Apple and Google have both announced their best apps and games of the year for 2023, with AllTrails being named iPhone App of the Year by Apple and Imprint: Learn Visually winning as Google Play’s best app. Both platforms also agreed on their Game of the Year, with Honkai: Star Rail being chosen as the winner. Although these lists are designed to showcase the best new apps and games, they also provide insight into the status of the app marketplaces and what caught the attention of consumers in the past year. Interestingly, Apple focused on celebrating well-built and well-designed mobile companions rather than newly released apps or those leveraging the latest technologies, signaling a shift in its selection process from previous years.
Apple’s app of the year selections for 2023 were a departure from their previous choices, with a particular absence of AI apps, despite their significant impact on culture and technology. Additionally, Apple name no AI app among its Cultural Impact winners, choosing to highlight other apps that have made an impact on society. Google also took a unique approach to its best of apps by highlighting “multi-device” apps, allowing users to vote for their favorite apps, which led to ChatGPT and Monopoly Go! being selected as the User’s Choice App and Game of the Year. Furthermore, both platforms included honorable mentions for apps and games that didn’t win their respective categories, with notable names such as Amazon Prime Video, Spotify and LEGO included on the lists.
Despite the feuding between Apple and Meta, which has negatively impacted their relationship, Google didn’t shy away from highlighting Meta’s WhatsApp in its winners’ list. Additionally, features clever AI-powered apps and provided an AI category and honorable mentions for both apps and games, signaling a diverse and inclusive selection of winners in 2023. Overall, the best of 2023 lists show an interesting shift in app and game trends, as well as the platforms’ effort to acknowledge various categories and genres.