All but one of the top ten highest-grossing iOS games of all time were released in a window of less than two years, and none were launched in the last 18 months.
A new report from App Annie, based on data going back to July 2010, indicates that the period between November 2011 and September 2013 was a heyday for hitmakers on the App Store. All but one of the top ten grossing games was launched between Caesars Entertainment's Slotomania and Mixi's Monster Strike, with the outlier being Supercell's Boom Beach in March 2014.
And there are even greater concentrations of success within that ten. For example, seven of the ten games were released in November 2012 or earlier, which makes a lot of sense at first glance. However, while more time on the store does mean more time to make money, the revenue flowing through the App Store has greatly increased in the years since.
According to data released by Apple at the start of this year, App Store developers generated $10 billion in revenue in 2014 alone, a 50 per cent increase over the total for 2013. Given that the total revenue generated in the App Store's history stood at $25 billion at the close of 2014, it suggests that only a couple of the ten top-grossing games were launched in its boom years.
This illustrates the astounding long-tail that certain companies have been able to sustain - mainly Supercell, which has its entire three-game portfolio within the top seven. But it also speaks to the way that success perpetuates itself within that environment, the massive upswing in revenues making little difference to which companies were taking the money.
A useful comparison can be made with the top-grossing charts at this very moment. If you look at the iOS top-grossing charts on our Insights section, which are compiled from App Annie's data, six of the games on the all-time list are still among the top ten earners in the US right now.
There is a similar pattern In terms of all-time App Store downloads, with the most recent release being Gameloft's Despicable Me in June 2013. King's Candy Crush Saga is the best represented across both charts, coming second in revenue and top in downloads.