The World’s Top Mobile Social Games Developers, Publishers and Platforms
The mobile social games market has witnessed a great deal of activity over the last year. Big players in the games industry such as Zynga and EA, and Japanese mobile game incumbents Gree and DeNA, have been busy building their own social platforms across iOS and Android and snapping-up a number of smaller developers in a raft of IP and talent acquisitions. With the flurry of deals taking place in this new market, you’d be forgiven for struggling to keep-up with who owns who, and which platforms belong to which companies. This list rounds-up all the major publishers, developers and platforms in the industry and gives you a handy guide to the key acquisitions and content partnerships that have taken place over the last couple of years. If you’re interested in learning more about the mobile social games revenue models, distribution, statistics and trends check out our introduction to the mobile social games market and if it’s mobile ads your interested in then we’ve got a Guide to Mobile Advertising Networks for you too.
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Social game publisher that established itself on the Facebook platform with games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, and then went on to dominate the Facebook platform with 250 million users as of May 2012. Zynga has since made a concerted effort to increase its mobile presence with a number of high-profile acquisitions of mobile social game specialist studios. Following the acquisition of OMGPOP Zynga’s active mobile users rose to 21 million. The company’s revenues rose to $321 million in Q1 2012, largely on the back of its expansions into mobile.
Key Zynga Acquisitions
Developer of the hugely successful social mobile game Draw Something. Also operates its own desktop social games platform. Was bought out by Zynga earlier in the year.
Game developer that began developing titles on consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PS3, before moving onto smartphone games. Buzz Monkey was bought out last month by Zynga and has now been rebranded as Zynga Eugene.
Mobile game developer that was set-up to focus on games targeted at females. Wild Needle was bought out by Zynga in May in a talent acquisition deal.
Mobile social gaming developer based in New Jersey and founded in 2010. Astro Ape developed popular social games such as Office Heroes before it was acquired by Zynga in 2011.
Developer of popular Facebook and mobile games. Best known for Ubisoft’s CSI Facebook game. Area/Code was bought out by Zynga at the beginning of last year.
German based mobile game developer that created the popular Zombie Smash game. GameDoctors was bought out by Zynga in January 2012.
Game developer that began developing titles on the original PlayStation. Most famous in the smartphone space for bringing World of Goo to iOS. Bought out by Zynga at the end of 2011.
Beijing-based social gaming company set up in 2008 to focus on social mobile games for the Asian market. Zynga acquired XPD in 2010.
German studio that developed the Aves HTML5 gaming engine, designed for high-end graphics on HTML5 games. Zynga bought the company in 2010.
Japanese mobile game developer, publisher and social mobile game platform. Gree is one of the largest and most profitable mobile social game companies in the world, recording profits of $168.6m in Q3 and net sales of $529m. The company is currently making a big push into western markets, following a number of acquisitions including Funzio and OpenFeint. Gree launched its new global mobile social platform in May 2012, which will be integrating the OpenFeint platform by the autumn. Gree aims to feature 60 new titles by the end of the year and amass a userbase of 1 billion.
Key Gree Acquisitions
Mobile social gaming platform that lets players share scores, friends and recommendations. The OpenFeint platform was one of the first social game platforms to achieve success in the mobile space. It is now owned by Gree, which has plans to integrate it into its own eponymous platform.
South Korean social mobile game developer, acquired by Gree earlier this year.
San Francisco-based mobile developer that has developed social mobile games for a number of major publishers including Capcom. Recently received an investment from Japanese publisher Gree to bring games to Gree’s platform.
One of the biggest and most profitable developers in the mobile social space. Developed the successful Crime City IP. Now owned by Gree following a $220m acquisition.
Japanese mobile game developer and publisher. DeNA is Gree’s biggest rival in Japan, with revenues of £1.8bn in fiscal year ending March 2012. DeNA owns the Mobage mobile social game platform, which it developed with its biggest western acquisition to date – San-Francisco developer Ngcomo. The publisher is now busy expanding the Mobage platform and continuing to look westward, with content partnership deals with a variety of big name publishers such as Disney. The company is also integrating Ngcomo’s Plus+ platform into Mobage. DeNA owns some of the most popular mobile social IPs on the market, including Rage of Bahamut, which rocketed to the top of the iOS app charts on its release last month.
Key DeNA Acquisitions
San-Francisco based developer of the some of the most popular mobile social games, including WeRule and the Plus+ social platform. Ngcomo was bought out by Japanese publisher DeNA in 2010.
California-based social mobile game developer that developed Tap Fish and Tap Mall. GameView was acquired by Japanese publisher DeNA in 2010.
Japanese mobile game developer that created the popular Frog Minutes mobile game. Recently announced a partnership with DeNA to bring Frog Minutes to the Mobage platform.
Mobage is currently one of the biggest social game platforms on iOS and Android devices. It’s owned by Japanese publisher DeNA and incorporates DeNA subsidiary ngcomo’s Plus+ platform.
iOS social mobile game platform owned by DeNA subsidary ngcomo. Plus+ has been integrated into DeNA’s Mobage platform, although some games still carry the Plus+ branding.
Independent mobile social game publishers, developers and platforms
British Publisher with a heritage in console games engines, that recently raised $8m US to expand – has published a range of mobile social games including Jenga, Icebreaker Hockey and My Horse
Beijing-based social mobile game platform and publisher that operates across iOS and Android devices. Papaya claims over 25 million users on Android and has partnered with numerous developers, including Kiloo and Bulkpix.
EA is one of the biggest videogame publishers in the world and has made a concerted effort to break into the mobile social games market with its Sims franchise, Origin platform and purchases of mobile social game companies such as PlayFish and Chillango.
EA’s social gaming platform that encompasses mobile and desktop games. Origin supports in-game achievements and leaderboards across a number of EA mobile games, such as Scrabble and Deadspace.
Mobile content publisher that runs the PlayPhone Social mobile gaming platform. PlayPhone claims 3 million users on its platform, which runs across iOS, Android and Windows Phone. PlayPhone features its own virtual currency and allows cross operating system multiplayer.
Mobile social gaming platform that offers similar leaderboard, friend-tracking and achievements features to other platforms such as OpenFeint. Scoreloop operates across Android, iOS and BlackBerry and was acquired last year by RIM.
South African social and casual games publisher and platform. Recently began developing a new mobile social game platform that will allow multiplayer gaming between desktop Facebook users and mobile gamers, which is expected to roll out this summer.
Apple’s proprietary social games platform that’s pre-installed on iOS devices. Lets gamers add friends, track high scores and earn achievement points. Claims 65 million sign-ups.
Recently launched (January 2012) Japanese mobile social game platform. Owned by MTI. Unlike Gree and DeNA, entag! appears to be focusing on the Japanese domestic market rather than expanding westward.
Publisher and developer of massively multiplayer social games on desktop platforms. Recently moved into the mobile space with the successful Kingdoms of Camelot iOS game.
Social game developer and publisher with over 150 million users across mobile and desktop platforms. Formally known as Mindjolt and led by former MySpace founders.
One of the oldest videogame publishers that focuses exclusively on mobile games. Headquartered in France, Gameloft claims 45 million monthly active users across its titles.
The recently launched mobile social games platform owned by French publisher Gameloft. Currently only available on Android, Gameloft Live lets users create avatars and keep up-to-date with Gameloft games.
One of South Korea’s biggest mobile game developers and publishers. Gamevil recently announced that over 90% of its revenue now comes from in-app purchases.
Social game developer and publisher that made a name for itself on Facebook’s platform, but is now scaling back its desktop activities and moving strongly into the mobile space. Recently announced partnerships to expand into the Chinese and South Korean markets.
Japanese developer and publisher that creates social games for mobile and Facebook, as well as the FreeAppKing game promotion network run by its US arm.
South Korean mobile game platform and publisher that specialises in casual games and massively multiplayer titles. Hangame operates in China as ‘Ourgame’ and in the US as ‘Ijji’.
Chinese developer of mobile and PC massively multiplayer games. Used to own the World of Warcraft license in China. Now making a big push into the mobile space with its Game Zone platform.
Mobile social gaming platform owned by Chinese publisher The9. Powered by the OpenFeint platform and boasts over 600 titles from 500 developers.
Chinese social gaming platform. Recently announced a partnership with DeNA to bring a number of titles from the Mobage platform to RenRen’s new mobile platform.
Russian social and mobile game developer that has over 14 studios. Developer of Android title Paradise Island and iOS game My Country.
German developer that made a name for itself with a number of popular social Facebook games. Recently began porting its games to mobile.
One of the most popular independent social gaming publishers. Creators of iMobsters and owner of subsidiary Team Lava. Storm8 recently announced it had surpassed 300m downloads.
Claims to be the leading mobile social game developer on iOS. Created popular ‘Story’ franchise, including Bakery Story, Restaurant Story and City Story. Owned by Storm8.
One of the most popular social mobile game developers. Responsible for TinyZoo, TinyPets and TinyVillage mobile games. Based in San Francisco. Launched a $5m fund to help mobile developers.
Mobile games developer based in San Francisco and founded in 2001. Glu operates successful social game Bugs Village and recently announced a deal with Blammo to expand its social game portfolio.
Glu Network is the social platform run by Glu. The platform lets gamers earn achievement points on Glu games, interact with the community and earn rewards.
Multiplatform casual game developer and publisher with an established presence in the desktop space through its own casual game portal. Recently signed partnership deal with Gree to bring mobile game’s to Gree’s platform.
Established console game developer that also has a strong presence in the mobile space. Signed a partnership with Gree to bring integrate its mobile games into Gree’s social platform.
Chinese developer that focuses on massively multiplayer mobile games. Haypi recently entered into a content partnership with the Gree platform. Responsible for the popular Haypi Kingdom iOS game.
Mobile game developer based in Japan that specialises in HTML5 games. Gree invested in Wizcorp in April this year just before it launched its new social platform.
Publisher of a number of leading videogame franchises on console platforms. Recently announced a partnership to bring its Pirates and Civilization franchises to Gree’s social platform.