Verto Index: Mobile Games

This year has already been full of exciting news for the mobile games industry.

Mobile games are clearly a hot topic for investors – but what about the user landscape? Our latest Verto Index focuses on mobile game usage numbers from May 2016 among U.S. adults (ages 18 and older) and shows a ranking of the most popular mobile games from Words With Friends to Bubble Witch 2 Saga.

Continued Consolidation: Buying Your Way to the Top

The impact from the Activision Blizzard/King merger is already obvious: it’s immediately catapulted the Activision Blizzard brand onto the charts, claiming 20% of the titles on our Index (not to mention three of the titles in the Top 10). That’s a nice number, but even more powerful are the number of new audience eyeballs this represents: in this case, nearly 24 million uniques.

Tencent is surely hoping for a similar impact: Supercell’s flagship title, Clash of Clans, and its spinoff franchise, Clash Royale, occupy spots Number 5 and Number 6 on the Index. Even more interesting: both games are classic MMO strategy titles, rather than the casual games that dominate the rest of the Top 10. That means relatively high session durations and sessions per month per user – and, hopefully, that will translate into the ultimate prize for game publishers: loyalty.

Loss of User Loyalty?

Zynga’s Words With Friends continues to dominate the Number 1- position in our Index, with monthly user numbers that keep it comfortably ahead of titles from its two big competitors, Activision Blizzard and Supercell. But it’s still lagging on time spent per user per month, although its average session duration puts it well ahead of most other titles on the Index.

Does this indicate a declining engagement in the game among users? A loss of user loyalty could spell trouble for its parent company, and it’s also Zynga’s only title on the chart. At one time the darling of the gaming (and startup) industry, Zynga’s reputation has tarnished considerably, and the company has struggled following its 2011 IPO and subsequent departures of C-suite leaders. Recent hires have included executives from both the consoleand social gaming industry – is the company trying to recreate the ubiquitous presence it once had, or reinvent its strategy entirely?

The Verto Index Stickiness Rating

Sometimes, the most interesting Index data is hidden in the stickiness rating (the Verto stickiness rating reflects the average stickiness with the property, and is calculated as the share of the monthly users who also use the particular property daily. Daily users reflect the active loyal and engaged part of the audience, and the higher the stickiness, the bigger the share of daily users against the monthly users).

Scopely is the publisher behind Yahtzee with Buddies (44% stickiness rating), a mobile offshoot of the classic board game title. And while Yahtzee with Buddies only claims 2.1 million unique users, its average session duration and time spent per user per month exceed Words with Friends.

While Scopely lacks the user mega-numbers that Supercell (12.8 million combined) and Zynga (14.1 million) can claim, they may be working on the next batch of incredibly viral games. They’re also a much smaller private company, with just a Series A in the bank and plenty of tech and game expertise on their staff and board – and a few interesting partnerships to boot. If Tencent was so eager to snap up Supercell, Scopely may also be worth a look for a company trying to get a quick foothold in mobile gaming.

The Verto Index: Mobile Games is a product of Verto App Watch. Verto App Watch provides single-source, cross-device audience measurement to help advertisers and publishers better understand their audiences and market dynamics across all apps and digital properties. Publishers and developers can target prospective users based on behavior and content consumption, assess new segments and geographical markets, and develop media-buying strategies and acquisition tactics that drive results.

Want to learn more about Verto App Watch? Contact us, or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.