A group of just 25 mobile game developers managed to rack up $60 million in Apple's App Store and Google Play in the first 20 days of November alone. That stat alone should make it worth other developers' time to figure out how they can become the big moneymakers in mobile apps.
According to the App Interrogator report from market research firm Canalys, the mobile app developer elite is made up of only 25 firms, which combined accounted for 50 percent of all U.S. revenues from the world's top two app stores. Out of the top 300 apps in both app stores, 116 were games in Google Play and even more, 145, were games in Apple's App Store. Even most of the top free apps--94 out of 300 for Apple and 110 for Google Play--were games.
Canalys offers a few recommendations that game developers should keep in mind as they try to crack the top 25:
Think multiple titles: It's easier to make more money if you're not counting on a single game. Canalys pointed to 15 Zynga titles in Apple's App Store and several variations on Rovio's Angry Birds.
Promote early and often: The top 25 are relatively entrenched in the stores where consumers can easily find them. If you haven't thought about social media or other forms of guerilla marketing, the odds are increasingly going to be stacked against you.
Think beyond the holiday season: The top 25 will likely use deep discounts and special offers to boost their fortunes even further during the holidays, which could make it harder for games without a lot of consumer awareness to get noticed.
Cross-promotion is key: If you have multiple titles, you've also got a built-in mechanism for promotion and advertising that isn't available to those pushing a single app. Even if one of your games only has a small customer base, getting them to pay for other titles could boost your revenues.
There's growth outside of games: An exception to the rule in the Canalys research is Pandora, which offers a streaming radio music service that is among the most popular paid-for apps in both stores. There could be other forms of entertainment that get consumers to open up their wallet, and they might be easier to promote than another me-too gaming app.
- read Canalys' App Interrogator report
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