Zynga Poker wins big as UK’s top-grossing iPhone app in 2012

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Social game has been out since mid-2010, but still out-earned all its rivals according to Apple’s App Store chart

Social games publisher Zynga had a difficult 2012, but a bright spot is the news that one of its games was the highest grossing iPhone game for the year on the UK and US App Stores.

Not a new game, though. Poker by Zynga was released in May 2010, but is sitting pretty in top spot in Apple’s Top Grossing iPhone games chart for 2012.

The chart was published today as part of Apple’s traditional end-of-year iTunes recap, which has been renamed from Rewind to simply Best of 2012 this year.

More than half the 99 iPhone apps listed in the Top Grossing chart are freemium games, with Kingdoms of Camelot and Bejeweled Blitz taking second and third places behind Poker by Zynga.

Fellow freemium games The Simpsons: Tapped Out (7), CSR Racing (9) and DragonVale (10) also make it into the top 10, alongside three social apps – Match.com (4), WhatsApp Messenger (5) and Badoo (8) – and navigation app TomTom UK & Ireland (6).

The highest grossing iPad app in the UK in 2012 was Apple’s own Pages word processor, followed by The Times, Kingdoms of Camelot, DragonVale, The Telegraph, The Guardian and Observer, QuickOffice Pro HD, Smurfs’ Village, Comics and The Sims FreePlay in the top 10.

Yes, three newspaper apps in the top 10, with The Sun (21), Daily Mail (25) and Sunday Times (38) also making it into the top half of that chart.

In terms of sheer downloads (rather than revenues), WhatsApp Messenger was the top paid app for iPhone in the UK, while Draw Something Free was the top free app. The most popular paid iPad app was Pages, while BBC iPlayer tops the free iPad apps chart.

Apple’s App Store editorial team have also chosen Editors’ Choice apps, choosing private rentals app Airbnb as their App of the Year, and another travel app, Hailo, as runner up. Rayman Jungle Run is Game of the Year, followed by Super Hexagon.

On iPad, productivity app Paper by FiftyThree is App of the Year, with cookery app Green Kitchen the runner up. Puzzle game The Room is iPad Game of the Year, followed by Eufloria HD.

Apple has also compiled themed recommendations of other recommended apps from 2012, which developers will be poring over to see if their own releases have been included, and if not, to gauge which developers and apps are currently favoured by the company.

Why is this news? Because the most lucrative day of the year for app developers is Christmas Day and the second most lucrative is Boxing Day – in both cases, because people have unwrapped new devices and are actively looking for apps to download.

In 2011, mobile analytics firm Flurry estimated that 242m iOS and Android apps were downloaded on 25 December that year, up 125% on the average daily volume earlier in the month.

Apple’s recommendations are likely to mean significant sales spikes for the paid apps chosen, a big boost for in-app purchases in the freemium ones, and increased traffic for those relying on advertising.

Google has yet to launch a similar end-of-year promotion on its Google Play store for Android, although it is also likely to be mulling its store-promotions strategy for the festive period.

With Apple’s list now public, attention on iOS will turn to a week of frenzied price-cutting and big-app releases leading up to 21 December, when Apple will freeze the App Store charts and stop putting new apps live until 28 December.

Apps and games riding high in the charts when they lock for Christmas can expect a bumper festive period.

The Best of 2012 charts are country-specific, so elsewhere in the world the rankings varied, and other apps were spotlighted by the App Store editors. For example, Poker by Zynga was still the top grossing iPhone app in the US, but DragonVale beat Pages to take top spot in the iPad rankings.








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Stuart Dredge

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