4 Categories of Games on iOS
We have made a short study to find out which type of games dominate the “Top 100” grossing list for iPad in the United States. We decided to distinguish between four types of games: casual world, core, casino and casual innovative games. The distribution of our result can be construed like this:
1. Casual world games (e.g. “Dragonvale”, “Smurfs’ Village” and “Tiny Zoo Friends”) are typically close to desktop Facebook games with a casual mass-market theme, funny animations, tasks and mission systems. They are easy to start playing and are targeting everyone with a slight skew to female players.
2. Core games (e.g. “Modern War”, “Kingdoms of Camelot” and “Minecraft”) are games with themes and mechanics similar to the console games business and are targeted more to males.
3. Casino games (e.g. “Slotomania”, “Bingo Bash” and “Poker by Zynga”) have attained a lot of attention lately due to M&A activity in the field and rumored changes in regulations in gambling.
4. Casual innovative games (e.g. “Angry Birds”, “Where’s My Water” and “Words With Friends”) are built around an innovative mechanic and then attached to a mass-market theme.
The figure presented above shows a percentage distribution for the four games. If you look at it exclusively, one can conclude with casual world and casual innovative games as the biggest groups. But if you look at the spread on the list, you grasp a different result. We can see that casual innovative games are represented stronger at the end of the list (8 in top 33, 6 in the “middle section” and 13 in the last 33). Due to the heavy skew of absolute gross revenues towards the top of the list the relative revenue of the categories look totally different than frequency of titles in top 100. The nature of the app stores is such the increase in revenue is not linear to the position in the charts.
The distribution of games in the “top 100” VS “top 10” list can be interpreted like this:
If you appear on the “Top 10” list, you can gain relatively a lot more revenue than with a lower score. From the “top 10” we can see that casino and core games top the list with 4 and 3 games, representing 70% of the total spots.
It is interesting to see if the same conclusions can be drawn for games on iPhone. We only look at the “top 10” list compared with iPad, triggered by the argumentation above.
“Top 10” list for iPhones enhances the foregoing discussion – that core and casino games are well represented. One should believe that casual world and casual innovative games also would score high since these games probably are easier to play on small screens. So even though they score best on the “top 100” list exclusively, it is important and interesting to compare this result to the “top 10”.
This short study shows visually the message that many publishers and industry events already have concluded: Core and Casino games have a very strong representation on iOS top grossing charts. If you group casino and core games (both attracting males), one might conclude that iOS is a more male friendly gaming platform. However, equally you can claim that it is the app discovery problems on iOS that favors more core games. This due to their higher LTVs and their ability to invest more heavily into paid promotions.
All in all, the iOS market is a lot healthier (at least from a gamer point of view) than the desktop Facebook games market. On iOS we see a healthier mix of core, casual and niche games providing a living to even some smaller studios. The smartphone platforms also allow highly innovative games bubble up the charts, something that has been very rare within Facebook gaming. This is a welcoming trend to game developers working with ‘social games’.