Sunday, 29 January 2012

Examining the most popular iPhone games.

Top ten all time best selling paid apps (official apple list, as of 2010/11):
  1. Angry Birds
  2. Doodle Jump
  3. Skee Ball
  4. Bejewelled 2 + Blitz
  5. Fruit Ninja
  6. Cut The Rope
  8. The Moron Test
  9. Plants Vs Zombies
  10. Pocket God

Best selling apps for January 2012:
  1. Where's My Water?
  2. Drop The Chicken
  3. Scramble With Friends
  4. Words with Friends
  5. Fruit Ninja
  6. Paper Monsters
  7. Angry Birds
  8. NFL Kicker!
  9. Angry Birds Seasons
  10. Stickman Cliff Diving

It is very interesting to examine the changes between the last "all time best selling list" and this months current best sellers. It shows that some well known games, such as Angry Birds, has slightly dipped in popularity (quite possibly because every single i-owner has a copy) simple games like Fruit Ninja have stayed just as popular as they ever were.

You must take outside elements into consideration when looking at lists like this however. Current top seller, Where's My Water?, is made by Disney. Its not difficult to understand why this sold well, given the advertising power of the disney juggernaut. That said, it also helps that it is the best game disney have released since Kingdom Hearts. (Opinion not fact!)

Unexpectedly, I would have expected Plants Vs Zombies to still be selling well. Despite it being a very simple tower defense game, it seems unusual that its charm, wide appeal, and varied game modes have not kept it popular. This could be for a number of reasons, chiefly that its games (particularly survival mode - the only real option left after the puzzle/story/challenge modes are finished) can take quite long periods of time, and are not "commuter friendly".

This change in dynamics can be seen when comparing this months best sellers to last years - simple, quick games are getting much more popular, possibly due to the rapid expansion of mobile gaming.

The type of game has also changed. In 2010/11, there was no one most popular game type - action puzzles, platform, tower defense and reflex testing games were all apparent. In January 2012, they are almost all puzzle based games, or they are short action based "commuter" games like Fruit Ninja or NFL Kicker (although this is certainly an america-only app).

This research clearly shows that a developer for mobile games MUST keep their finger of the pulse of mobile gaming at all times - although innovation is important, it is also important to know if your proposed game will sell well in a very new and ever changing market.

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