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PowerUp Report: Building an Empire

Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was the mobile gaming industry. In July 2008, Apple’s App Store launched with a meager 552 mobile apps on its virtual store shelves. Seven years later, it now flaunts 1.5 million apps, and has paid out $30 billion to mobile developers.

Mobile games, of course, are the driving force behind the rise of the mobile app empire, accounting for three-quarters of global app revenues in 2014. And strategy games are, arguably, the industry’s greatest gladiators. A glance at the top grossing charts tells the whole story. Leading the pack are Clash of Clans, Game of War: Fire Age and Boom Beach. Collectively, these three strategy titles rake in millions of dollars a day, according to revenue estimates from analytics company Think Gaming.

But it’s easy to forget that the mobile strategy genre’s ascent can be traced all the way back to 2009. Fantasy-strategy game Kingdoms at War from A Thinking Ape was one of the highest-grossing games in 2010 and 2011, blazing a trail for today’s top strategy grossers. Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North took the baton next, and raced to the finish line as the #1 grossing iOS game in 2012. Now strategy games such as Supercell’s Clash of Clans reign over the top grossing charts.

This past Super Bowl was a defining moment for the mobile strategy genre. By this point, it was clear that mobile games—especially strategy games— were here to stay. Yet Helsinki-based Supercell took the genre to new heights when it aired a Clash of Clans TV ad starring Hollywood badass Liam Neeson in front of Super Bowl XLIX viewers across the globe.

Despite the successes of mobile strategy games so far, the epic of strategy games is still being written. In fact, the next wave of mobile strategy games is upon us. The first title of note to usher in the evolution was DomiNations from Nexon M and Big Huge Games (you can read more about DomiNations in this report). And sometime in 2015, the highly-anticipated Dawn of Titans from Zynga-owned NaturalMotion is expected to make a big splash in the mobile strategy genre.

Needless to say, all roads lead to strategy games, and that’s why we explore the empire of strategy games in this edition of the Chartboost Power-Up Report. We provide you with powerful data, advertising creative analysis and design tips, game design methodologies, a strategy game success story, and an exhaustive deep dive into the history of mobile strategy games. Use this report as your comprehensive playbook in your journey to building a successful mobile games business.

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