Sports games make up only a small fraction of top games on our traffic tracking service, AppData, and of those, the soccer (or football, if you live outside the United States) looks like it’s the only sports sub-category to break the top 40. As the English Premier League season winds down in Europe and the Major League Soccer season kicks off in North America, we check in with the five largest soccer games for any emerging trends.
FIFA Superstars at one point had 4.9 million monthly active users during the FIFA World Cup tournament in June 2010. The game declined steadily after that, but not dramatically, landing just below 3.1 million MAU in early March. Looks like its on the rise again, however, increasing by 13% in the last 25 days. The daily active user count tend to hover between 500,000 and 800,000; today it’s almost 650,000.
FIFA Superstars puts players in the manager’s role, choosing team members and “watching” games purely from a statistics and play-by-play point of view. The social element comes from challenging friends to one-versus-one matches and a gifting system. Like all of EA’s games developed by Playfish, FIFA Superstars is very polished and has the benefit of real life licensed players and leagues through FIFA’s partnership with EA.
Bola also enjoyed a massive spike in MAU during FIFA World Cup 2010, peaking at an all time high of 4.6 million in early July of that year. It suffered a steeper decline that FIFA Superstars after that, dropping almost 54% to around 2.2 million as of today. The DAU suffered a similar decline from a little over 700,000 at peak to just under 200,000 today.
Bola actually puts players in the role of both manager and team members, having them select sponsors and players and then play out a player versus AI match with 3D character sprites. While not as sophisticated in graphics or art, Bola is free from any restrictions an official license might impose and can appeal to a whimsical type of player — like the kind who wants the new Tron film as a sponsor.
Top Eleven Football Manager launched just before FIFA World Cup in May 2010, but didn’t enjoy a major spike in users. Rather, the game grew steadily over time, just reaching about 2 million MAU as of today. The DAU graph reflects the same steady climb to today’s all time high of 477,000.
Top Eleven plays like Bola, using both the manager style of play and the playable simulated games, but it looks like FIFA Superstars because it focuses so heavily on charts and tournament brackets. Players can buy or trade squad members with friends as well as engage them in versus matches.
Footy launched around the same time as Top Eleven last year, but didn’t experience a growth spurt until late February and early March. Looks like it broke 900,000 MAU just this week, although that number slid back a bit today. The DAU growth overall shows the same pattern, although there was sharp spike to 97,000 earlier this month that may be the result of advertising. Today, the DAU clocks in at 40,000.
Footy is a soccer sim with no real management gameplay, although players are expected to build stadiums in addition to playing soccer games. What makes Footy unique among the top five soccer games is the cartoon art style and apparent appeal to a younger audience.
Footbo City is a Turkish game that launched late in 2010 and seemed to be growing steadily since the beginning of 2011. This month, however, the MAU and DAU are sliding with the former dropping 19% its present-day level. DAU had a steeper decline by 30% down to 57,000 today.
The game seems to combine a bit of the cartoony appeal of Footy! with the manager-and-player approach of Bola.
It was surprising to see that the FIFA World Cup tournament didn’t guarantee a player spike for all soccer games, regardless of whether they were manager simulations or virtual soccer games. It wasn’t so surprising to find that regardless of game type, soccer games seem to be played mostly by males under the age of 25. We also weren’t surprised to see from what demographic information we were able to collect from Bola and Top Eleven that a significant percentage of the players come from Turkey, Indonesia, Italy and Mexico. They don’t call it “World Cup” because soccer isn’t played everywhere, right?
If you want to follow along with these games as the English Premier League season closes and on into the future when we start gearing up for FIFA World Cup 2014, sign up for AppData Pro.