According to independent analyst firm Canalys, 25 developers pocketed 50 percent of US app revenue during the first 20 days of November 2012. The total revenue shared between those 25 developers amounted to $60 million in paid downloads and in-app purchases. The numbers are based on Canalys' daily App Interrogator surveys of the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Of the lucky 25, only one - Pandora Radio - was not from a game developer. The list includes most of the larger mobile game developers, including Zynga, Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Rovio, Glu, and Gameloft.
Part of the story here is that successful game developers almost invariably have multiple titles generating revenue, said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones. 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. With the holiday season now underway, 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.
During the first 20 days of November, games averaged 145 of the top 300 paid apps on the App Store and 116 of the top 300 on Google Play. When it came to free apps, the numbers dropped down to an average of 94 apps out of the top 300 on the App Store and 110 out of the top 300 on Google Play.
Discoverability is a particular issue in the Apple App Store and in Google Play given the huge inventories they boast, said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd. 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. 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.