Top-Selling iOS App Store Games: All-Time Favorites 
In the vast sea of the Apple App Store, boasting hundreds of thousands of games, discovering the hidden gems among the plethora of options can be a daunting task. While the occasional spotlight on the front page may illuminate some of the older classics, the majority of these App Store treasures often remain obscured, waiting to be unearthed by the next generation of iPhone gamers. With an impressive arsenal of almost 2 million apps, the iOS app store stands as the second-largest official mobile app store globally. Among this expansive collection, games take center stage, ranging from free to paid, and even those offering a taste of both with enticing in-app purchases.
In this article, we embark on a journey through the iOS App Store to explore the current top ten best-selling games, shedding light on the trends and titles that dominate the mobile gaming realm. Join us as we unravel the secrets behind the success of these highest-grossing mobile games, providing insights into what makes them the most popular iOS games and top grossing iPhone games of the moment.
The Top 10 Highest Grossing iPhone Games
Genre: Battle Royale
Release year: September 2017
Sales: $283 million
A battle royale game that gained immense popularity for its engaging gameplay, building mechanics, and regular updates introducing new content. Since its debut, Fortnite has captivated millions of players, generating staggering monthly revenue in the hundreds of millions. However, the Fortnite phenomenon faced a seismic shift in August 2020 when it became embroiled in a controversy of epic proportions. The game was abruptly removed from both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, thrust into an ongoing dispute between Epic Games and Apple over revenue distribution. Epic Games, the brilliant minds behind Fortnite, vehemently argued that Apple (and Google) claiming a 30% cut of in-app sales was unjust, sparking a debate that resonated far beyond the virtual battlegrounds.
Genre: Augmented reality
Release year: July 2016
Sales: $324 million
An augmented reality game that encourages players to explore the real world to catch virtual Pokémon, battle other trainers, and participate in events. One of the unique aspects of Pokémon GO is its emphasis on physical activity. The game encourages players to explore the real world by walking, as different Pokémon appear in various locations. This innovative approach to gaming has promoted exercise and outdoor exploration. Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, regularly organizes community events, including special Pokémon appearances, raids, and challenges. These events foster a sense of community among players and provide opportunities for social interaction during in-game activities. The game’s content continually evolves, introducing new generations of Pokémon, features, and gameplay mechanics. This commitment to ongoing updates keeps the player base engaged and excited about the prospect of discovering new Pokémon and challenges.
Genre: Real-time strategy
Release year: 2016
Sales: $224 million
Clash Royale, developed by Supercell, combines elements of collectible card games, tower defense, and real-time strategy. Players build a deck of cards representing various units, spells, and structures, deploying them strategically to destroy their opponent’s towers and secure victory. The top-grossing IOS game has a vibrant competitive scene with organized tournaments, leagues, and championships. Its eSports ecosystem attracts skilled players and enthusiastic spectators from around the globe. The real-time multiplayer aspect of Clash Royale adds an exciting and unpredictable element to matches. Players face off against opponents from around the world, testing their strategic skills in intense, fast-paced battles. Clash Royale encourages social interaction through its clan system. Players can join or create clans to collaborate with others, share strategies, and participate in Clan Wars—a competitive mode where clans compete against each other for rewards.
Candy Crush Saga
Genre: Match-3 puzzle
Release year: November 14, 2012
Sales: $1 billion
The highest grossing mobile game, Candy Crush Saga, developed by King, has achieved remarkable success with a massive and diverse player base. The game’s levels are organized in a visually appealing map referred to as the “Saga Map.” Players can navigate through different episodes, each with its unique theme and challenges, creating a sense of progression and adventure. The game hosts special events and challenges, offering players unique opportunities to earn rewards and bonuses. These limited-time events often introduce new features, game mechanics, or themed levels, keeping the gaming experience fresh and exciting.Candy Crush Saga is considered a milestone in the history of mobile gaming, playing a significant role in popularizing the free-to-play model with optional in-app purchases. Its success has influenced the design and monetization strategies of many subsequent best-selling iPhone games.
Clash of Clans
Genre: PVP strategy
Release year: August 2012
Sales: $471 million
Clash of Clans, developed by Supercell, has maintained its status as one of the most popular mobile games since its release. It continues to have a dedicated player base, showcasing the longevity and enduring appeal of the game. The game combines strategic base-building and real-time strategy elements. Players build and upgrade their villages, train armies, and engage in strategic battles against other players to earn resources and trophies. Clash of Clans has a vibrant competitive scene with organized tournaments, leagues, and championships. Professional players and clans compete at the highest levels, contributing to the game’s status as a competitive eSports title. Supercell engages the Clash of Clans community through special events, challenges, and seasonal themes. These events often come with exclusive rewards, encouraging players to log in regularly and participate in the festivities.
Genre: Multiplayer online platform
Release year: September 2006
Sales: $2.2 billion
Roblox is a one-of-a-kind gaming experience, unlocking the doors to a virtual universe where you have the freedom to be and play as you wish. Featuring an expansive library of user-created games spanning various genres, Roblox offers endless possibilities. Customize your avatar, connect with friends, and stay engaged with in-game chat, private, and group messages. Immerse yourself in the diverse and ever-expanding world of Roblox. Recognizing the importance of a safe gaming environment, Roblox implements robust safety measures. The platform employs a content moderation system to filter inappropriate content, ensuring a secure space for its younger player base. The developer community on Roblox is highly active and collaborative. Developers share resources, tutorials, and scripts, fostering a supportive environment that encourages learning and creativity. The platform’s Developer Exchange (DevEx) program allows developers to exchange Robux for real currency.
Genre: Endless runner
Release year: May 2012
Sales: $155 million
The endless runner, among the initial gaming sub-genres to excel on mobile, seamlessly blends the touchscreen’s simplicity with low-intensity, repetitive gameplay. Early successes like Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride resonated widely, capturing a mass audience. A year later, Subway Surfers emerged, providing a similar gameplay experience. This title achieved significant milestones, becoming the first mobile game to hit one billion downloads on Google Play and the inaugural game to amass four billion downloads collectively across the Google Play and Apple App Store platforms. Subway Surfers stands as a trailblazer in the mobile gaming landscape and one of the most popular iOS games of all time.
Genre: Battle Royale
Release year: March 2018
Sales: $1.1 billion
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the battle royale sensation, has made a significant impact on the gaming industry since its release. PUBG Mobile quickly became a global sensation upon its release. It reached a massive player base worldwide, contributing to the popularization of the battle royale genre on mobile platforms. One of the highest grossing mobile games, it has a thriving esports scene. The game hosts various tournaments and leagues globally, attracting professional players and teams. The PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) and PUBG Mobile World League (PMWL) are among the prestigious events in the competitive circuit. PUBG Mobile adapts its gameplay to suit the preferences of mobile gamers. The mobile version incorporates touch controls, a streamlined user interface, and mobile-friendly features while retaining the core elements of the PUBG experience.
Genre: Action role-playing
Release year: September 2020
Sales: $1.5 billion
Genshin Impact, an action role-playing game, unfolds in a fantasy open-world with four interchangeable characters. Players can enhance characters’ abilities for battles, and additional characters can be acquired through gameplay or purchase. Offering cross-platform play on mobile, PC, and PlayStation, the game features a co-op mode for up to four players. With its roots in the Legend of Zelda, development began in 2017 with a hefty $100 million budget. The aim was to blend anime elements with real-world cultural inspirations, each in-game region representing a different part of the world. The game generated significant anticipation, amassing over 10 million registrations before its release. Within its first week, it was downloaded over 23 million times and surpassed $400 million in earnings within four months, solidifying Genshin Impact as a global gaming phenomenon.
Genre: Match-3 puzzle
Release year: August 2016
Sales: $429 million
Founded in 2004 by brothers Dmitry and Igor Bukhman in Vologda, Russia, Playrix embarked on its journey with three computer games and 30 screensavers, eventually securing funds for a second computer. Centered around restoring a B&B’s garden through puzzles, earnings, and hidden object quests, Gardenscapes gained popularity. Its sequel, Gardenscapes 2, followed suit in April 2013. In 2016, Playrix took the plunge into mobile gaming, introducing a version that intertwined a city-building narrative with match-3 gameplay. This mobile adaptation was a resounding success, amassing over a million downloads on its App Store debut and earning the title of Facebook’s Overall Game of the Year for 2016. Playrix’s journey from humble beginnings to global recognition showcases its prowess in creating engaging and celebrated gaming experiences.
Unveiling the Tapestry of Highest-Grossing Mobile Games
The top grossing iPhone games showcase not only the technical prowess of developers but also the ability to capture the hearts and minds of millions of players globally. Whether it’s the addictive simplicity of Candy Crush Saga or the strategic depth of Clash Royale, these games have become cultural phenomena, shaping the way we play and interact in the digital realm. As we explore these mobile gaming realms, it’s clear that the landscape is not only about revenue figures but also the communities, collaborations, and innovations that define it. The mobile gaming industry continues to push boundaries, bringing together players from all walks of life in virtual worlds where creativity knows no bounds.
In conclusion, the world of mobile gaming is a vibrant tapestry woven by the highest-grossing mobile games and the most popular iOS games. As technology advances, game developers push boundaries, and players continue to seek new adventures, the journey through these digital realms promises to remain an exciting and ever-expanding odyssey.
What factors contribute to a game being among the highest-grossing mobile games?
The highest-grossing mobile games often owe their success to a combination of factors, including engaging gameplay, a loyal player base, effective monetization strategies (such as in-app purchases or advertisements), regular content updates, and sometimes, strategic collaborations with other franchises or brands.
How are the rankings of best-selling iPhone games determined?
The rankings of best-selling iPhone games are typically determined by the revenue generated from in-app purchases, subscriptions, and other monetization methods. App Store platforms regularly update and publish lists of the top-grossing games based on their financial performance over specific time periods, offering insights into the games that resonate most with users.
Are collaborations and crossovers common in the world of mobile gaming, and how do they impact a game’s success?
Yes, collaborations and crossovers are increasingly common in the mobile gaming industry. Games like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, and Roblox often collaborate with other franchises, movies, or brands to introduce themed content and events. These collaborations can significantly impact a game’s success by attracting new players, increasing engagement, and creating unique, memorable experiences that resonate with a broader audience.