A new infographic has revealed the “winner-takes-all” nature of the app economy, highlighting the difficulties independent games can face when trying to crack the charts.
Focussing on the Christmas period for the App Store’s top grossing chart in the US, the study allows us to track ranking changes from 26 December 2013 to 26 December 2014.
It reveals that the seven highest-grossing apps on Boxing Day 2013 were still enjoying positions in the Top 10 in 2014.
Indeed, only two apps in the 2014 Top 10 were even published in 2014 – that is, Madden NFL Mobile and Candy Crush Soda Saga.
Stasis as she goes
The simple fact is that users can only ever play the highest quality games if they're aware of them, but the charts cater to a marketing arms race where the biggest budgets bid for hits.
The infographic’s attention to the Christmas season is telling. It cites the fact this year Flurry reported that app installs increased by 150 percent on Christmas day from the average rate the week before.
Clearly, this is a lucrative period for app developers as a new wave of users rolls in. Apple is one of the most high profile beneficiaries of this influx, as the same report revealed more than half of all devices activated between 19 and 25 December were manufactured by Apple.
But the fact that after an entire year the App Store’s top grossing chart features only three new apps proves that the fruits of the season aren’t shared evenly.
It is what the creator of the infographic, Wooga’s head of marketing Eric Benjamin Seufert, terms a “winner-takes-all app economy.”
Still, the infographic does prove that the lion’s share of the App Store’s revenue has been generated by gaming apps.
Eight out of the ten top grossing apps of the Christmas period in 2014 were games, while App Annie’s Q3 market report revealed that over on Google Play it was also games that provided the biggest cash flow.
Clearly games are the best money generating mobile apps across stores now, but more work needs to be done in distributing that wealth.