Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga are the top iPhone and iPad apps of 2013, according to Apple's annual year-end report on its free and paid apps for its iOS devices.
On both the free iPhone and iPad charts, Candy Crush Saga was the king of the hill, while paid apps on both platforms were ruled by Mojang's pocket edition of Minecraft.
Both games beat out some pretty powerful competition including YouTube, Google Maps, Skype, and even Instagram.
The full list can be found below:
Top 10 Free iPhone Apps
According to a recent interview with Oculus VR chief executive Brendan Iribe on GamesBeat, John Carmack is spearheading Oculus VR's mobile efforts. Carmack left id Software earlier in the year to work for the company out of its Dallas offices, and apparently he is spending a fair amount of his time focusing on mobile platforms.
Koei Tecmo has introduced spending limits for micro-transactions in its games for those under the age of 20 in Japan. According to Silicon Era, the company will only allow $50 a month to be spent by someone under the age of 15, with the 16-19 year olds being limited to a maximum of $200 a month. No restrictions apply for players 20 years old or older.
Koei Tecmo plans to add these limits in its games in Japan before the year's end. No word on if this policy will be a global one or if it is just specific to Japan.
German mobile development studio Fishlabs has been acquired by Koch Media, According to a report in PocketGamer - citing reports from German news outlets Gamesmarket and Newsslash - the company was purchased by an unnamed buyer. Later Koch managing director Dr. Klemens Kundratitz confirmed the purchase in a statement sent to Polygon. The studio behind space sim series Galaxy on Fire, filed for bankruptcy protection in October.
Sony is giving away 10 free games (two each week for five weeks) to all PS Mobile gamers. Detailed on the PlayStation Blog, the games will work on your PlayStation Certified smartphone, tablet, or PS Vita. Between November 27th and December 18th of 2013, and then from January 8th through January 22nd of 2014, you can download two PS Mobile games. The first two games, available later today, will be Passing Time and Rymdkapsel.
GungHo Online Entertainment's Puzzle & Dragons has surpassed two million downloads in North America, which is pretty impressive but pales in comparison to previous numbers in other regions. Puzzle & Dragons is available for free on the App Store and Google Play. To date, Puzzle & Dragons has collectively reached 23 million downloads in Japan, North America and Korea alone.
While more people are downloading apps via Google Play for Android devices of various shapes and sizes, Apps on the Apple App Store are making more money, according to the new App Annie's third quarter 2013 report.
Several new reports from research firm Niko Partners reveals that China's gaming population is mostly made up of PC gamers and mobile players. According to data from two reports, the "Chinese Gamers Report 2013," and the "Quarterly Home Gamer Survey and Monthly I-café Games Usage Data," China has 208 million PC gamers and 288 million mobile game players this year.
A new report by retail research firm NPD Group finds that the way children are playing games has taken a dramatic shift since 2011. The report, "Kids and Gaming 2013," finds that children ages 2-17 are playing games on mobile devices nearly as much as they are on home console systems.
More than half (53 percent) of mobile device users reported that they spent more time playing on these devices this year compared to last year, but the real increase is with children who spent an average of seven hours per week on mobile devices compared to five hours per week in 2011.
When the smart phone revolution began five years ago, the National Security Agency began looking for ways to crack the myriad of devices that were hitting the market including iPhones, Android devices, and Black Berry devices. Black Berry devices were the most popular among politicians and business people at the time.
Mobile gaming "big spenders" - often referred to as "whales" - are more likely to be young men, according to research firm EEDAR. The data comes from the "Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming report," which relies heavily on a July survey of more than 3,000 active mobile and tablet gamers. According to the survey, 66 percent of the top five percent of respondents who paid money for mobile games were male.
The ESRB has updated its video games rating search app in an effort to improve the information parents have access to when making decisions about the appropriateness of a purchase for their children. The ESRB recently expanded its rating system to offer more details on "interactive elements" associated with digital games and apps, such as the sharing of personal information, sharing location-based data with others, or the ability for users to interact, communicate, or share media like photos or videos.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has changed the appearance of its icons for the first time in 14 years, according to a report at Polygon. The ESRB (owned and operated by the Entertainment Software Association) decided to make some small changes to the existing logos in an attempt to make them smaller in size for mobile devices. You can see a picture of the changes below (courtesy of Polygon).
On Thursday the U.S. Justice Department was rebuked by a U.S. District Court Judge for seeking to delay proceedings in a case against the NSA brought forward by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department had asked the court for an extension of time in the case so that it could declassify related documents, but U.S. District Judge William Pauley rebuked the agency, telling lawyers for the DOJ that it was in a courtroom and not some sort of marketplace.
Zynga is in a bad spot. New information revealed through an earnings statement filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows that the social game maker has lost a lot of daily active players and had a substantial loss in Q3 2013. In its filing Zynga reported that the number of daily average users (DAU) dropped from 52 million to 39 million in the quarter. This is the lowest number of daily active users since the company started tracking those numbers. Roughly 25 percent of its daily user base has stopped playing Zynga games in a single quarter.
In an extensive report over on CVG, Mad Catz reveals its entry into the growing Android-based home console market. The new system is called "Mojo." The difference between the Mojo and other Android-based consoles such as Ouya is that it won't lock users into buying games from a custom app store, according to Mad Catz. Users will have access to Google Play, Amazon's App Store, and Nvidia TegraZone.
According to a tip sent over by Foss Patents, Google has appealed Motorola's loss to Microsoft in its ITC patent case which sought to have the sale of its Xbox 360 banned in the United States.
PC and tablet maker Lenevo is diversifying its business with a new gaming service for China called Lenovo Game World, Bloomberg reports. These new game services will include social networking features, software reviews, and gameplay tips.
Tithe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to loosen some regulations related to passengers using electronic devices during flight, take-offs and landings. The current regulations require that passengers turn off all electronics during take-off and landing, usually during the climb to 10,000 feet. The rule was implemented in the 1960's because airlines and the FAA believed that certain devices interfered with equipment in the cockpit.
Austin, Texas-based mobile online game developer Spacetime Studios announced that its four online mobile games have garnered over 250 million play sessions to-date. The four games - Pocket Legends, Star legends, Dark Legends, and Arcane Legends - have also been downloaded over 20 million times collectively. Spacetime also says that its game have a high level of engagement, with players logging an average of 33.5 hours per month on Spacetime’s titles, almost 3 times as much as the average iOS player’s total monthly gameplay and four times more than Android players.
Unity Technologies announced that its basic Unity game development engine tools for mobile devices are now free to independent developers and small studios. The basic license originally cost $800 for both iOS and Android devices.
"We were able to make Unity free for the web and for desktop computers a while ago, but have been dreaming of doing the same for mobile for what seems like forever," explained David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies.
Mobile games publisher Gree has laid off an estimated 30 employees from its San Francisco office according to reports on Develop and GII. While the exact number of employees let go was not confirmed, the layoffs have been. According to Gree COO Anil Dharni, the staff reduction is part of re-alignment of its U.S. operations.
An investigation examining 400 apps conducted by Develop shows that there is a lack of consistency in the way in-game purchases are presented on digital stores. The investigation follows the UK government agency the Office of Fair Trading’s recent announcement that it would investigate in-app purchases in children’s games.
If the laws being proposed by politicians in the UK this week were in place when SimCity and Diablo III launched, consumers would be able to get a refund. The BBC is reporting on plans to pass new laws that will make it easier for UK consumers to get a refund or a replacement product from companies when a digitally distributed video game, mobile app, or piece of entertainment content doesn't work they way it should at launch.
Mobile and social game developer PikPok announced that its newest original mobile game, Into the Dead has managed to sail past the 10 millionth download mark. The game was released in December of last year and is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android. The game joins another PikPok title past 10 million downloads: Flick Kick Football. That game is contributing to the Flick Kick series of games, which has seen over 20 million downloads as of April.
This week the European Commission issued a preliminary antitrust ruling against Google’s Motorola Mobility related to its heavy handed tactics against Apple in German Courts. The finding could ultimately lead to a large fine for Motorola (and by extension Google) and could lead to Motorola being forced to enter an agreement with competitors to license its patents for a reasonable royalty rate.
The Associated Press is reporting that the country's fourth largest mobile carrier T-Mobile USA has completed the acquisition of rival mobile phone carrier MetroPCS. T-Mobile will add the company's estimated 9 million customers to its own 34 million users. While T-Mobile has no plans to make any immediate changes, the company does plan on shutting down MetroPCS’s network over the next two years.