps.While Zynga has far and away the biggest audience for social games and rakes in cash from its Facebook titles, it has openly admitted that it has had a hard time making money on mobile.
And it’s not like other American companies are ruling the charts—Zynga archrival Electronic Arts has just one title in the top 10.
It turns out that the real success stories in mobile games are scattered around the world. The best moneymakers are from companies in Finland, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea. Maybe you haven’t heard of them—but you’ve probably played one of their games.
Publisher: Backflip Studios
DragonVale, a game in which you breed your own pet dragon, was released in September 2011 by Backflip, a studio based in Boulder, Colo. It's still going strong.
This kingdom-building simulation is a big hit for Kabam, a Silicon Valley games startup that has raised $125 million from investors including Google and Intel.
This British publisher has challenged Zynga on Facebook games--but on mobile, it's just crushing it.
FarmVille players might find some parts of this Finnish games maker's agricultural simulation familiar. But Inside Social Games has actually said that Zynga's FarmVille 2 sequel is 'reminiscent' of Hay Day. Never mind who's copying whom--Hay Day's a hit.
Publisher: GungHo Online
This popular puzzle game may be generating between $54 million and $75 million a month, according to reports of GungHo's financials. (That's for both iOS and Android versions.)
Another financial hit for the Finns--this medieval battle game is reportedly making more than $1 million a day. The secret: carefully rolling out features so new users don't get overwhelmed.