Report: Top App Store, Google Play games are movie tie-ins

App Annie and International Data Corporation (IDC) unveiled a report for the E3 expo titled Games & Hollywood – The Perks & Pitfalls of Transmedia Development, which studies the rise of cross-channel entertainment properties, including how movie tie-in games perform.

According to the research, games that are movie tie-ins represent close to 40% of all downloads at the iOS App Store and Google Play digital storefronts in Q1 2014. Both storefronts also saw revenues grow over the same period a year ago: Google Play’s quarterly revenue grew over 2.5 times, while iOS App Store quarterly revenue was 1.7 times higher, indicating that digital entertainment tie-ins across multiple screens are potentially popular.

Companies that have performed particularly well with movie or TV show tie-ins on smartphones and tablets in the past year include: Disney (Frozen Free Fall, Monsters University), Gameloft (Despicable Me, Iron Man 3), Kabam (Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit: Kingdoms) and Rovio (Angry Birds Star Wars II, Angry Birds Rio).

From a console and PC gaming perspective, the report found, properties that originate as comic books, graphic novels, physical toys, movies or TV shows and that are adapted into video games tend to be more successful (both critically and financially) than properties that originate as a game property and are translated into another branch of entertainment.

The types of mobile games created for movie tie-ins typically involve city-building, puzzles, endless runners, and card battles, said App Annie and IDC. Game tie-ins are increasingly popular for animated and TV show marketing as well: eight of the Top 15 cross-over titles by downloads were based on animated films or shows, while five of the Top 15 revenue-earning transmedia games were based on TV shows. The research also implies that a dual screen, interactive experience – where a smartphone or tablet is being used while watching TV or a movie – is likely to accompany many TV shows and movies in the future.

The research also found that movies do not have to be particularly popular or recent to make it to the Top 15 mobile game cross-over list. App Annie named Turbo Racing LeagueRobocop, and Real Steel World Robot Boxing as some successes. Real Steel World Robot Boxing in particular performed well in downloads in 2013 and early 2014, even though the film was released in 2011.

“The takeaway of this report is that box office success and ratings are no longer the only indicator of a successful movie or TV show,” said App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt. “As we are seeing in other industries, a mobile strategy clearly needs to be a serious consideration for any entertainment marketer interested in maximising their brand’s reach and overall lifespan. And it’s not just about slapping a film’s brand on top of a puzzle game – as movie and game creation technology advances, so do consumer expectations.”

“The revenue dynamic between Hollywood and video games has shifted in the direction of games in the past decade and this trend is likely to continue,” says Lewis Ward, Research Director of gaming at IDC.

Click here to obtain a full copy of the report.