Emerging Top Grossing Apps: Horses, Dragons, Comics and Dark Tales

Once again, the top grossing apps chart is dominated by many familiar, free-to-play faces. While older games held onto their positions with help from big content updates, two new games from Natural Motion and Big Fish Games also cracked the top 50. On the non-gaming front, comics and news performed well on the iPad.

New Titles Within the Top Grossing iPhone Apps List

DragonVale – Last week’s #2 app, DragonVale has risen to claim the #1 spot on the top grossing chart less than a month after its release, helped by frequent updates and a feature on Free App A Day. An animal collecting game with social elements, DragonVale is free to play, and supported by in-app purchases. In the game, players raise and care for an ever-expanding menagerie of dragons and impress other players by upgrading their dragon habitats with attractions and decorations. Players can also trade gifts through GameCentre and Facebook. DragonVale is the latest hit from Colorado based Backflip Studios who were in the news in March when their game Paper Toss crossed the 50 million total downloads mark.

Smurfs’ Village (Update) – The juggernaut of the top grossing apps list, Capcom’s free to play game Smurfs’ Village is still commanding the charts from the #2 position. A September 13th update added new Smurfs, an optional day and night feature, more decorative items and completely overhauled the potion mixing game. Capcom Mobile’s Beeline Interactive unit previously made the news when they introduced timed limits on Smurfberry purchases. In the latest version of the game, players can choose to disable in-app content purchases entirely.

Trade Nations (Update) – Older game Trade Nations is the #23 game, appearing again on top grossing charts thanks to a massive content update on September 15th that added new daily and weekly rewards, schoolhouses, Game Center achievements and a raised level cap, among other things. Trade Nations is a free to play game where players can create an manage their own nations, and  then trade the goods they produce in a social marketplace driven by supply and demand. Trade Nations was developed by Z2Live and Bight Games. In March, Z2Live revealed that on average, Trade Nations is played almost 1.7 million times a day.

My Horse – The only new app on the top grossing charts this week is My Horse, making its debut in the #29 spot (#17 on the iPad charts). My Horse is a simulation game that lets players care for their own virtual horse and train it to compete in show jumping events. Players can also recruit their friends to help them look after their virtual ponies and share pictures of their horses. My Horse uses the Morpheme animation engine and impressive graphics to bring the horses to life; every horse moves uniquely, and players can tell the mood of their horse by watching its ears. The free to play title is supported by in-app purchases and was developed for Natural Motion Games by San Francisco based studio Munkyfun.

Words With Friends (Update) – Another game that updated on September 15th was Zynga’s popular game Words With Friends, currently the #34 top grossing app. At $1.99, Words With Friends is also the only paid app in our iPhone roundup. Of the top 50 highest grossing iPhone titles, 45 of them are games, but free games outnumber paid by 2 to 1, an interesting statistic that reflects the growth (and profitability) of the in-app purchase model. The game has been updated to refine the app’s push notifications and give players the ability to monitor other With Friends games while in the app. Words With Friends was originally developed by Newtoy, which were later acquired by Zynga for $53 million.