This Week in Apps - It's Game Time

Ariel Ariel
9 minute read Jun. 7

This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.

U.S. Revenue Index (vs. 30 days ago)

App Store
458.87 +1.1%
Google Play
270.81 -4.1%


1. Supercell's Squad Busters Just Bested Brawl Stars' First Week Haul

The past several days have been some of the biggest for mobile gaming in recent memory. Not only did we get the global release of Supercell's first launch since 2018, Squad Busters, but a brand-new mobile Star Wars game from Zynga years in the making.

We'll save that for another time; we're here to talk about Squad Buster's first week.

It's only natural that we compared its first seven days on the worldwide stage with Supercell's previous release, Brawl Stars.

Looking at in-app revenue, it's clear Supercell learned a thing or two about monetizing its player base. That is to say, Squad Busters was a big earner!

According to our estimates, Squad Busters saw $10 million in worldwide consumer spending over its first seven days โ€” 144% more compared to about $4.1 million for Brawl Stars. And this is all gross revenue, so what players spent in the game and not what Supercell got.

Let's just say that performance didn't put Brawl Stars at a disadvantage. It's since gone on to generate billions of dollars for Supercell and rank high on our monthly highest-earning charts.

Finally, for a more recent comparison, we looked at another 2024 release from a major name in mobile publishing โ€” well, at least one division โ€” and that's Warcraft Rumble from Activision Blizzard (Microsoft).

Similar in many ways to Supercell's title before Brawl Stars, Clash Royale, Warcraft Rumble arrived with a big name and a beloved predecessor on mobile in Hearthstone.

Still, it landed $6.6 million spent by players globally in its first week. That's about two-thirds of Squad Busters' take, but $2 million and change more than Brawl Stars.

It's still extremely early in Squad Busters' journey but putting things into context, it had a very strong first week relative to its publisher's last billion-plus-dollar hit.

Expect more updates on this one soon.

FYI - Randy, our Head of Insights and resident game analyst, wrote this insight.

2. Temu's at It Again - The Most Downloaded Apps in the World

Apps have been busy getting downloads in May. I crunched the numbers and ranked the ones that got the most. There was a lot of movement in May.

Only two apps held on to their April ranks in May, and Instagram, the most downloaded app in the world in May, was one of those. Our estimates show it made its way into 66M devices through the App Store and Google Play. More than 10M more devices than in April!

TikTok regained the #2 spot with 51M estimated downloads, a touch higher than April, but enough to come back home. TikTok was pushed down by Facebook in March after months of owning the spot.

Facebook, WhatsApp, and Capcut rounded out the top 5 in May. Capcut is slowly rising up the charts. A slow but powerful ascent that doesn't seem to be slowing down. I don't know how high it can go, but I expect it to get there soon.

Temu is another app that's been rising again in May after slowing down their ad spend in the US in April. Our estimates show downloads rose 28% month-over-month to 28M in May - the vast majority from Google Play.

Together, the top 10 most downloaded apps in the world saw 358M downloads from the App Store and Google Play in May. A healthy 10% increase. Let's see where this goes in June as downloads drift towards games.

By the way, are you looking for App and Market Intelligence to make more informed decisions and want to see what Appfigures has to offer? Let my team show you.

3. Anime is Going Mainstream - The Highest-Earning Apps in the World

I crunched the numbers and ranked the highest-earning mobile apps in the world in May, and let me tell you, May continues the trend April started.

Let's dive right into it:

TikTok was the highest-earning mobile app in the world in May. It earned a whopping $203M in net revenue - what Bytedance gets to keep after Apple and Google take their fees - according to our estimates.

That's an $11M increase from April - more than what most apps earn in a whole year!

Rival YouTube came in second in May with $131M of estimated net revenue. Also higher than April's total, but not by as much.

Disney+, Tinder, and Max round out the top five highest-earning apps in May. Each earned more in May than it did in April, and if you're comparing, had the exact same rank month after month.

That's actually what we see throughout all three lists - most apps kept their ranks. Just like April.

Some attribute this lack of movement to discovery but to me, it shows apps are putting more effort into optimizing revenue separately from features or marketing.

In the long term, that'll become a requirement.

Before we total this up I should mention Crunchyroll managed to squeeze into the top 10 in May with an impressive $36M haul.

Crunchyroll is on fire these days as Anime is gaining popularity in the mainstream.

Our App Intelligence shows that together, the top 10 highest-earning apps in May brought in $791M of net revenue from the App Store and Google Play (but mostly from Google Play).

That's about 4% higher than April's total and gets the top apps just a little bit closer to a big B.

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4. The Game That Got Big While No One Was Looking

There are currently six games in the top-grossing list of apps and games in the US App Store. Just six - 30%. Monopoly Go leads the charge, Candy Crush is still holding on, Supercell's Brawl Stars, which is a rather new addition, is also there.

And then there's Last War: Survival, a hyper casual (or midcore casual, depends who you ask).

In case you haven't seen the ads yet, Last War is a seemingly simple game possessing all the attributes of a hyper casual game like all the rest. It gets significantly harder according to players who stuck around for more than an hour.

Oh, and the game is also making many many millions.

Our App Intelligence shows the game, which launched back in June of last year, has earned $262M in net revenue in its first year on the App Store and Google Play (not including from China). And here's an interesting insight, the split between the App Store and Google Play is fairly close - 55% to 45%, leaning in the App Store's favor.

It didn't start out this way - Google Play was earning more early on, but the App Store got momentum and eventually overgrew Google Play.

Now, that's not common. For comparison, Supercell's Brawl Stars gets about 27% of its revenue from Google Play and the rest, 73%, from the App Store.

But we're not done yet with the numbers.

Our estimates show Last War's revenue has been growing very fast - from $29M to $63M in the last five months. And it got to that $29M in just a handful of months. All of those figures are net, which means what FirstFun, Last War's developer, gets to keep after store fees.

And where is all of that money coming from? The US, of course, but also Japan and South Korea. The US was responsible for 30% of the revenue, Japan for 17%, and South Korea for 10%. Together, the three earned the game $156M of net revenue.

5. X's Mobile Revenue Declines for Second Month in a Row

Twitter, I mean X, is going through a strange period these days. Downloads are recovering after the abrupt name change last year but are still not anywhere near where they were - more on that below - and revenue growth, which was very healthy last year, has slowed down considerably and is now negative.

Without getting too much into the politics of this, let's have a look at the numbers and where X is heading.

First, revenue.

According to our App Intelligence, X saw $7.6M of net revenue in May - that's what Elon gets to keep after Apple and Google take their fees. And even though I combined the two, it's really the App Store that continues to drive most of the revenue for X - 78% of it in May.

This will become important when we look at downloads.

This haul is lower than April's $8M estimated net revenue, which was a tad lower than March's $8.2M haul. Not by a lot, but if you compare March and May it's a 7% decrease which can't feel good.

I've been analyzing X's revenue before the bird went dark and know growth is as much about the political landscape as it is about the platform, but I think there's more to this decline.

X users spend on premium plans and to subscribe to creators - and there's a problem with each of those. Creators, who are incentivized to post, end up posting too much with too little substance because they need the views, which makes everyone's stream more fluff and less engaging overall. On the other side, X has increased its premium subscription price a lot since it became somewhat mandatory to exist on the platform and its highest tier is now more than $20/mo. That's quite a lot, considering the quality has decreased.

Sure, there's a $4/mo plan now as well, but it's fairly useless.

Between lacking substance and increasing prices, X is making it really hard for its user base to upgrade.

And it gets worse when we look at downloads.

I normally combine downloads across the App Store and Google Play because a download is a download, but now that we know that more money is coming from the App Store, it's important to see where the downloads are coming from.

Well, not the App Store.

X's road to recovery has been slow and when we look at each store independently, we see it really hasn't recovered the App Store side of things at all. It's still declining there.

Our estimates show that last May, X saw 4.4M downloads from the App Store. Fast forward a year and an abrupt name change and the App Store was only responsible for 3M downloads. That's a 32% drop and the trend doesn't seem to want to stop.

Google Play downloads are on the rise but are still behind the year-ago numbers. Even when they fully recover, the impact to revenue will be minimal considering the majority of X's mobile revenue is coming from the App Store.

I don't think this is the end of X, but it's definitely not going to be easy to grow from here unless something serious happens - or advertisers decide to come back to the platform.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

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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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