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What Apptopia learned from four years of top grossing mobile games

Only six games have maintained an unbroken streak in the US App Store top 50 since 2014

The churn of mobile games is well-known, but market intelligence firm Apptopia has revealed new insight after studying a four-year period.

Between 2014 and 2017, Apptopia found that 2,624 games secured a top 50 grossing spot in the US App Store, but only six have remained there for the entire period: Game of War - Fire Age, Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, DoubleDown Casino Slots & More, Big Fish Casino: Slots & Games, Slotomania Slots: Vegas Casino.

Of those 2,624 games, only 14 hit the No. 1 spot, while 142 hit No. 10 or better, and 525 hit No. 25 or better.

Highlighting the IAP revenue disparity between the top grossing games, Apptopia noted that games ranked No. 1 and No. 5 have a daily average revenue of $750,000. This number falls off dramatically in the lower half of the top ten, down to $350,000.

The average daily revenue for a game ranked between No. 11 and No. 25 is around $100,000, while the bottom half of the top 50 is around $50,000.

Top grossing games are typically short lived; the average lifespan of a top 50 game in the US App Store is 27.75 days, while 64 per cent of games remain there for only five days or less.

During the 1,459 day study period, 119 games enjoyed a streak of 100 days or more in the top 50, while only 38 games had a streak of 500 days or more, and only 15 games had a streak of 1,000 days or more.

Developers looking to break into the top 50 only have to compete with a select few long-established games, and a slew of titles that will drop in and out organically, unable to sustain the user acquisition spending required to remain in the top tiers.

However, this is complicated somewhat by the fact that in 2014, there were only 200,000 games available to download on the App Store, whereas today there is over 800,000.

Diversifying revenue streams has become essential in this market. For example, London-based developer Space Ape has enjoyed newfound success by changing its approach to advertising and user acquisition. Read more about it here.

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Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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