The Mobile 2D Game Engine Popularity Index – January 2014

On February 6, 2014, in idevblogaday, by Steffen Itterheim

This is an update to the Mobile Game Engine Popularity Index I published 2.5 months ago.

Game Engine Popularity on

stackoverflow tag popularity

stackoverflow tag popularity

Since November’s chart I made sure the tags I’m most interested in (cocos2d-iphone, cocos2d-x, sprite-kit) were properly applied to all questions.

Furthermore I update at least the past 6 months for each tag, which caused the graph to change noticeably. This may be due to policing the site, where users remove tags or retag questions. The net result is that there are now recent months with fewer questions for some engines compared to November’s chart. In particular this flattened the up-down curve of cocos2d-iphone.

Strongly trending upwards are Unity3D and libgdx while cocos2d-iphone’s downward trend continues. Though there are signs and developments like SpriteBuilder that make it seem likely for cocos2d-iphone v3.x to bounce back. Cocos2d-x remains on its slow upwards trend, same as with Sprite Kit.

Game Engine Popularity by Google Trends

I skipped this step this time. Not only did I lose all the embed codes and thus the graphs for November, this month Google Trends wouldn’t produce really usable results. For example all graphs drop to zero at the end, and searching for “cocos2d-iphone tutorial” revealed no results.

The graph below includes the general term “cocos2d tutorial” (blue line) with “cocos2d-x tutorial” (red line) separately. You can subtract the cocos2d-x line from the general cocos2d line which should about produce the graph for cocos2d-iphone. Sprite Kit (yellow line), libgdx (green line) and Corona SDK (purple line) complement the graph.

I did not include Unity here because it far exceeds the trendlines for the other engines, essentially making the trendlines in the chart below flat lines near the bottom. Yup, Unity is that popular. Doesn’t mean it’s the right engine for everyone, quite the contrary.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 15.12.41

User Polls

Also in November I created this poll, which now has over 1000 contributions. Click the image to take the poll:

The result is still a pretty clear vote for Sprite Kit. However what the actual numbers aren’t showing is that cocos2d-iphone has been slightly gaining popularity since I last published the poll’s results: Sprite Kit lost about 1.5% while cocos2d-iphone has gained nearly 2%.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 14.31.31

Sprite Kit “Most Wanted Features”

Regarding Sprite Kit I also created a poll to find out what developer’s “most wanted features” are. Click the image to take the poll:

Tilemaps and a 2D Design Tool are the most wanted features. Regarding the latter: SpriteBuilder will eventually support Sprite Kit. I keep updating a list of Sprite Kit design tools on stackoverflow, noting whether they are available or in development.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 14.32.19

Final note: as several users pointed out, cocos2d-x is very popular in Asia. This is hardly reflected by measuring trends on english sites like For what it’s worth this popularity index is one for the western hemisphere, with a strong focus on english speaking countries.

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