Game over for Gameboy: Candy Crush Saga named most popular app on the planet as mobile game sales outstrip handheld consoles for first time

Temple Run 2, Snapchat, BBC iPlayer and WhatsApp messenger among the most popular apps in the UK

Oscar Williams-Grut
Friday 31 January 2014 09:50 GMT

The era of the Gameboy looks to have officially come to an end as new data reveals spending on smartphone games overtook the handheld console market for the first time last year.

San Francisco-based analytics company App Annie found global spending on games in Apple and Google’s app stores surpassed the amount spent on games for devices such as the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS for the first time in early 2013.

By the end of last year the amount spent on mobile games apps was roughly three times the size of the handheld gaming market.

London-based games developer King was behind the most popular smartphone game in the world last year, Candy Crush Saga. King is thought to earn as much as $900,000 a day from the app and the company is planning to float on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York later this year.

App Annie’s Marcos Sanchez said: "Watching the Candy Crush phenomenon internationally was very exciting. They've set the bar high for not only the UK, but the world when it comes to building an app that is both fun and profitable."

Brits were the third biggest spenders on iPhone and iPad apps in 2013, behind Japan and the US, while the UK ranked fifth for spending in the Google Play store. Temple Run 2, Snapchat, BBC iPlayer and WhatsApp messenger were among the most popular apps in the UK.

The findings come just weeks after Japanese games maker Nintendo warned it was set to make a loss of £200m this year.

The Super Mario and Donkey Kong creator has being damaged by the rise of smartphone gaming, with consumers opting for mobile games over purpose built handheld devices, an area in which it has traditionally been dominant.

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