The incredible Apple App Store numbers

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The Apple App Store is the biggest thing to ever happen to the video game industry, so it is amazing when you realise that it is less than 15 months old. And that Apple never expected to make a profit from it, they just did it as a service.

So according to Apple’s figures there have ( as of September 28th) been 2,000,000,000 apps downloaded and that they are now hosting 85,000 separate apps. There are more than 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches in the world. And there are 125,000 developers signed up to make apps for them. Amazing figures. It is little wonder that Apple are rumoured to be working on a home console to take on Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

16,537 of those apps are games, a staggering number, which must surely mean that in the last year the iPhone has attracted more new games than all other platforms combined. An explosion in creativity like the industry has never seen before. But a massive marketing problem for the publishers of these games.

So what does this all mean?

  • High street retail of plastic and cardboard video games is doomed. We already knew that, what the App Store has done is to bring the demise a lot sooner as the whole industry moves over to the app store model for content delivery.
  • Horrendous product differentiation problems for developers. How do you make your game stand out from the 16+ thousand others?
  • Globalisation now comes easy for developers. Apple publish to the whole world. No need to ship physical stock anywhere. This makes a tremendous difference.
  • Apple TV is one of Apple’s lesser products, however it is a very obvious basis for a much more powerful home entertainment hub that would include video gaming. Apple must be doing this.
  • The immense number of apps gives Android a very difficult moving target to catch up with. And an almost impossible target for Zune to attack.
  • Apple are opening up iPhone availability to more and more air time providers, so availability (and thus sales) are going to shoot up.

This is amazing stuff and I look forward to the chapters unfolding in an ongoing tale.

6 comments ↓

#1 IronM@sk on 10.01.09 at 1:17 pm

I welcome an Apple home games console. Making fun of the Wii is getting old :D

#2 Kazzleh on 10.01.09 at 3:27 pm

Apple is ideally placed to release a console, all those Apple-ites out there would totally go for it. I can imagine it would suit the casual gamer / Wii / family friendly market.

Imagine the possibilities of having online games ready for download, they probably wouldn’t even need to release any retail games…

#3 Robin on 10.02.09 at 12:11 am

“16,537 of those apps are games, a staggering number, which must surely mean that in the last year the iPhone has attracted more new games than all other platforms combined.”

Perhaps, if you don’t count the PC.

“High street retail … is doomed. We already knew that, what the App Store has done is to bring the demise a lot sooner as the whole industry moves over to the app store model for content delivery.”

Ah, the classic publisher/marketer mistake of seeing something that works in one context and applying it to all problems regardless of suitability. You have to pick the most appropriate tools for the situation. Digital distribution isn’t the most practical or useful solution for deploying console games that weigh in at many gigabytes, for the vast majority of users at this time. Whether high street games retail can survive selling a narrowing range of download-unfriendly games and overpriced plastic peripherals is another issue.

As for globalisation, there are many markets in the world to which Apple have yet to bring the iPhone. In the long term they’ll solve this, but for now it’s a device limited to an older audience in the richest countries.

The argument that Apple “must” be planning a home console based on the fact that they stood aside just enough to allow external parties to adapt the iPhone into a games platform is highly dubious. How would such a device differentiate itself from the PC and consoles?

Your fondness for hyperbole tends to blunt your credibility.

#4 Ian Osborne on 10.02.09 at 9:39 am

Further evidence: http://tinyurl.com/ybkxdzy

As early as Feb 2007, former Xbox Live Arcade guy Greg Canessa joined Popcap Games and made an off-the-cuff comment about taking its IP to Apple TV.

You have to wonder why it’s taking them so long…

#5 Bruce on 10.02.09 at 10:21 am

@Robin.
You think that the PC had sixteen and a half thousand new games in one year?

#6 Robin on 10.03.09 at 5:58 pm

@Bruce

Of course. If you’re counting everything from boxed retail games to game demos, downloadable games, and free browser-based games.

Which is what you’re effectively doing when you quote 16,537 items in the games category on the App Store.

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