App Store Analysis: Madden and EA power to the top of Paid and Grossing charts

It's a perfect play

App Store Analysis: Madden and EA power to the top of Paid and Grossing charts
It's been a fairly confused week on the US App Store - what with the general re-organisation of the chart sub-categories and user interface tweaks thanks to iTunes 9 being released - and not to mention the appearance of the Top Grossing chart, and the listing of the Top 200.

(And no, we're not going to double our workload and start analysing that too!)

Combined with the start of the American football season and the debut of the world's best selling American football game onto the App Store, and it's no surprise that despite being the only game priced at $9.99 - EA Mobile's Madden NFL 10 is straight in at #1 on the US Top 100 (both Top Paid and Top Grossing).

Combined with the entry of Gameloft's Blades of Fury ($6.99, in at #16 on the Paid Apps chart), and the average price of an app in the Top 100 is up 5 percent to $2.58 compared to last week.

Of course, the change is even more pronounced in terms of the average price of the top 10, which is up a massive 52 percent thanks to Madden.

Yet, despite this, 99c games still make up 49 percent of the Top 100, with newcomers this week including quirky, indie games such as Run! (#11), TightWire (#47), Melon Golf (#61), Touch Physics 2 (#69), and Max Injury (#81), demonstrating that the iPhone audience is prepared to shell out on cheap titles they know little about.

Indeed, the squeeze has hit the mid-sized publishers with even previously solid performers such as PopCap Games, Digital Chocolate and Chillingo losing ground in terms of the number of titles they have in the Top 100.

Battle Bears and Mr AahH!! shoot up the chart

As a category, 99c games continue to be strong performers. Examples which have climbed the chart to enter the top 10 include 3D shooter Battle Bears, which is up 35 places to #2, and platformer Mr AahH!!, up 36 places to #3.

Last week's #1, cog-puzzler Geared is at #4, while the longstanding Doodle Jump moves up to #9. Zombie shooter Alive 4-ever drops from #2 to #13.

Other games climbing up the chart as they pick up audience support include online shooter iMech (99c) up 45 places to #15, and Enigmo 2 ($2.99) up 50 places to #26.

Vivendi's App Store veteran Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D continues its charge following a price cut from $5.99 to $2.99. It's now at #23.

Also proving that brands have their place, Disney's mini-game collection Toy Story Mania ($4.99) is a new entry at #46.

Paramount's Top Gun re-enters at #36 despite increases its price from 99c to $1.99.

Games dropping out the Top 100 this week include Orbital ( previously #28), Wolfenstein RPG (#46), Aqua Globs (#58), Silent Hill The Escape (#72) and Star Defense (#92).

Average price is up, but still historically low

As previously mentioned the average price of the Top 100 is up from last week's $2.45 to $2.58, although it should be pointed out this is still weak compared to the $3.20 average of 9th July 2009.

The average price of the top 10 at $3.49 is the highest it's been during the three months of our App Store Analysis.

The distribution of game prices remains spotty though, with 99c, $2.99, $4.99, and $6.99 becoming the default options.

And as noted last week, Firemint has extended its 'weekend' sale on Real Racing, which saw the now $6.99 game rise another 10 places to #54.

EA Mobile and Gameloft get profitable

EA Mobile and Gameloft maintain their position as the dominant players on the App Store, although EA dropped by one to 14 games in the Top 100 as Snood dropped out.

What's really significant however is how the publishers have increased the average price of their games.

EA Mobile's average was $3.86 and Gameloft's $3.79 last week.

As the only companies who have maintained a strong, longterm position on pricing, they are slowly leveraging their advantages in terms of scale, access to licences, experienced development staff, and number of releases, to start making the App Store a profitable place to do business.

In a minor example, this week, EA raised the prices of games such as Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee Adventures and Clue following previous sales.

In contrast, this is the first week of our App Store Analysis that there are no other publishers with more the three games in the Top 100.

PopCap Games is down to two, as is Chillingo which lost Inkvaders and Minigore.

Digital Chocolate is down to one game. Glu and Gamevil both have two games in the Top 100, as do developers Firement, Skyworks, and Backflip Studios.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.