Gameloft announced today that it has sold a monstrous 20 million apps since the App Store opened in July of 2008. Regardless on your stance on Gameloft and the originality of their titles, this number is incredible.
According to Gameloft, 42 of their 47 iPad and iPhone games that have come out this calendar year have reached the top 5 in the games category with 25 of the games reaching the #1 spot (presumably in their respective game categories. I think Angry Birds has been the #1 overall game since 1906, but don’t quote me on that).
“The first half of 2010 marks a new step for us on the App Store,” declared Michel Guillemot, President of Gameloft. “The launch of the iPad and iPhone 4 has opened new horizons for developers and allowed us once again to transform our consumers’ gaming experience. 20 million paid downloads is proof that our games meet the expectations of our players and we will continue to satisfy them.”
With 100 apps currently in the App Store, each app has, on average, sold 200,000 copies. They seem to be keen on pumping them out at record pace now too, with 15 titles to be released by the end of 2010, including “NFL 2011 HD, Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles HD, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem HD on the iPad, as well as Dungeon Hunter 2, Gangstar: Miami Vindication, Star Battalion and Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus (also available on the iPad) on the iPhone”.
Congratulations Gameloft. It’s always nice to see a huge success in the App Store. And please, if you are reading this, I am not so patiently awaiting a sequel to The Oregon Trail. I’m dying here. Of dysentery.
tap tap tap (Convert, Voices) has done quite well in the App Store despite not being a game developer. Continuing this trend, the company has announced today in a lengthy blog post that their newest app, Camera+, has made $250k in its first month. Surprisingly enough, the app did so with no advertising (the company doesn’t advertise for its apps anymore due to costs) and quickly declining sales in the US market.
So how did they do it? Here’s the abridged version.
Since tap tap tap does no advertising anymore, John Casasanta, head of the company and writer of the blog post, says that the key is to start with a HUGE launch. Huge as in contest for $10,000+ worth of camera equipment… but the key is how to get the word out. Fortunately for tap tap tap, John Casasanta is also the head of MacHeist, so the company got a large head start, but now tap tap tap has its own opt-in list with 70,000 subscribers. Says Casasanta, “Granted, not every developer has access to such resources, but there’s no reason that anyone can’t build-up resources of this sort over time… it’s taken us years so patience and persistence is key.”
I guess in any business, you’re only as successful as the people you know, or in this case, the amount of people you know.
The rest of the success lies in the app itself. Since the US App Store is completely dominated by games, it’s imperative to have a flawless, detail oriented app with some fun touches and well done social network integration. The post talks, in detail, about making things feel right, with not too many options, but enough to work correctly. Also, developers need to be completely open to feedback, and update when the app needs to be updated, but only when the updates are necessary.
As a non-game, it’s very important to keep hope even after sales wane in the US. The app market overseas is very different from our game and entertainment app dominated store, with countries like Finland having 14 of the top 25 being non game and entertainment apps. Check out the sales chart on the right to see how foreign app store are supporting Camera+.
The post ends with a warning. “You can spend a year on an app and hardly make a dime on it. It’s not just the nature of the App Store… it’s the nature of practically any business.” Only make an app if it’s something that you love, and be sure to slave over every last detail.
So good luck to all the devs that are out to make your own $250k. If every app turns out to look as well made as any of the tap tap tap apps, the world would be a much better place.
Mr. CEO, members of the developer program, iOS users, and abusers. I have come here today not to only address the great advances of the App Store but to also address the issues.
During the past year the App Store has seen amazing growth. We’ve seen a quadrupling of the number of applications, downloads, and devices. Since it’s inception, the App Store has generated over 1.5 billion dollars in revenue for Apple with over a billion dollars of that going to developers.
The App Store is a unique mobile application market. Apple has done something that no other device manufacturer had done before or since. Not only has Apple developed a common mobile platform delivered across a variety of devices, they have done so across over eighty different countries and mobile carriers. This is the most perfect mobile device and application marketplace match ever created. Apple controls everything from the device research and development, manufacturing, sales, and application delivery. Reducing the mobile carriers to the point that they are simply service providers. Prior to the iPhone, mobile carriers controlled everything from device features, names, and what applications were available at what price. Under the iPhone, they control just the cellular service. Palm, Google, and soon Microsoft will try to replicate the Apple App Store model, but none have yet to be able to — even though they have the perfect example of how to do so.
One year ago there were 65,000 applications available that had amassed 1.5 billion downloads. As of now there are over 229,000 applications available and those applications have been downloaded a total of over 5 billion times.
Growth in the number of applications this year has been more linear than the exponential growth we saw the first year. That has more to do with the saturation of the app store than it does with size of the market. Over the past 12 months we saw nearly 200,000 new applications approved and nearly 4 billion additional downloads. That’s a 3x growth in number of applications this year as opposed to a 109x growth the first year. That works out to a pretty steady 10-20% growth in the number of applications, month-over-month for the past 12 months.
If the current growth trends continue, the App Store could see 35 billion downloads of nearly three-quarters of a million different apps one year from today. Lofty goals indeed, but I don’t think we expected to see the growth we saw this past year. With the continued adoption of the platform on revised devices like the iPhone 4, and whole new device lines like the iPad, and potentially others, I think there’s a great chance that it will continue that growth.
While in it’s first year, application prices dropped considerably and quickly, they have remained fairly steady this year. Due to changes made this year we can expect to see the growth of freemium applications continue as well. And more income will be generated by in-app purchases versus application sales. This is something we can not track though, so it will be a mystery how much income this will bring developers.
The last year has not been without issues. While the App Store to consumer segment continues to be very well received, Apple still has issues to address with it’s developer relations. While greatly improved, there are still issues with application approval. In addition, the open-ended nature of that developer agreement has given Apple the opportunity to change their mind repeatedly and remove an entire segment of application from the App Store without notice.
The developer tools provided by Apple continue to evolve. Xcode, the development environment provided by Apple is consistently lauded by developers as the best available on any platform. The next version, Xcode 4 appears to be even better. While still in beta and under NDA, developers have been leaking a few details here and there that make it sound like a great step forward. Adding features often requested and integration of features such as interface designer and the Instruments performance monitor into the main application.
While everyone knows that developers have to play by Apple’s rules if they want to be in the App Store, those rules are an ever changing target. This causes problems as it’s difficult to develop to rules that are enforced inconsistently and constantly changing. We’ve seen whole companies sprout up, spend money researching and developing applications, and then be ruined as those applications were not approved by Apple for sale in the App Store. Thereby destroying the company that had been built up exclusively to develop for the iOS platform. This has to change.
We’ve also seen whole segments of application approved for sale and then later removed from the App Store. Segments such as Google Voice based application, applications that present a desktop-like interface, and so-called bikini apps were once approved and then later removed – en masse from the App Store. This too has to change.
The application approval delay has been reduced considerably — a job well done there. But there are still some apps that fall through the cracks and don’t get approved in a timely manner. The real issue there is that the developers don’t know why. There is no communication back to the developers on what is going on, what the potential issue is, or how to resolve it. It appears this is usually caused by an exception. An app reviewer takes a look at the app and has a question and passes it up the chain of approval. That seems to be where it gets stalled. Nothing is communicated back to the developer other than it requires further review and it can stall for weeks in that status. Oddly, some developers have been able to remove that application and re-submit and have it go right through as a different reviewer doesn’t see an issue. There is the inconsistency and communication issues, those need to change.
Over this coming year I hope to see Apple firm up it’s developer agreement and explicitly spelling out what developers can and can not do in the App Store. And then the important part, stick to that agreement for all developers. You can’t ignore the rules for some developers and strictly enforce them for others.
While there are reasons to change the rules to adapt to the changes in the market, keeping these changes to a minimum and communicating them properly before they are made are the key to keeping your developers happier.
Censorship has become a concern. We’ve seen the issue where any application that pulls data from the Internet needs to be marked as 17+ since they could, theoretically, pull adult content. This has been very randomly applied to apps it seems. If it were consistently applied, the NY Times application would be marked 17+. It, of course is not marked that way. We’ve also seen applications rejected that could be considered a freedom of press concern.
Censorship could become a major concern, and something to think about for any publication releasing an app on the App Store. Some theorize a world where Apple can control the media by approving or disallowing applications based on their political content. While I don’t think it’s a huge potential concern — or at least not as much of a concern as conspiracy theorists would make you believe — it needs to be considered when developing for the iOS platform.
In summary, the App Store is growing by a phenomenal amount and sales of devices and applications show no real signs of slowing down. We’ve seen growing pains as the larger the App Store gets, the harder it is to manage, in general those have been addressed well. There are issues with developer relations and approvals, but consumers are happier than ever.
In spite of the issues, the state of the App Store is strong.
Apple has announced that iPad sales have now surpassed the three million mark in the 80 days since the tablet went on sale. During this period, the iPad has gone on sale in nine more countries including Australia, France, Italy and the UK with sales strong from most reports. Apple plans to begin selling the iPad in a further nine countries in July.
“People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world, including those in nine more countries next month.”
The number of apps available for Apple’s tablet computer have also increased, now totalling 11,000 on the App Store alongside the existing 225,000 iPhone and iPod touch apps, most of which are compatible with the iPad.
Apple has launched its new Apple Store app for iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to browse Apple’s online store via their portable devices. Aimed to launch at the same time as iPhone 4 pre-orders, most users have had to put up with the Apple’s customary “We’ll be back soon” sticky note for much of the day with high demand for the next generation of iPhone bringing servers to a standstill.
The free app offers customers (in the US only for the time being) a convenient way to browse the Apple Store and even access Genius Bar support from within the app. Apple Store is sure to benefit those who take advantage of Apple’s in-store training and Personal Shopping services and, as you would expect, looks the part too. Oddly enough Apple hasn’t seen fit to provide an iPad version of the app presumably assuming that users would rather use the large screen to visit the Apple Store via Safari than through a dedicated application. For all you developers stung by the iPad’s dimensions, take heart from the fact that Apple’s own apps look awful at 2x zoom too.
Coming way in third place, Android has 1/3 the market share of the iPhone in spite of the possibility that it outsold the iPhone last quarter. In spite of having a good quarter, Android failed to gain on Apple if these numbers from Neilsen are to be believed.
The numbers put Apple in second place (29%) behind BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which has a 35 percent share. In third place is Microsoft Windows Mobile with 19 percent, followed by Google (9 percent), Palm (4 percent), Linux (3 percent), and Symbian (2 percent).
Apple and Google both moved up by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2010. In the same period, RIM and Microsoft both lost 2 percent market share.
We had heard that Android outsold the iPhone last quarter, but these number make me believe that isn’t the case. While we don’t know the total numbers, just percentages, math tells us that 2% of the 29% market share of iPhone is a greater number than 2% of the 9% market share Android has. That means that Android failed to gain any ground on the iPhone last quarter.
Following our report that international iPad App Stores began switching on yesterday, international iBookstores are also now available. Apple initially claimed that iBooks would be a US-only service, likely due to ongoing discussions with international book publishers, but has since announced international launches in countries that begin selling the iPad on May 28th. At present, only free books are available to download on international iBookstores however this is likely to change over the next few days. So far, live iBookstores have been reported in Germany, Italy and the UK with the remaining supported countries likely to follow.
At the time of writing there are 10,023 free books available on the UK iBookstore with new additions apparently stopped for the time being after almost minute-by-minute changes earlier.
Jim Dalrymple over at The Loop has a piece out today about how the iPad outsold the Mac last quarter. While we’ve known that the iPad is the first generation of what Steve Jobs sees as the future of computing, it’s interesting to see it take such an early lead.
There of course are some interesting factors to consider on this. For one, the iPad is a new product. And as usual, Apple marketing has lots of people in a frenzy to get one. My guess is we’ll see sales die off over the next couple months as the focus turns to the new iPhone. And then we’ll see them pick up again, in a huge way, leading up to Christmas. While Mac sales will pick up, as they usually do, in the early fall as students get ready to go back to school.
What’s interesting to note is that Piper Jaffray Senior Research analyst Gene Munster said on Monday that he sees no signs of the iPad cannibalizing Mac sales. That could still be the case, assuming that iPad sales are coming as a result of pent-up demand from consumers that were going to buy something else.
Apple has announced that the one millionth iPad has been sold, just 28 days after launch.
“One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”
Also of note, as of this writing there were nearly 5,500 apps released for the iPad in the same timeframe. It’s on a similar growth curve to the device sales when compared to the iPhone App Store — with it taking about 50% of the time to reach 5,000 apps for the iPad as it did for the iPhone.
What this doesn’t take into account are the number of iPads returned. When I was at the Apple store picking up the iPad 3G on launch day, there were a good number of people in line that were returning the Wifi version for the 3G version. But overall, I expect that number to be small.
Even with the returns, the amazing growth of the iPad is a testament to Apples ability to create an amazing device and an amazing buzz around a device. Now that this milestone has been reached, all eyes turn toward the next generation iPhone!
An interesting article over at PocketGamer this week reveals some measures Sony has been taking to combat Apple’s wildly successful (but far from perfect) App Store and to make their virtual download service, the PSN, more appealing for both consumers and developers. Sony might be doing fine with consumers, as the reported top limit of 5 euros is less than the App Store imaginary limit of $9.99, so if consumers managed to stomach the outrageous price of $250 for the PSPgo, they should be pleasantly surprised with the game pricing. The question is, however, will there be any games worth buying. The upper limit of 5 euros is simply awful for developers. For any quality games that are worth buying to a consumer, the volume of sales just needed to break even is immense. This is one of the biggest problems of the App Store, but it has managed to get away with it – for now – because of the huge reach of the store – there are simply a massive amount of consumers who are willing to buy a lot of games. I can’t imagine the PSPgo will sell as many units as the iPhone and iPod Touch combined, so I can’t imagine how hard it will be for developers to turn a worthwhile profit. Just ask the Google Android – the entire Android store probably has seen less downloads than any of about 500 iPhone apps. To make matters worse though, Sony is taking huge control over the games, requiring a two week QA test and regulating release dates, further discouraging indie development. Sure, most people don’t see the iPhone in the same light for gaming as the PSP (though I could recommend you a couple of titles that might change your mind), but with the new insanely powerful iPhone 3GS and help like this from Sony, Apple might just eat away at Sony’s share of the portable gaming world.
Snood arrives in the App Store
Last night, Snood, a classic PC/Mac Bust-a-Move clone, was released by EA into the App Store. Despite some strange Facebook requirements, a quirky landscape interface (the game is played entirely in portrait view), and the fact that it’s an EA port, Snood has made it to the iPhone in all its highly addictive goodness… with online multiplayer nonetheless! Best of all, there’s not even a stupid cross-over promotional Pocket God pygmy in sight! A friendly warning: I lost many hours of productivity on this game back in the day. I’ve not spent enough time with the game (ok, basically none) to give it a recommendation, but we’ll try to have an official 148apps patent-pending review up soon (or not…I didn’t get that checked out with our editor, Chris. He might have some sort of strange anti-Snood bias).
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-17 :: Category: Games
App Store Fire Sale
It seems that in the App Store lately, everything must go! Developers have been slashing their prices to new lows, some even making their games free for a limited time. Rather than typing more, I thought I’d let our fancy boxes do the talking, so here are some notable price drops:
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-05-08 :: Category: Games
This week’s sign of the apocalypse
Hmm, why does this look so familiar?
The game Ricky is currently sitting at the number 33 spot in the App Store. The description tells me that if I like Super Mario Bros, then “surely I will like Ricky.” Well Ricky, the only thing I’m surly about is your game. Ricky is a blatant Mario rip-off (ported horribly I might add). The hills have eyes, the main character is an italian plumber, and oh yeah, the icon is the 1up mushroom. Really Apple, you saw no possible copyright infringement going on. It just makes you wonder how apps like this get through while quality games like iMech and A.D.D. are held up in the approval purgatory for months.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-12 :: Category: Games
Apps of the Week
This week was a great game week, and while I was hoping Duke Nukem 3D would hold a spot on this list, unfortunately the controls are among the worst I’ve seen for a big title on the iPhone. Nevertheless, a duo of great games, one new, one old, made my list for the apps of the week.
Spider: the Secret of Bryce Manor
Spider, a beautiful, elegant game
Spider is simply a work of art. The main gameplay, spinning webs to catch and eat bugs, is very compelling, especially with fantastic touch controls, but what makes Spider truly great is the multi-faceted story. The story is a human one that rivals many novels, but it is told through subtle clues found throughout levels. Items of seemingly little consequence can fill in a crucial missing piece. To top things off, Spider comes with many secret area to levels plus a secret room that it will take a true adventurer to unlock.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-10 :: Category: Games
Earlier in this article, I mentioned the addictive nature of Snood, but that is nowhere as addictive as the classic turn-based empire building game Civilization. Once I start a game of Civilization, I literally am not capable of doing anything else until I’ve finished the game. The iPhone version is slightly watered down, making it more accessible to newcomers, and it does have some interface/control issues (no performance issues over here on my iPhone 3G), but it’s still Civilization, and it’s still awesome.
Firemint Games, the developers of the 148Apps five star rated game Flight Control, have just released their sales figures for the app while it held the #1 spot in the iTunes App Store. The period covered stretches from March 24th to April 25th 2009, which is a sizable amount of time for an app to hold that position.
Correction: the app Chopper was on sale during the holidays, and continues to be on sale. The app is regularly priced at $4.99 but is on sale for $0.99. Sales figures updated below.
Many developers are seeing their iTunes sales reports for the first time after iTunes Connect opened back up after Apple closed it for the Christmas rush, and those sales numbers are amazing. With many apps showing 2-4x normal sales of their paid apps on Christmas day and increased sales continuing in the days following. Free app download number showing up to 5x normal rate as well. Could this be all the new iPhone and iPod Touch owners looking for apps to fill up their devices or most likely people with newly gifted iTunes gift cards to burn.
David Frampton of Majic Software, the developer of Chopper (iTunes Link), the number 2 paid game and number 3 paid app overall, reported sales 3x normal on 12/25 with sales in the days following still much higher than normal, but dropping off by about 30% on the 26th and another 10%/day on the 27th. The Chopper developer pulled in sales of over 50,000 copies of his $4.99 app (on sale for $0.99 during the holidays) for the 4 day period of 12/24 – 12/27 with around half of those sales coming on Christmas day. That’s nearly $25,000 in sales in one day, 12/25, alone.
Another developer we talked with, Mark Johnson, reported sales of over four times normal on Christmas day. Hit Tennis (iTunes Link) the $1.99 tennis game, currently number 55 in the top 100 paid iPhone Sports games, had sales of nearly 200 on 12/25 with normal daily sales in the 40s.
Gabriel Pasqualini from Portengo, developers of Cartoonize Me (iTunes Link), the top 15 app on the Entertainment paid app list showed sales 3x normal on the 25th with sales on the 26th being about 90% of what they were on the 25th.
Other stories are similar in nature with most developers of apps on iTunes top 100 lists showing sales 2-4 times normal. Other developers of apps not in any of the top 100 lists also reported much higher than normal sales, though not 4x.
Tim Haines, developer of Burn Ball (iTunes Link) which is not currently in the top 100 paid games reported a similar 3x normal sales on 12/25. He also reported that the free version of his game, Burn Ball Lite (iTunes Link), had download numbers 5x normal on 12/25.
No one knows how long the increased sales will continue, but this is a much deserved present for these independent developers.
Apple today reported their quarterly results — you can see the full PR here. The important thing to see is that they shipped 6.9 million iPhones in 1 quarter! Wow, that’s huge for a cell phone. This also means they shipped more phones with a single model and carrier than RIM did with multiple models and carriers for it’s Blackberry devices.
CultofMac reports that, for the next 48 hours, Calendars+ by Readdle can be downloaded for free. The app works with Google Calendar and the built-in iOS Calendar and lets you manage your work, either online or offline, with an easy to use interface to navigate through. It’s originally priced at $6.99 and will return to [...]