Minecraft's success stood out in a year dominated by "free-to-play" games making their money from in-app purchases on Apple's store. Mojang's creative sandbox was released for iOS in November 2011, and in 2013 was the 18th top grossing app on both iPhone and iPad in the UK – the only paid game in the top 20 of those charts.
The game's long-burning mobile success is partly due to the large number of children who have enthusiastically adopted it, even if that wasn't the company's original target audience for Minecraft.
"This wasn't planned to be a kids game from the beginning, and it's still not planned to be a kids game! It's a happy accident," said Mojang's business developer Daniel Kaplan in an interview with The Guardian.
"When we design the game, we're not thinking 'how do children react to this?'. But maybe their big brother or sister plays it, and they want to be a part of that too. There wasn't really a specific plan for this to happen though."
Meanwhile, Candy Crush developer King's co-founder and chief creative officer Sebastian Knutsson told The Guardian that its free-to-play puzzle game, which was released in November 2012, has also exceeded initial expectations by some distance.
"We were aiming to have a Top 10 game: that was the ambition," he said. "We exceeded our ambitions by quite a margin! The truth in the industry at that stage was that casual games could never be the top game: you could have a nice hit, but you could never be number one. We disproved that by making a game that hit the top and kept growing."
Both charts were heavy on games. iPhone's top 10 paid apps also included Angry Birds Star Wars and its sequel, Temple Run: Oz, The Chase, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Plague Inc, along with health apps Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock and 7 Minute Workout Challenge and photo-editing app Facetune.
All 10 top paid apps for iPad were games, with Wreck-it Ralph, Angry Birds Star Wars HD, The Chase, Temple Run: Oz, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Angry Birds Star Wars II, Peppa Pig's Holiday, Plants vs Zombies HD and Scrabble sitting behind Minecraft in the end-of-year rankings.
In Apple's top-grossing iPhone apps chart, nine of the top 10 were games: Candy Crush Saga beat Clash of Clans, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Top Eleven, Hay Day, The Hobbit, Kingdoms of Camelot, Megapolis and Marvel: War of Heroes, with only dating service Match.com breaking up the gaming.
iPad's top-grossing chart saw Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Hay Day take the top three spots, with The Simpsons: Tapped Out, The Hobbit, Modern War, Kingdoms of Camelot and The Sims FreePlay also in the top 10. The Times & The Sunday Times charted in fifth place, with The Guardian and Observer app in seventh.
Apple also published a chart of the most popular free apps, ranked by downloads. On iPhone, Candy Crush Saga beat Snapchat, Temple Run 2, 4 Pics 1 Word, YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, Despicable Me: Minion Rush and Skype.
For iPad, Candy Crush Saga led YouTube, Skype, Temple Run 2, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, eBay for iPad, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, 4 Pics 1 Word and Calculator for iPad Free.
As part of the Best of 2013 feature, Apple has also picked its favourite apps of the year, with language-learning app Duolingo winning App of the Year and Ridiculous Fishing Game of the Year for iPhone, and Disney Animated and Badland taking the respective honours on iPad.
Apple's Best of 2013 charts vary by country, although Minecraft was still the top paid iPhone and iPad app in the US, with Candy Crush Saga topping the free and top-grossing lists for the year there.
Google does not publish similar charts for Android smartphones and tablets, although this year the company invited customers of its Google Play app store to vote for their favourite apps and games in a range of categories. Winners included Knights & Dragons, Bejeweled Blitz, The Hobbit, Ingress and Samurai Siege for games, and Duolingo, Movies by Flixster, YouTube, NewsHog and SwiftKey Keyboard for apps.