It's being reported that, following a supposed similar shift to Android Market's ranking system earlier in April, Apple has altered its own algorithm for the App Store.
The observation has been made by app analytics specialist Flurry, which claims to have monitored a change to the various weightings that determine how the chart positions are calculated.
The suggestion is the role of pure download figures is being downgraded, with more emphasis being placed on user activity within games and apps.
Charting the charts
"We've been noticing changes in the Top Free rankings for at least three days now," Flurry VP of marketing Peter Farago told Inside Mobile Apps.
"From our point of view, Apple is absolutely considering more than just downloads, which we believe is the right direction go to measure true popularity of an app."
Though it's not clear what changes may or may not have been made, the alleged alteration to the algorithm appears to be backed up by a reshuffling of the apps making it to the top of the App Store's charts.
In the US, the official Facebook app which has spent the vast majority of the last year and a half outside of the top 10 has suddenly jumped back to the top spot. This would certainly make sense from an activity point of view.
Angry Birds Free-fall
"I believe there was a tweak in the algorithm," Stefan Bielau, head of business development in Europe for W3i, told PocketGamer.biz.
"There are only four games left in the overall top 10 in Germany."
Germany's App Store rankings have seen movements aplenty, with Angry Birds Rio Free having suddenly fallen out of the top 15 as productivity apps such as Taschenlampe 4 and Handy Sicherung have climed the charts.
If true, it's a change that could impact on many businesses operating on the App Store, with many firms such as Flurry and W3i offering services that allow developers to pay for downloads to propel them to the top of the charts to gain the apps extra visibility.
By shifting the goalposts, such forms of marketplace manipulation could be made more difficult, although they, in turn, are shifting from pure download incentivisation towards requiring users to play the opening level of the content they download.
[source: Inside Mobile Apps]
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.
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