January was quite an interesting month in mobile, with apps seeing much turbulence and games seeing the definitive return of hyper-casual titles.
We ended 2020 with a nice mix of games at the top, including new casual titles and incumbent classics, and started 2021 with much of the same variety but with slightly different apps.
Among Us! has slowed down its massive growth and cleared the way for other titles to take the crown in January. Hyper casual titles Project Makover and DOP 2: Delete One Part were the most downloaded games in January on the App Store and Google Play, respectively, with the latter being the overall winner as well with nearly 28M downloads, according to our estimates.
Call of Duty also made the list, on the App Store side, thanks to its release in China in late December. The title's modest 4.9M estimated downloads in the App Store, 2.3M came from China.
Overall, the top 10 most downloaded apps generated 233M downloads across the App Store and Google Play during the month. A small decline from December's total of 240M.
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Down with the Ship
One trend we've been watching closely is the rise of Among Us!, which was reminiscent of the golden days of titles like Angry Birds and others (even though the games themselves are different).
It looks like Among Us! isn't heading in that direction, however.
Among Us!'s rise was not an intentional marketing push. It went viral in August and caught on fairly quickly, and commanded the top of the charts in most countries for much of 2020. But... it's been on the decline since it peaked, and that feels a lot like a missed opportunity.
Where did InnerSloth go wrong? They rode the wave instead of taking control over it, which isn't necessarily a "mistake" but also isn't a positive. The game hasn't changed much, there were no big efforts to promote it beyond word of mouth, and it ultimately didn't become mom-friendly (aka. popular with non-gamers) enough so it "sticks" on its own.
None of those things are easy, especially when you consider this just happened, so I'm not faulting InnerSloth here, but I would love to see them try to harness what they've already accumulated to push for that now and not let the brand that's been built disappear.
I believe there's still time, but not much.
About the Data
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