In short: Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon GO are still the most popular Android games in the United States in terms of active users, despite having peaked years ago, new Google Play Store insights obtained by AndroidHeadlines reveal. As of the first week of September, almost six and a half years following its initial debut, Candy Crush Saga had close to 2.1 million stateside players on Android devices, as well as another 1.75 million on iOS, having also topped the weekly gaming category in Apple's ecosystem, according to data provided by analytics platform App Ape. Pokemon GO — a game that celebrated its second anniversary two months back — was close behind, touting 2.4 million U.S. players over the same period, 1.3 million of whom were Android users.
Background: Activision Blizzard made $2 billion from mobile games alone last year, largely thanks to the success of its Candy Crush franchise. Candy Crush Saga, the seminal entry in the series, presently boasts thousands of levels and is still being updated with new content on a regular basis as its user base remains engaged with the game. Mobile users in the U.S. open the match-three puzzler over four times per day on average, with two-thirds of the player base in the country being female, according to App Ape's data. As of last week, Candy Crush Saga was present on 9.46 million Android and iOS devices stateside, with over half of them launching it at least once per month. Pokemon GO is also still managing to maintain its performance even after exceeding $1.8 billion in global revenue earlier this summer.
The impact: The hope of creating the next Pokemon GO or Candy Crush Saga is largely what keeps developer-publishers investing in mobile games, with free-to-play titles still being seen as low-risk-high-reward bets. The global success of those two titles largely redefined the industry that's now catering to casual players more than ever, especially as recent industry data indicates an increasing number of players is now prepared to spend small sums on Android and iOS titles, hence lowering the need developers have for "whales," a small subset players that spend thousands of dollars on microtransactions every month.