UPDATED BY
Matthew Urwin | Jun 03, 2022

Like a hero in an open-world game environment, mobile gaming seems forever at a crossroads.

On one hand, business keeps booming. Pokemon Go, HQ Trivia, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, Fortnite for mobile — the list of genuine cultural phenomena, even if only for a time, that have sprung forth from Google Play for Android and Apple’s App Store grows unabated. And global mobile gaming revenue is on pace to reach $200 billion in 2023, according to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report.

Top Mobile Game Companies to Know

  • EA Mobile
  • GLU Mobile
  • Jam City
  • Machine Zone
  • Niantic
  • Nintendo
  • Roblox
  • Zynga
  • Ubisoft
  • Activision Blizzard

On the other hand, some gamers and developers have lamented for years the industry’s evolution toward so-called “freemium” — games that are free to download and play, but littered with rhythm-killing ads and prompts for in-app purchases, or microtransactions, sometimes cynically built into the gameplay architecture via delays and timers — unless, of course, you pay up.

That divide is even more apparent now, with both Google and Apple offering monthly subscription platforms in which in-app purchases are either disabled or nonexistent. Whether or not this Netflixization of mobile gaming sticks is anyone’s guess. What’s certain is that, between AAA dynamos and innovative indies, games designed for your phone or tablet are bigger than ever.

Here are 29 mobile game companies you should know.

Related Reading 21 Indie Game Developers You Should Know

 

Top Mobile Game Companies

Founded: 1982

Location: Redwood City, California

Triple-A powerhouse Electronic Arts is famous for its lucrative line of sports games, developed by the studio’s EA Sports division, plus eternal classics like The Sims and Need for Speed. Studio-within-a-studio EA Mobile downsizes those titles for your pocket while also developing standalone offerings for iOS and Android. In addition, its home-to-mobile innovator PopCap Games, which unleashed the tile-match megahit Bejeweled series and the much-loved Plants Vs. Zombies.

 

Founded: 1986 

Location: San Francisco, California 

Best known for its signature franchises such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, Ubisoft continues to leave its mark in all areas of the gaming industry, including the mobile format. Gamers can now look forward to playing titles like Just Dance Now, Brawlhalla and Assassin’s Creed Rebellion on their phones or tablets.

 

Founded: 2001 

Location: San Francisco, California

This long-running, high-profile studio has an impossibly varied gameography, with sporting simulation series like Deer Hunter on one end and a laudably self-aware blockbuster Kim Kardashian vehicle on the other. Electronic Arts’ acquisition of the company hasn’t appeared to slow Glu Mobile down, as the studio continues to deliver variety with Sorcerer’s Arena, Diner Dash Adventures and MLB Tap Sports Baseball.

 

Founded: 2008 

Location: Santa Monica, California 

Among the list of gaming giants, Activision Blizzard may boast one of the most decorated portfolios. Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush highlight a potent lineup. Plus, the company recently released Warcraft Arclight Rumble, reinforcing its presence within the ever-growing mobile gaming sphere.

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Founded: 2009

Location: Culver City, California

Even before teaming up with Disney, Jam City had already spun Hollywood IP into mobile-gaming gold, with a popular Family Guy franchise and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which reportedly cleared $150 million in revenue. Riding these waves of success, Jam City has now raised over $350 million in funding and is set to be a major contributor to the mobile gaming landscape for years to come.

 

Founded: 1987

Location: Culver City, California 

The media empire of Sony is set to make more waves as Sony Pictures Entertainment eyes the mobile gaming market. Wheel of Fortune, Men in Black, Jeopardy! and Hotel Transylvania are a few names included in Sony’s mobile gaming selection. The company has intellectual property rights on a wealth of titles, too, meaning it could rapidly increase its mobile game offering in the near future.

 

Founded: 2011

Location: San Francisco, California

With apologies to prescient sci-fi scribe Vernor Vinge, no one has done more to popularize augmented reality than Niantic, the mobile developers behind 2016’s biggest cultural sensation/thinkpiece generator Pokemon Go — not to mention PG’s spiritual and technological forerunner, Ingress, and its follow-up Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Even years after its debut, PG continues to attract several million active users. Likewise, Wizards also inspires mass meetups and hunts, further synonymizing the developer’s name with get-outside geolocation gaming.

 

Founded: 1980

Location: Redmond, Washington

After the apocalypse, only cockroaches and Mario will remain. The flagship character of the most famous video gaming company is surviving and thriving nearly four decades after the plumber formerly known as Jumpman debuted. As of this writing, Nintendo’s selection is making a splash within the mobile gaming world. Mario Kart Tour, in particular, remains a top hit for Android and iPhone users, carrying on the Nintendo lineage.

 

Founded: 1975

Location: Redmond, Washington 

Laptops and tablets may come to mind when people think of the Microsoft brand, but the company is quietly becoming a force in mobile gaming. Customers already enjoy Microsoft mobile versions of Sudoku, Solitaire and Mahjong. With the looming acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft could give this selection another dimension as it looks to establish itself within the gaming industry. 

 

Founded: 2009

Location: San Francisco, California

Pocket Gems came into its own in 2012, three years after its founding, by steering hard into a narratively and visually lavish new lane. Its subsequent breakout titles Episode and War Dragons — built with proprietary tech, dubbed Mantis Engine, that enables 3D graphics and real-time, synchronous multiplayer functionality — were enough to attract the attention from the world’s largest gaming company, China-based Tencent. It has since followed up with the robot fighter saga Wild Beyond.

 

Founded: 1997

Location: Fully Remote 

Established in Seoul, South Korea, NCSOFT has expanded its workforce to serve a global audience. The digital entertainment company has developed a reputation through franchises like Lineage, Guild Wars and Blade & Soul. With its latest release Lineage W being one of the highest revenue-generators on Google Play, NCSOFT continues to cement itself as a top seller within mobile gaming marketplaces.  

 

Founded: 2008

Location: Palo Alto, California

This 2008 Y Combinator alum and purveyor of massively multiplayer online mobile games made its name on Game of War: Fire Age and Mobile Strike, two blockbusters that have since receded in gaming consciousness and app store rankings. But after some high-profile pitch-person missteps (including one Super Bowl ad with Kate Upton and one with Arnold Schwarzenegger) and extra-gaming tangents (IoT, blockchain cryptocurrency), MZ seemed to regain some footing with 2017’s Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire and the recent WWI 3D strategy offering World War Rising. As one of AppLovin’s newest partners, MZ’s presence in mobile gaming — and the larger gaming industry — may only grow stronger with time.

 

Founded: 1923 

Location: Burbank, California 

It’s impossible to explore the gaming landscape without coming across titles produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment. While games like Batman: Arkham and Mortal Kombat have stolen the spotlight, the company has plenty of offerings to reach wider audiences. Those looking to interact with popular characters on the go can do so through DC Batman, Wizarding World, Teeny Titans and other mobile games.

 

Founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, California

In an intriguing rewrite of the standard gaming-success script, N3TWORK followed up its name-making hit (the RPG-meets-tile-matcher Legendary: Game of Heroes) not with another title, but with a brand-new business component. The studio took what it learned about getting users onboard to launch its Scale Platform, which shares proven app-based production, marketing and tracking methods with third parties that sign on.

 

Founded: 2004 

Location: San Mateo, California

One of the fastest-surging companies in mobile gaming publishes and develops no titles. It’s not even new. Roblox — which provides a huge, social-network-like platform where developers upload kids’ games and users play them — launched more than a decade ago, but it has only recently reached stratospheric heights.

 

Founded: 2011

Location: Culver City, California

The powerhouse behind high-grossing, casual freemium games like Yahtzee with Buddies and Wheel of Fortune Free Play has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, punctuated with the $100 million performance of Star Trek: Fleet Command in 2019. Scopely is now within striking distance of $1 billion in total funding, and the company continues to trend upward with an ever-expanding international presence.

 

Founded: 1991 

Location: Cary, North Carolina 

Because of its online store and 3D creation tool Unreal Engine, Epic Games has become known for games that feature stunning visuals and immersive experiences. Those who can’t get enough of Fortnite can access the mobile version through an Android phone. In addition, the Epic Games online store showcases legendary franchises, including Red Dead Redemption, Far Cry and Evil Dead.

 

Founded: 2007

Location: San Francisco, California

Zynga established its social gaming empire long ago with Facebook 1.0 hits like FarmVille and Zynga Poker. It has since leveled up with a jaw-dropping 33 acquisitions, including erstwhile sensations OMGPOP (the minds behind Draw Something) and Newtoy (Words with Friends). Its most recent pickups were Finnish upstart Small Giant Games (Empires & Puzzles) and Istanbul-based Gram Games (1010!). Meanwhile, Game of Thrones Slots Casino and Zynga Poker - Texas Hold’em land in the top 20 App Store apps list.

 

Founded: 2006 

Location: Los Angeles, California 

Ever since its release of League of Legends in 2009, Riot Games has remained a key player within the gaming scene. Action-packed additions such as Legends of Runeterra and Valorant have reinforced the company’s prowess as a gaming power. To stay level with a changing industry, Riot Games has also rebranded its League+ service as Riot Mobile to keep its expanding options easily accessible for users.

 

Founded: 2016

Location: Los Angeles, California

Just as its parent company, Annapurna Pictures, has established a rep for producing stylish, critically lauded films, its game-publisher subsidiary has quickly become a hub for acclaimed, visually inventive indie games, including several that are also available on mobile. Notables include the stunning, narrative-driven mobile-only Florence, developed by Monument Valley designer Ken Wong; Jason Roberts’ gorgeous solo effort Gorogoa, which mimics hand-painted visual art; and 2018 SXSW Mobile Game of the Year Donut County.

 

Founded: 2012

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

Releases by this rising puzzler boutique include a word-jumble game that riffs on the much-memed idea that our brains can read misspelled words as long as the first and last letters are crrocet (see?) and — its most downloaded offering — a typically visually sophisticated take on the ball-drop game (think Plinko but with cute UI). It’s also been granted Apple’s imprimatur: The handsomely animated Patterned puzzle, available through Arcade, was designed alongside more than a dozen designers from around the globe.

 

Founded: 2012 

Location: Palo Alto, California 

AppLovin is helping shape the gaming industry with its marketing software and strategic partnerships, which include Athena Studio, Clipwire Games and Forever Nine. Because of its wide-ranging connections, AppLovin has played a critical role in the development of Holdem or Foldem, Word Buddies, Color Island and other mobile games.

 

Founded: 2012

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Midwestern indie founded and led by three brothers, Butterscotch Shenanigans traffics in eye-catching color and narrative quirk. Thin characters that shoot animals out of monocles and evil sea monsters named Pete add unique flavors to the company’s game collection. With mobile options like Roid Rage and Levelhead, Butterscotch Shenanigans seems to be living up to its name.

 

Founded: 2003

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Before graduating to the console world (Below for Xbox One, the much-loved Super Time Force), Capybara — sometimes stylized as just Capy — cut its teeth on mobile, most notably with the adventure hit Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. It honors its pocket roots with Grindstone, an Apple Arcade exclusive puzzler that’s racked up accolades as one of the platform’s best menu options.

 

Founded: 1993 

Location: New York, New York  

Grand Theft Auto launched Take-Two Interactive into the realm of gaming royalty, but the company has more plans in store for the future. Monster Legends, WWE SuperCard and Dragon City are solidifying Take-Two as a force within the mobile gaming niche. And with the acquisition of Zynga, Take-Two Interactive is poised to become a leader in the mobile games market.

 

Founded: 2011

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The picture of portfolio diversification as both developer and publisher (notably as a porter of games to Android), Noodlecake has created a carousel of popular golf games, including the Flappy Golf and Super Stickman Golf franchises and, most recently, Golf Blitz. It has also published several efforts from high-profile indies, including Zach Gage (Pocket-Run Pool, Really Bad Chess), Snowman (both Altos), Cyan (realMyst, Riven: The Sequel to Myst) and Rocketcat Games (Death Road to Canada, Super Quickhook). Its multi-million-dollar acquisition by China-based ZPlay in 2017 doesn’t seem to have muddied its mission.

 

Founded: 2016

Location: Los Angeles, California

Spearheaded by leading indie game developer Asher Vollmer, Sirvo is home to what’s hailed as one of the most elegantly designed, addictive puzzle games ever to go viral: Threes!. Since then, Vollmer — an alum of USC’s prestigious game-design school — has released an AR-driven design app that lets users move virtual furniture across real interiors and a name-your-own-price sim with throwback graphics for desktop play. Sirvo is now welcoming in its next chapter with the much-anticipated Guildings game leading the way.

 

Founded: 1999 

Location: New York, New York 

With classic games like The Oregon Trail already under its belt, Gameloft has a history of creating popular interactive games for users. This tradition may still have brighter days to look forward to, considering the organization’s expansion into mobile gaming. Asphalt 9: Legends, March of Empires and Dragon Mania Legends are available in the App Store and Google Play, extending Gameloft’s influence into gaming’s next frontier.

 

Founded: 2012

Location: Toronto, Ontario

This collab-happy indie pacesetter avoided the pitfalls of sequels with 2018’s Alto’s Odyssey, building upon the elegant storybook minimalism of 2015’s justly praised breakout, Alto’s Adventure. It followed up with the equally lush-looking (especially for a skateboarding game) Skate City, made in partnership with Norwegian studio Agens and available through Apple Arcade. Snowman continues to meet high expectations with its latest release Where Cards Fall.

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