The newest Analyst Bulletin is out! Here are July’s top update picks from the US, China, and Japan’s mobile game markets that our analysts thought you should know.
This month’s highlights include the classic zombie mode coming back to Call of Duty Mobile in a brand new format, Magic the Gathering launching a collaboration with Dungeons and Dragons, and a slew of collaboration and seasonal summer events across US, Japanese and Chinese markets.
Keep reading to find out the rest of July’s market highlights. 😉
US Market Overview
- At long last Call of Duty Mobile got its zombie mode back and in a brand new format BUT at least for now only for a limited time. We expect that it will most likely do well and become a permanent part of the game before long as the developers have clearly put a lot of effort into the game mode.
- In the zombie mode players go into the matches in teams of 4. The mode has fully voice-acted cutscenes setting the scene and overall very high production values (what else would you expect from CoD Mobile). The game mode is based on survival. During the day players scavenge items across the map: weapons, ammo, equipment, material items for building/upgrading turrets and so on. At night, zombies attack and players have to survive/defend their base until sunrise. This cycle repeats three or five times (depending on difficulty chosen) and if the team survives that –> they win the match.
- DoubleDown Casino introduced World Traveller a huge season-based event that introduces several minigames and progression mechanics.
- In the event, the player objective is to travel through various cities with their pet dog and renovate/upgrade cities with a new currency, Hammers. Once they’ve fully renovated a city, they get a reward and move on to the next one. Players can get Hammers by spinning Spinny, a new minislot machine. Spinny requires stars to play and you’ll get stars from spinning regular slots or by playing ether of the two event minigames – Rocket Launch and Treasure Hunter. Besides upgrading/renovating cities, you get to interact and upgrade your pet companion. This is done with pet food that players get from Spinny.
- Magic the Gathering launched a collaboration with Dungeons & Dragons, introducing new game mechanics and a significant amount of new cards. The Dungeons & Dragons collaboration brings a huge amount of familiar monsters & characters plus “table-top RPG” special mechanics to the game (e.g. venturing to and completing dungeons during a match).
- Coin Master introduced team chest. Team Chest brings co-op elements to Coin Master’s team system. The player goal is to collect Keys with their team mates to win the chest. Players get Keys by attacking and raiding other players.
- Also, a piggy bank system was introduced, giving players the chance to purchase more spins at a discount by breaking the piggy. The more you spin, the more spins the piggy accumulates for purchase.
Some other noteworthy feature updates in the US top grossing charts:
- The latest Garena Free Fire season update introduced a limited “Among Us-game mode” called Pet Rumble
- The first major feature addition for Project Makeover is out in the form of Closet Ratings + “Avatar World“
- Zooba saw a Major update, with new character progression systems that allow players to purchase various permanent weapon boosts
- Game of Sultans celebrated its 3rd anniversary with a set of events and a brand new Royal Pets system!
- Candy Crush Soda Saga held a collaboration event with Space Jam. Space Jam: A New Legacy is a collaboration event, wrapped up with battle pass mechanics familiar from past seasons. In a nutshell, players complete random tasks to get Basketballs, which help them progress on the reward path & unlock prizes.
- Homescapes introduced a new recurring event type “Knight’s Race.” Knight’s Race pits you against four random players to see who reaches a certain level the fastest. The top three get a reward and once the race has ended, a new one starts right away!
- Phase10 World Tour introduced a new “Cat Playground” event. The new Cat Playground event started where players build a playground to attract cats and feed them to gain hearts.
- The Seven Deadly Sins added a Grand Cross-exclusive storyline Ragnarok. Ragnarok is an original storyline made for the 7DS Grand Cross mobile game, which means that unlike the main story, there is no manga/anime predecessor.
- EverMerge introduced a slew of summer events: Tropical Beach where players merge tropical flora and Summer Breeze, where players get to merge sandcastles. The biggest event of the summer so far, Midsummer Ball was also added. The 4-day event has its own island where there were several mergeable strains to discover.
- State of Survival added a Summer Games event set as well, no doubt drawing inspiration from the ongoing Olympics.
New on the market
Finally, the following top grossing 200 entrants from July are our US game analysts picks to follow closely in the upcoming months:
- NieR Re[in]carnation launched at the end of July peaking at around rank 60 in the top grossing charts. Nier: Reincarnation is a fascinating story-focused Auto-battle RPG from the creator of the Nier game series. (Same as in Japan).
- Shining Nikki entered the top 150 grossing. Shining Nikki is essentially Love Nikki 2 as the sequel to the dress-up game.
- Punishing: Gray Raven a high production quality action RPG peeked at top 60 grossing after its launch. (Same as in China).
China Market Overview
- Xuan Yuan Sword – Long Wu Yun Shan (轩辕剑龙舞云山) held a rich collaboration event with a movie 大话西游3 (A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three), including a story quest, prizes, an event gacha with a character and an event boss. The game also added a new home system feature alongside the event.
- Wang Chuan Feng Hua Lu (忘川风华录) Wang Chuan Feng Hua Lu held a collaboration event with internet animation 秘宝之国 Mi Bao Zhi Guo. The event included event specific quests, bosses, login gifts and more.
- LifeAfter (明日之后) held several events.
- A cooking competition event in which players prepare different dishes like ice cream or vegetable rolls from several ingredients to win prizes.
- Romantic events 萤火之夜 and 双人之路 that players can play together with another player. First, the game matches players with a suitable co-player according to their stats in the game. Players can then do a lot of things with the player they have matched with, like have a date with them and complete tasks together.
- Anipop (开心消消乐®) held a collaboration event with the Shanghai Animation studio. Every week is themed around a different animation series, e,g. Calabash brothers.
- Crossfire (穿越火线:枪战王者) held a collaboration event with the Calabash Brothers (a popular Chinese animation from the 80s) with a team based game mode where players take turns as regular game characters and as the calabash brothers.
Some of the most interesting game updates we saw in July in CN:
- Moonlight Blade (天涯明月刀 ) added a new roguelike-inspired mode. In the mode Players enter dungeons. where they make “runs” to complete tasks. (e.g. defeat a certain type of enemy, collect X amount of thing Y). The difficulty is relatively high, especially for solo players. The mode is season based. Completing tasks gives players experience to level-up their season ranking in the mode.
- Sky: Children of the Light (光·遇) further deepens its social side by adding a separate hang-out space called 共享空间, which the player can decorate with furniture and open up for everyone to join.
- Jiang-nan Bai-jing-tu (江南百景图) celebrated its first anniversary with a big update, introducing e.g. a battle pass system and a collaboration event with China Merchant’s Bank.
- Punishing: Gray Raven (战双帕弥什 continues its steady and very successful flow of monthly/bimonthly giant events introducing new characters and event-only gameplay content.
New on the market
China’s top-grossing list saw many interesting changes last month, so let’s see what top-grossing 200 entrants our CH analysts have chosen for us this month:
- July finally saw the launch of Marvel Super War (漫威超级战争) in China, peaking at 40 top grossing and 1 in downloads. Currently hovering around the top 100 grossing.
- An interesting racing game Wangpai Jingsu (王牌竞速) shot to the top of the charts currently within the Top 20 grossing.
- An interesting RPG adventure game Revived Witch (复苏的魔女) entered the top 50 grossing at launch. The game focuses on dungeon exploration and puzzle solving where players build a team-of-characters by collecting anime girls. The games pretty art style combines 8-bit pixel, 3D and anime graphics.
In July Summer season bikini skin events keep racking in cash with games such as Langrisser (梦幻模拟战), Naruto Online (火影忍者：忍者新世代) and Three Kingdoms Fantasy Land (三国志幻想大陆) all holding events of their own.
Japan market overview
- Ｄ×２ 真･女神転生 リベレーション added new tower-type monthly event Tokyo Abyss. In the mode players enter a single player dungeon where players can’t use their own characters but have to choose from a set of characters provided by the game.
- Lately modes where players need to rely on a pre-selected roster of characters appear to be becoming more and more frequent in Japan.
- Idolmaster Million Live! (アイドルマスター ミリオンライブ！ シアターデイズ) added the Million Theater Battle Pass introduced with the Diamond Joker event. During the event players earn points and earn rewards and advance in event rankings by playing the Diamond Joker event song.
- Puzzle&Dragons (パズル＆ドラゴンズ ) adds the much awaited 8人対戦 PvP-mode!
- In the PvP mode 8 players are pitted against each other by a filtered synchronous match-making system. Each player is given one of three teams to choose from (personal teams are not allowed). Players enter a stage where they fight a series of enemies individually. The goal is to defeat all monsters within the time limit and collect the highest performance score.
- Dragon Quest Tact (ドラゴンクエストタクト ) held its 1st anniversary event combined with the DQ6 event, plenty of brush ups and modes from past events were also added with the update.
- 二ノ国：Cross Worlds added a Battle Pass, guild dungeon and ‘Legendary Ancient Genie Episode 01’ event with an event-only skill tree. During the event players need to complete a series of exclusive missions to get access to the event boss Ancient Genie. The boss can be fought either solo or as a party of 5 players.
- Hinakoi (ひなこい ) Summer Campaign boosted the game to top grossing 10, appealing with real-life prizes like boyfriend certificates and hand written love letters.
- Puzzle&Dragons (パズル＆ドラゴンズ ) x Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Masters. The Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Masters collaboration event included a Duel Masters themed gacha and both solo and co-op collaboration dungeons.
- Monster Strike (モンスターストライク) x Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken. The collaboration with the Dragon Quest anime provided players with a Log-in bonus, event exclusive dungeons and tasks, a Twitter share campaign, collaboration gacha and several collaboration characters.
New on the market
Finally, let’s take a look at new interesting games that entered Japan’s top 200 grossing list in June:
- Ragnarok Origin (ラグナロクオリジン) that launched at the end of june peaked in the top grossing 20.
- The original game that started the Youkai Watch frachise has now been released for smart phones as well. Youkai Watch 1 smart phone version (妖怪ウォッチ1 スマホ ) peaked 7th in the top 10 grossing but has now fallen to around 200.
- Walking Dead: Survivors entered the JP-market’s top grossing 200, peaking 83rd and now ranking around 125. The 4X-game has been in the US market’s top 200 since April 2021.
Summer events continue to set the theme for July with beaches, swimsuits, vacation resorts and summer festivals in Umamusume (ウマ娘プリティーダービー), 7 Deadly Sins (七つの大罪), Project Sekai (プロジェクトセカイ), FFBE War of the Visions (FFBE幻影戦争), BanG! Dream (バンドリ！ ガールズバンドパーティ！).