iPhone games hit the big-time & find new success with their own TV commercials

With mobile games now an established part of the mainstream, publishers have begun promoting their titles with high-profile television commercials, resulting in measurable gains among the number of active iPhone players.

TV ads are becoming an increasingly common way for smartphone game publishers to promote their titles, and mobile analytics firm App Annie this week highlighted the success those commercials have brought to companies like King, Supercell, and Big Fish Games. Those publishers specialize in free-to-play titles for platforms such as Apple’s iPhone, which are free to download but allow gamers to access more content or move through the game more quickly through paid upgrades.

Apple has used its considerable budget to promote iPhone and iPad applications in the past, and other companies like Microsoft have also highlighted titles such as “Angry Birds Star Wars” to help promote their own products. But the currently airing commercials from publishers represent a new direction for upstart free-to-play game makers on iOS, Android and other mobile platforms.

Commercials for major titles such as “Clash of Clans” began airing as recently as late 2013, and similar advertisements for mobile games have been common in markets such as Japan. But the practice is now spreading in a big way to the Western world, where titles such as “Big Fish Casino” were promoted on U.S. television in the month of February.

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