China Mints New Winners - The Most Downloaded Games in August

Ariel Ariel
9/16/22

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #131 - China Takes Over the App Store. Check out the full article for more insights.


This week I rounded up the most downloaded games in the world, and let me skip the intro and dive right into the data because something's different this month and it could be a big one.

Starting at the top, Subway Surfers was the most downloaded game in the world in August with 30 million new downloads from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates. But!

If you take a closer look at the App Store list you'll see the Subway Surfers icon twice. That's not a mistake.

The "second" Subway Surfers is the local version available in China. I chose not to combine it into the US version of the game for the sheer scale of downloads that seems to have popped in August in China.

I should add that this isn't a new version that just rolled out but rather a 6-year-old app that only recently became popular in China.

It's not the only one, but we'll get to that in a second.

Hyper casual Stumble Guys came in second place, also adding 30 million downloads to its bottom line, according to our estimates. Stumble Guys outperformed Subway Surfers on the App Store but not on Google Play.

Candy Crush Saga, Roblox, and Save the Doge round out the top 5.

Back to China! Much like Subway Surfers, Survivor.io's China version also rose through the ranks quickly in August and I left it on its own so you can see the scale of success in China.

China is big for downloads, that's not news, but it looks like in a post-covid era, it's growing even faster. That could explain why we see more apps in the US with Chinese names. The developers aren't bothering with localization, using both English and Chinese, the two most relevant languages, for App Store Optimization.

I don't think it's a great strategy... If you want to get more downloads in China you should localize for China.

Together, the top 10 most downloaded games in the world in August raked in 172 million new downloads, according to our estimates. That's a bit lower than July's total, but considering school started in August in many places, not a real shocker.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.


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