How did Apex Legends top the charts in Japan? | Pocket

This article is part of an ongoing series of data-driven articles from and (formerly App Annie) highlighting trends in the global mobile gaming sector using’s Game IQ analysis.

While the mobile incarnation of Apex Legends was a worldwide success, the game’s success in the notoriously challenging Japanese market was outstanding, staying in the top 10 games by download for 54 straight days. used its gaming intelligence suite to break down how Apex Legends smashed the market.

Japan is one of the world’s largest and most lucrative markets for video games of all types. While the country is the 11th largest in the world by population, it was the 3rd largest in the first half (H1) of 2022 with consumer spending in excess of US$6.7 billion mobile game market in the world.

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Global gaming hub

Japan is also a global powerhouse when it comes to game development, with many of the world’s most popular titles emerging from development studios across the country. This can lead to charts being filled with domestic titles – which can increase the difficulty of success for foreign-developed titles.

So how did Apex Legends achieve chart success? The platform provides insights into consumers and helps them develop a localized strategy based on more informed decision making.

The game includes several key features that work very well in the Japanese market, including:

A focus on strong characters and intellectual property (IP)

Japanese players respond favorably to hero/character based content. To put this in context, Apex Legends surpassed Disney as the top downloaded IP by total app downloads in Q2 2022 across iOS and Google Play.

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Marketing with a local flair

EA focused heavily on localized advertising for user acquisition, making sure to target the most popular platforms. In the case of Apex Legends, EA’s share of voice increased from 3.3% to 7.4% on YouTube three weeks after release and from 0.33% to 3.6% on Twitter.

EA also localized its ad creation, choosing a distinct anime style with cell shading that differs from the in-game graphics.

Offline, the company has partnered with the Koshigaya Rice Paddy Art Executive Committee in Koshigaya City, Japan to sponsor the creation of Bloodhound rice paddy art in a field visible to commuters on a busy train line. Spectators could scan it to win prizes.

Understand player mood

Apex Legends did very well in player ratings.’s Ratings Over Time feature, which shows historical ratings for an app, shows that more than 80% of reviewers in Japan gave it a 5-star rating for iPhone, compared to 72% for PUBG Mobile and 62% for Knives Out.

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It’s worth noting that subscribers can dig deeper and analyze reviews by “topics” like “performance and bugs,” “design,” etc. to prioritize pain points that players are finding in competing games.

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DATA.AI’s Q2 2022 Mobile Market Pulse Top Apps and Games provides even more insight into the global mobile markets and the performance of the leading apps and games in key regions worldwide. The report is available free of charge and can be downloaded here.

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If you enjoy’s insights, you can listen to the company’s new Game Changers podcast, which takes a deep dive into various aspects of the global mobile games market.

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