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iPhone Devs In Top 20% Make 97% Of Total Category Revenue

MammothMammoth Posts: 640Member
A survey of iOS developers by Canadian indie developer Owen Goss has shown that – in terms of lifetime revenue – the top 20 percent of iOS developers are earning approximately 97 percent of all the game revenue made on the Apple App Store. Goss, the founder of Streaming Color Studio and a former dev at EA Canada, reached out to 252 iOS developers for the survey.

The top 1 percent of iOS game developers earn over a third of all that cold, digital revenue. In contrast, the bottom 80 percent of iOS devs are splitting a mere 3 percent of all App Store game revenue between one another.

25 percent of iOS studios audited made more than $30,000 in lifetime revenue, while the bottom 20 percent have made less than $200. Another 25 percent admitted to making between $1,000 and $10,000 overall.

Finally, developers who bit the bullet and teamed up to create titles earned more revenue than those who went at it alone.

Perhaps iOS is not the land of milk and honey for a fledging developer? It’s becoming a really crowded market out there.

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/iphone-devs-in-top-20-make-97-of-total-category-revenue/

Comments

  • design219design219 Posts: 2,273Member
    Wow!
  • calvin9403calvin9403 Posts: 3,190Member
    Humm

    @fmg

    That is the same as what they made with IAP!
  • PhoticsPhotics Posts: 4,172Member
    This reminds me of an old saying. "Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." That's the title of a book from Lewis Grizzard. It also seems applicable for independent app developers. HA!
  • MagoNicolasMagoNicolas Posts: 2,090Member, PRO
    thanks for sharing this!

    Cheers.
  • BackUpAndDownBackUpAndDown Posts: 685Member
    Photics said:
    This reminds me of an old saying. "Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." That's the title of a book from Lewis Grizzard. It also seems applicable for independent app developers. HA!

    lol Nice. It definitely feels like that sometimes.
  • EbreezeEbreeze Posts: 481Member, PRO
    20% isnt bad compared to the music industry which like 1%
  • ktfrightktfright Posts: 964Member
    Well that sucks : /
  • MammothMammoth Posts: 640Member
    Ebreeze said:
    20% isnt bad compared to the music industry which like 1%

    Video game industry >>>> music industry in every way possible.
  • mikelowemikelowe Posts: 177Member
    I'm trying to hit it big before I go to college, but according to this, thats not about to happen. lol. no but seriously, I'm happy being in that 25% for now.
  • butterbeanbutterbean Posts: 4,315Member, PRO
    Guess it's not much different than the economic climate of the world, and the U.S... an economy by the rich, for the rich :)
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    I am going to ramble a bit, so apologies in advance!

    The ugly truth is that, as this article suggests, most people will NOT make money doing this.

    But that's not really very motivating is it?

    Instead I would point you in the direction of GamesMould - who has made consistently good games on IOS and Mac, and seems to have subsequently got the attention of someone at Apple because of this.

    As a consequence, his games get featured - probably the most of any developer on these boards.

    That hard work, therefore, has paid off.

    I was thinking a while back of introducing a game review service - where, essentially, I would write a report telling you what was wrong with your game and what you had to change to maximise the likelihood that you would make a better game.

    It's what I used to do for developers when I worked for Microsoft.

    However, it'd be expensive. And there would STILL be no guarantee that your game would even sell! (which would make me feel bad!).

    And while I'm on the subject of 'services', why do so many people offer them for sale on the marketplace in one form or another?

    Because it's less of a gamble. Because they can make more money doing that, than actually making games.

    I just want to make some games.

    I met with a very interesting person yesterday who heads up a rather large company making iOS games.

    I mentioned that many think marketing is king - that it's essential if you're going to get noticed.

    He told me that the last six of his company's releases had all got into the top 10. This amounted to comullative downloads in the many, many millions.

    All that with NO marketing (other than having press releases issued).

    So what's the secret?

    You're damn right I asked, but he wouldn't tell me!

    Bah!

    However, he did give me small snippets of advice, which I'm sure he won't mind me sharing with you here:

    *Having a good icon is key

    *Having a well written description is important. However, not everyone reads the description! EVERYBODY looks at the screenshots though. Because of this, placing text (about four or five words) on each screenshot explaining game features. helps - because as well as seeing what the game looks like, they are 'forced' into reading the features too :)

    *Knowing your market is key

    *Reward the player ALL THE TIME!

    *It's all about psychology

    *60% of IOS app buyers are female

    *Planned updates should play second fiddle to updates that respond to user's feedback.

    *The user experience is paramount - having menus that are clear, make sense, and are intuitive makes the user experience 'frictionless' - which is what you want.

    So he didn't tell me the secret. But, on the plus side, he did seem quite enamoured with 'Sunshine' - so I was chuffed (though he did critique Air Supply's menu system).

    So what am I trying to say?

    Well, mainly that I have no idea what the secret formula for 'success' is. And that I'm in the same boat as the rest of you.

    Which means that at least 80% of people here, me included, will make NO money doing this.

    What I do know is, regardless of sales success, I LOVE doing this. I LOVE making my own games. Doing things my way. Then tossing the dice and seeing what happens.

    And that should be enough. If your game takes off, then great! Remember me!

    But, those with spreadsheets open planning for X amount of sales are as likely to hit it big as someone just doing this for a laugh.

    So why not have fun? Make something you're proud of. Do what you can to maximise success, but don't *expect* success.

    Be creative! Make games!

    QS :D

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • gyroscopegyroscope I am here.Posts: 6,577Member, Sous Chef, PRO
    Hear, hear to all that! (Useful advice as well, thanks QS). :-)

    Thanks also for info, Mammoth; most telling.
    quantumsheep said:

    It's what I used to do for developers when I worked for Microsoft.

    QS :D

    What a surprise; I'm glad you saw the error of your ways... ;-)

    ""You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike." - Zork        temp domain http://spidergriffin.wix.com/alphaghostapps

  • MagoNicolasMagoNicolas Posts: 2,090Member, PRO
    Thats was a Nice Advice QS :D

    Would love to know that developer Games!

    Cheers.
  • steve86steve86 Posts: 806Member
    MagoNicolas said:
    Thats was a Nice Advice QS :D

    Would love to know that developer Games!

    Cheers.

    I was about to post the same question.

    ps: very good reed QS
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    I'd love to tell you who it was, but I hope you understand that I can't.

    Sorry!

    It's not someone you'd immediately say 'Oh! I know them!', but you may have seen some of their games before.

    Now, a lot of what was said I agreed with or already knew. But some stuff really surprised me. The 'Millions of downloads with no marketing', for example, took me by surprise.

    How DO you get that kind of attention without really pushing your game?

    He had a quick look at Air Supply - and it was really fascinating to see him looking at it and offering criticism.

    First thing he did was actually shut down the game and look for the icon on my iPad.

    Then he connected to the app store, looked up the game and looked at how the game was presented. That was when he suggested the descriptions over the screenshots (something I never considered doing).

    I think it's telling that those were the first things he did before even playing the game, and it actually took me by surprise.

    It's almost as if saying "The actual content, the GAME, while important, doesn't matter if you haven't thought out how you're 'selling' it as well."

    I'll certainly be doing stuff like adding words to screenshots in future!

    He looked at the menu - thought it was too 'busy' (especially the selection screen where you pick your characters, music etc).

    He also poured over the retry screen - asking if the 'how you died' text was necessary (I explained why it was). Then I pointed out that the game showed what you needed to unlock more stuff on that screen, and he immediately said "Yes, that's nice, but it's really not obvious the way you've presented it here."

    The I showed him Sunshine and he really liked the menus (much simpler, i.e. more 'frictionless').

    He gave the game a quick go and was very positive about it (a huge relief, especially after he'd been so blunt with Air Supply).

    As I said, he was an extremely interesting person to talk to and I felt I learned a lot from him, for which I'm very grateful!

    I just thought I'd share his wisdom - but again, it's no guarantee that you'll make any money! ;)

    QS :D

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • GruntGrunt Posts: 109Member
    Photics said:
    This reminds me of an old saying. "Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes." That's the title of a book from Lewis Grizzard. It also seems applicable for independent app developers. HA!

    Yeah if you ain't the lead dog, all you see and smell is the lead dog's ****!

    Having read the QS description of Joy of making games and having a good time, I'd say that doesn't solve my problem. If I am a professional game developer (please first see the definition of professional - it is a pathetic dude who does things for bread and butter). So the question is, I do not afford to fulfill my joys just for the sake of fulfilling them. With no state support and some liabilities should I quit game dev??
  • LumpAppsLumpApps Posts: 2,868Member
    Thanks Mamoth and QS both great info.
    The one thing I read about all of this is that it is still a wild guess what makes games sell. Except for QS contacts secret ;)
    Havin a very polished game with good menus and a great icon are the only things I see coming back in these stories.
    I read before that timing the release helps too.
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    Grunt said:
    Yeah if you ain't the lead dog, all you see and smell is the lead dog's ****!

    Having read the QS description of Joy of making games and having a good time, I'd say that doesn't solve my problem. If I am a professional game developer (please first see the definition of professional - it is a pathetic dude who does things for bread and butter). So the question is, I do not afford to fulfill my joys just for the sake of fulfilling them. With no state support and some liabilities should I quit game dev??

    I'd say your definition of 'professional' is a bit off! :P

    In fact, the word is overrated in my opinion.

    I have been a 'professional' game developer for several years now. As in, others have paid me to design games.

    This counts for very little though once you start making your own games. The only way you're 'professional' doing that is if you can support yourself.

    I get money from a variety of sources, not just making games (though they're all game related!). I also have some savings and keep a tight watch on my outgoings where I can (though I go a little crazy sometimes and buy expensive stuff, just to keep me sane!).

    Joe (Firemaple) supports himself to the extent that he could give up his job and concentrate on making his own games full time. That's 'Professional', but I doubt he'd call himself that!

    I've noticed a lot of people on here claiming to be 'professionals' - or *wanting* to be because there's something attractive about that.

    Let's be clear here:

    *Being a 'Pro' user because you have $500 to spend on GameSalad Pro does not make you a professional

    *Some people evidently want to be taken seriously (especially some of our younger users). And as the good Doctor's rules state, 'Never knowingly be serious' ;)

    *You need to be earning money from your games to be 'professional' - saying that that's why you're doing this, or 'that's the plan' isn't enough. You have to be *doing* it.

    As I said, I think the word is overrated. I personally don't see myself as 'professional', and would not label myself such. Indeed, whilst chatting to this guy I felt distinctly 'amateur'.

    And that's fine with me!

    As to your question - "Should I quit game dev?"

    NEVER :D

    I like your attitude and think you'll come up with something very cool. Just shift your focus a little perhaps?

    But what do I know, eh? :)

    QS :D

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • GruntGrunt Posts: 109Member
    What I meant was that one should try n investigate into the marketing side further instead of closing eyes and just concentrating on the joy of making great games. It is deeper than that i guess. I m just referring to something to elaborate my point now: In there recent presentation Rovio said that they had made fifty games since 2003 which were the games they liked to make and eventually they designed a game that could sell more and they got the break. Thanks for approving my attitude but I don't call myself pro since paying GS 500 bucks. I do not do anything else besides making games for the past three years and besides trying to make games that sell I m in search of the secret for increased visibility in appstore n everywhere else. I know a lil bit too but for instance learnt nothing from your message or the great guy you met. N like Rovio said you gotta know someone at Apple inc. as well. Well! I don't!
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    Grunt said:
    What I meant was that one should try n investigate into the marketing side further instead of closing eyes and just concentrating on the joy of making great games. It is deeper than that i guess. I m just referring to something to elaborate my point now: In there recent presentation Rovio said that they had made fifty games since 2003 which were the games they liked to make and eventually they designed a game that could sell more and they got the break. Thanks for approving my attitude but I don't call myself pro since paying GS 500 bucks. I do not do anything else besides making games for the past three years and besides trying to make games that sell I m in search of the secret for increased visibility in appstore n everywhere else. I know a lil bit too but for instance learnt nothing from your message or the great guy you met. N like Rovio said you gotta know someone at Apple inc. as well. Well! I don't!

    I don't know anyone at Apple either. I presume that most people don't.

    I'm afraid I cannot solve your 'problem' then.

    So what are you gonna do? Worry about something you can't change? Or just get on with making games?

    And good luck to you!

    QS :)

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • GruntGrunt Posts: 109Member
    Hey common no offense there but you got me completely wrong! thanks but I never asked you for a solution! and I dont either have a problem as such i just commented on your post if you read carefully.
  • quantumsheepquantumsheep Posts: 8,188Member
    No offence taken, sir! If you read it carefully! :D

    QS :D

    Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home...
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/Quantum_Sheep
    Web: http://www.quantum-sheep.com

  • GruntGrunt Posts: 109Member
    O ...thanks n Cheers :)
This discussion has been closed.