Independent analyst firm Canalys measured the performance of apps from the App Store (iPhone only) and Google Play during November and discovered that half of the revenue from apps in these stores goes to the top 25 US developers.
Based on daily App Interrogator surveys during the first 20 days of November 2012, Canalys calculates that the top 25 developers in the US made more than US$60m from paid-for downloads and in-app purchases in this period.
All 25 are game companies, except one, Pandora. Cross-platform game developers and mobile game specialists all feature, including Zynga, Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Rovio, Glu, Gameloft and Storm8’s TeamLava.
Canalys vice-president and principal analyst Chris Jones attributes these results to the fact that larger game developers tend to have multiple titles on the go. “Zynga, for example, had 15 titles in the list of top 300 grossing iPhone apps on average in Apple’s App Store every day, and nine titles in the equivalent list in the Google Play store. Even with its singular focus on its Angry Birds franchise, Rovio has multiple game variants in the list,” he explained.
Dominance of gaming
Overall, gaming apps dominate the app charts, accounting for 145 of the top 300 paid apps from the App Store and 116 of the top 300 paid apps from Google Play.
Canalys senior analyst Tom Shepherd notes the challenge this presents to other app developers.
“With top game developers’ content so prevalent in the stores, it can be hard for other good quality apps to get the attention they deserve,” he said. “Developers of other kinds of apps need to consider how to promote them. Depending on the type of app, they should consider how best they can exploit social media and social recommendations, tactical sales promotions and discounts, branding tie-ups and targeted in-app advertising.”
While other apps try to stand out, Jones predicts that end-of-year promotions will see gaming apps flourish.
“With the holiday season now under way, we expect to see many of these top game developers employing discounts and special offers, taking advantage of their ability to cross-promote within their app portfolios,” Jones said. “This is expected to ensure that, over the Christmas period in the US, the dominance of key game developers will only increase.”
Mobile apps image via Shutterstock