Emerging Top-Grossing Apps: Zynga, Big Fish Games and The Magic of Reality

The week the top grossing charts saw a little movement at the top, with Zynga Poker reclaiming the #1 spot on the iPhone, and new games from Disney Interactive and EA Mobile making solid debuts. On the iPad, the biggest new debut was Big Fish Game’s latest point-and-click style adventure Stray Souls, but other than that, reading ruled, with textbooks, newspapers and the new book by Richard Dawkins all performing well.

New Titles Within the Top Grossing iPhone Apps List

(Update) Zynga Poker – After spending the last few weeks circling the top spot, the #1 grossing app this week is Zynga Poker, a spot its held before. The game is connected to the immensely popular Facebook version (on September 12th, @ZyngaPoker announced it had accumulated over 50,000,000 fans), allowing players can choose connect via their Facebook accounts and play with their friends, or just go straight from the lobby to tournaments and tables. The game itself is free and monetized through the purchase of in-game chips. Zynga updated the app on September 20th to allow players to purchase chips without leaving the table.

Where’s My Water – Disney Interactive’s brand new water-based puzzle game Where’s My Water is the #4 top grossing app after a strong debut that saw it claim the #1 spot on the paid charts yesterday. The game tasks players to assist sewer alligator Swampy, who needs jets of water moved through a sewer stuffed with obstacles like mud, traps, blocks and algae so he can take a bath. The game comes with 80 levels of puzzles and also has hidden bonus levels for players to find. Where’s My Water was released on September 22nd and costs $0.99.

(Update) Hipstamatic – The ultra-retro styled camera app has climbed up the top grossing charts again thanks to a September 22nd update that added a new HipstaPak (aka, a new lens, film and case), currently holding the #6 spot. Developed by small San Francisco based studio Synthetic Corp, Hipstamatic costs $1.99 and allows users to take photos with their iPhones that ape the look of the cheaply made plastic toy cameras of the 70s and 80s. Users can also share their photos via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr, enter into monthly photo contests, and even order real prints of their digital masterpieces. Extra camera accessories can be purchased for $0.99 each.

The Sims Medieval –  After appearing on yesterday’s top paid chart, it’s no surprise to see EA Mobile’s latest hit The Sims Medieval appear on the top grossing chart as well. The #21 ranked app, The Sims Medieval allows players to embark on quests, master magic spells, join parties as they adventure across the realm or just role-play as a lord of a medieval manor. The game costs $4.99 and was released on September 22nd.

(Update) CityVille Hometown – One of four Zynga titles within the top 50 this week, CityVille Hometown is the #22 app, holding steadily on the charts despite being a stand-alone game. While not connected to Facebook, players can find and visit the towns of their Facebook friends, and after a September 10th update, players can also make friends through the Community Neighbors system which doesn’t require Facebook. CityVille Hometown is free, and monetizes through the purchases of virtual currency, which can be exchanged for in-game money and premium items.

New Titles Within the Top Grossing iPad Apps List

Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story – Collector’s Edition HD – The #8 app on the iPad top  grossing charts is the latest game from Big Fish Games, Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story. In the game, players must solve puzzles, play mini-games and find clues to help a wife find her missing husband and uncover a terrible secret connected to the town’s orphanage. The game is free, but the full version of the game must be unlocked through a $6.99 in-app purchase. The Collector’s Edition (including a bonus prequel chapter) can be purchased for $9.99 outright or $2.99 if the player has already unlocked the game.

New York Post – The popular daily newspaper The New York Post appears in the charts this week, claiming the #16 spot. The $1.99 app (which comes with a free 1 month subscription) gives iPad readers access to the most popular sections of the paper – News, Page Six, Opinion, Business and Sports. Users can share stories through Facebook, Twitter and email, save issues and see extra photos not included in the print edition. After the initial free trial, users can choose to subscribe for a month ($6.99), six months ($39.99) or one year ($79.99).

The Magic of Reality – The #23 app is the electronic adaptation of The Magic of Reality, the not-yet-released book from noted scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins. While the hardcover edition will be released on October 4th in the US and Canada, eager readers can download the interactive iPad version now for $13.99. Featuring illustrations from artist Dave McKean, extra video and audio from the author, animations and interactive elements, the book was designed for young adults and explains basic mysteries of the universe such as how the sun was formed, how DNA and genes work and why gravity does what it does. The app was developed for publisher Random House by UK creative and advertising agency Somthin’ Else.

Textbooks – Kno’s Textbooks app is proving to be profitable, sitting at #29 on the top grossing chart. Launched in June, the free app allows students to download digital copies over their textbooks at a discount of 30 to 50% from the listed price. The app offers a library of 100,000 books and purchasers can still do things like highlight passages and add notes, and Textbooks also includes a quiz function and lets students add photos and videos to their notes. Kno was founded in 2009 and is based in Santa Clara California.

(Update) Drawn: The Painted Tower HD (Full) – The second Big Fish Games title in the top 50 of the iPad charts is older game Drawn: The Painted Tower. Originally released in January (read our review here), the adventure game is currently the #44 app, thanks to a 30% off sale that’s dropped the price to $3.99. As with other Big Fish Games titles, Drawn: The Painted tower is an adventure game where players must navigate the game by solving puzzles and finding clues. While Big Fish Games has seen great success in this genre, the company has also branched out, releasing the arcade style time management game Hospital Haste in June.