If you take all the titles available in Apple’s App Store, and combine it with Google Play’s catalog, you’ll come up with a count of more than 1.4 million apps. Those are from hundreds of thousands of developers. But, more than 50% of the revenue from those apps go to just 25 app developers.
Analytics firm Canalys performed a daily survey over a 20-day period in November and found that just 25 Android and iOS developers accrued $60 million from paid downloads and in-app purchases. What’s more, all the top-grossing developers — except for one, Pandora — are games developers, with Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Glu, Gameloft, Storm8, and of course Rovio on the list.
145 of the top 300 paid apps in the App Store are games, 116 of the top 300 paid on Google Play are also games.
Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd told TechCrunch that due to the huge selection available, getting their app discovered is one of the biggest obstacles independent developers face. “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,” he said.
“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.”
The large developers have multiple successful titles. On average, Zynga had 15 titles in the top 300 list on the App Store, 9 on Google Play. Rovio (Angry Birds, in case you hadn’t heard of them…), had “multiple game variants” in the lists.
Canalys says it will only get harder for independent developers to get their title noticed over the holidays. They expect to see many of the top 25 developers strengthen their dominance during the season by “employing discounts and special offers, taking advantage of their ability to cross-promote within their app portfolios.”
Even with the uphill battle, developers are not expected to turn to other platforms for recognition. According AdAge, devs are showing little interest in Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, despite being offered more favorable revenue splits than either Apple or Google. Microsoft funnels 70% of app revenue to the developer until the title revenue goes above $25,000, at which the developer’s share of the pie bumps up to 80%