amazing-antsIt’s even harder to make a dent in the App Store charts in 2013, particularly if you’re a freemium game. Amazing Ants and Noble Nutlings have at least made an encouraging start.

The former game was developed by Twyngo and published by Pocket Gems, and has notched up more than 1m installs in its first week. The latter game is the work of former-Rovio developers Boomlagoon, and has been installed more than 600k times since its release on 9 Jan.

“Pocket Gems was instrumental in helping us see the benefit of the freemium model,” Twyngo co-founder Unni Narayanan tells Inside Mobile Apps. “The reason the game is a success is that the game is of high quality and a rich experience, but it’s also broadly accessible to a lot of people because we’re doing the freemium model.”

And Boomlagoon? That company says that its 600k downloads are currently fuelling 300k daily active users and more than 2.5m sessions played so far. “We have been blown away by our game’s success so far,” says co-founder Tuomas Erikoinen.

The important caveat here is that downloads/installs are just a part of the story. Firstly because they don’t tell us how much money people are spending in these games.

And secondly, because it’s not that hard to buy 1m or more installs for  an iOS game these days, depending which marketing services you use. Seven-figure download stats can just be a sign that you’ve spent a lot of money on marketing, with no proof of a return on that investment.

That’s why Boomlagoon’s announcement makes a point of noting that the company “has not acquired players through any paid marketing campaigns” so far.

It remains to be seen how well both games make money over the longer term. At the time of writing, neither game is in the 200 Top Grossing iPhone Games chart in the US, while Amazing Ants is 176th in the corresponding iPad Top Grossing Games chart.