Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, April 28, 2011

100 Million Free iPhone Games... In March Alone

In-app purchasing is becoming very popular, very fast.
That's the amazing number from a study by Xyologic, which has been combing through App Store data. A full 40% of those titles have in-app purchases. Over 80% of all apps downloaded in March were free apps. Obviously, free-to-play is the wave of the future, right?

Maybe... or maybe not. The dark underside of this wave of free apps is the pay-per-install method of marketing your app. Seems there are lots of places where you can pay a fee per installation to get your app installed in thousands of phones... in order to drive up your numbers so you can appear on Apple's best-seller lists. This can run upwards of $30,000 or so, but the payoff can be considerable; being in the top seller list is about the only way to get noticed in the App Store since Apple's tools are so feeble.

Now Apple is cracking down on apps that offer this cross-marketing opportunity. Which is also shooting down more legitimate cross-marketing efforts. It's really a mess right now, and hopefully Apple will take charge and solve the fundamental problem: App discovery. It should be a warning sign when developers are gaming your system to be able to sell games on your system, if you know what I mean.

Apple may be facing some real retail competition when Amazon really gets rolling selling Android apps (and their own Android tablet... and maybe an Android iPod competitor? Or an Android phone?). Which is exactly why Apple should really be working hard to improve their shopping tools right now.

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