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Despite being a somewhat fringe sector of the overall video gaming industry a little over a decade ago, mobile gaming has since overtaken all other forms of gaming to become the most popular and profitable in the world. Mobile games were responsible for a staggering 60% of all global gaming revenue in 2019, equivalent to around $68.5 billion. But who are the people that are leading the charge and providing the most popular mobile games? Read this list to find out.
The Finnish game development company Supercell is, by virtually every measure, the most successful mobile gaming company in history. Their greatest hits include globally-known titles such as Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Hay Day, which have accumulatively accrued several hundred million downloads. The company itself has around 100 million active monthly users in 2020, as well as a staggering market cap of an estimated $10 billion. They are currently Finland’s largest taxpayer and have been for the past several years, as well as holding the distinction of giving the largest charitable donation in Finland’s history, with €3.4 million in a single donation.
Granted, Tencent is more than just a developer of mobile games. The Chinese company controls a $136 billion empire involving everything from e-commerce to artificial intelligence products. However, there is no denying that one of Tencent’s biggest success stories is in the realm of mobile gaming. Its most successful title is Honor of Kings, which has racked up more than 100 million downloads around the world since its initial release in 2015. In addition, Tencent was responsible for producing Activision’s Call of Duty: Mobile, which is already on track to become one of the single most widely downloaded mobile games in history, despite only being released last year.
NetEnt is another massive mobile game provider that does more than just mobile games. This Swedish company is one of the biggest developers of mobile casino games on the planet, responsible for smash hits such as Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest slot games. While their titles are available on desktop, all of NetEnt’s games are also published on mobile, making them a significant player in the mobile game market. In fact, online casino industry insiders almost always list NetEnt prominently among the biggest and most reputable slot game providers in the industry, which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that NetEnt games can be found on virtually every single major online casino around.
Another Finnish company on the list, Rovio is the developer behind what is arguably the most iconic mobile game ever released – Angry Birds. The company offers little beyond the Angry Birds series, but that clearly doesn’t matter. The game still ranks as the highest-grossing paid mobile game in history, with over $3 billion worth of downloads and in-game purchases made on the first game alone since it was released. The company posted close to $300 million worth of revenue last year, which is a testament to the enduring success of Angry Birds, one of the best ideas a mobile game creator ever conceived of.
King is another mobile developer that can attribute much of its success to a single, brilliant game. The world was enthralled when King first released Candy Crush in 2011 – which is still widely regarded as the most successful freemium mobile game ever released. At its peak in 2014, Candy Crush was earning King almost $500 million a quarter, which helped skyrocket the company’s revenues and convinced the gaming titan Activision Blizzard to buy King for $5.9 billion. Since then, King has gone on to release several other hit mobile games, including Bubble Witch 2 and Pet Rescue Saga.
GungHo Online Entertainment
The Japanese handheld-focused developer GungHo Entertainment may have started life as a creator of Nintendo DS games, but those days are largely in the past. Today, GungHo is a giant within the global mobile gaming market, responsible for releases such as Ragnorok Online and Puzzles and Dragons, which have had millions of downloads in Asia. The company posted revenues of more than $1.5 billion last year, making them one of the most profitable mobile game developers around right now.
These are the biggest mobile gaming developers in the world at the moment. Whether this will change in the future remains to be seen, but stay tuned to find out.