According to a recent research report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), more than 150 million Americans play video games and approximately 42 percent of Americans play video games at least three hours per week. PwC forecasts that by 2019, total global video games revenue will reach $93.18 billion USD and the global social/casual gaming market will reach $22.52 billion USD. With statistics like these, it's not surprising that Games is one of the most popular API categories on ProgrammableWeb.
There has been a lot of interesting gaming industry news recently involving APIs. Last September, a DMCA notice caused a number of Minecraft community projects to be shut down including Bukkit, CraftBukkit, Spigot, and Cauldron. Not long after the DMCA notice was issued, Minecraft developer Mojang was acquired by Microsoft for $2.5 billion.
Last month, 343 Industries announced that the company plans on releasing a public stats API for the Halo 5: Guardians video game recently released for Xbox One. Earlier this year, ArenaNet announced the addition of OAuth 2.0 support to the Guild Wars 2 API then replaced it two months later with an API Key system.
The APIs that made it to our top 10 Games APIs list provide a wide range of capabilities including (but not limited to) retrieving video game data, game monetization, video game streaming and recording, video game reviews, and video game modding. The APIs also scored well against a diverse set of criteria:
- Ease of Use
API popularity is determined using a variety of metrics including PW followers, GitHub activity, Twitter activity, and search engine popularity based on Google Trends.
EVE Online is one of the most popular science fiction massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). EVE Online has won quite a few awards and was included in the 2015 PC Gamer top 100 games of all time list (it ranks at #36). There is even a permanent Eve Online exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The exhibit is in the Applied Design installation at MOMA and features a 4K UltraHD video that demonstrates a "day in the universe" of Eve Online.
The EVE Online CREST and XML APIs provide programmatic access to characters, industries, markets, solar system, alliances and corporations, and other game data. The EVE Online developer site includes a resources page with links to EVE Online APIs, API documentation, client libraries, forums, and more. The API documentation for the EVE Online CREST RESTful API is in an easy-to-follow Wiki format. The API documentation for the Eve Online XML API has been moved to a nicely designed and comprehensive third-party developers documentation Web site.
Riot Games is the developer of League of Legends, a very popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game. According to the company Web site, there are approximately 27 million people playing League of Legends every day and 67 million people play the game every month. In July of this year, Riot Games shut down ranked play due to a game-breaking recall bug that was discovered after a PATCH was applied to the game. The recall bug issue did not impact the popularity of the game, as League of Legends was ranked #35 in the 2015 PC Gamer top 100 games of all time list.
The Riot Games API provides programmatic access to recent games, ranked statistics, runes, masteries, and other League of Legends game information. The Riot Games Developer site is nicely designed and well organized featuring an API status page, developer forums, interactive API documentation (Swagger), and more.
Battle.net is an online video game Web site that features a collection of games developed by Blizzard Entertainment including (but not limited to) the action role-playing video game (ARPG) Diablo III (D3), the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft (WoW), the military science fiction real-time strategy video game StarCraft II (SC2), and the online strategy card game Hearthstone. Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft were all included in the 2015 PC Gamer top 100 games of all time list; the games ranked #79, #29, and #31 respectively.
The company recently launched a redesigned developer site that features developer forums, OAuth and community APIs guides, and interactive API documentation (I/O Docs). At the time of this writing, the available Battle.net APIs include D3, WoW, SC2, Community APIs, and Game Data APIs. Blizzard recently announced in the Battle.net forums that a Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft API is coming soon.
Facebook Game Services
At the time of this writing, there are about 2,000+ Facebook games with some of the most popular being Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, Farm Heroes Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, and Words With Friends. While many Facebook users play games on smartphones and tablets, there are still some users that play Facebook games on their desktop computer. Earlier this year, Facebook started rolling out desktop video app ads to help increase game installs.
The Facebook Games Developer Center features a variety of services for game developers including (but not limited to) Achievements API, Scores API, App Notifications, Requests, Feed Gaming, and Facebook SDK for Unity. There is a lot of information available at the Facebook Games Developer Center such as games overview, API migration guide, tutorials, production and checklists, game monetization, and more.
Google Play Games Services
Launched in March 2012, Google Play features music tracks, e-books, games, movies, newsstand, and other applications for Android devices. In March of this year, Google announced several new features for Android game developers including player analytics, AdMob native ads, AdMob in-app purchase ads, and the Nearby Connections second-screen API for Android TV. Last month, Google began rolling out a new, streamlined design of Google Play that organizes applications into two main sections; Apps and Games, and Entertainment.
The Google Developers Games site provides a variety of APIs, SDKs, and services including (but not limited to) game publishing API, Unity Plugin, Play Games Services (achievements, leaderboards, player stats, etc.), and Google AdMob. There is a lot of information provided on the Google Play Games Services site, however, it is well organized and easy to follow.