The business of selling iPhone apps has come from nowhere to a multi-billion dollar industry in just a few years. There are now over 500 thousand apps in the app store. But which ones are making the really big money and how has the design of these apps impacted their sales?
Read on to find out!
1. Angry Birds
The design: Angry Birds is the 21 century equivalent to Mario Brothers in terms of design, it’s structure is very similar and the colours used also resemble early super mario games.
Rovio Entertainment of Finland are the company behind the Angry Birds franchise. The game was originally launched as an app for the iPhone in 2009 but is now also available for iPad, Google Chrome and Android phones.
The original version has been joined by 3 new versions; Angry Birds Seasons (2010), Angry Birds Rio (2011) and Angry Birds Space (2012). All of them have done well and Angry Birds had its billionth download in May 2012.
Rovio recorded a net income of 48 million Euros in 2011.
The Design: These two games are unique in that they both have relatively different designs but still kind of feel the same. Likely die to the fact that they were both developed by the same company. They both remind me of tamagotchi games.
These two games were number one and four respectively in the top grossing apps of 2011. They are developed by Pocket Gems of San Francisco who have mastered the art of in app sales. Both games are free downloads but players can buy coins and gems in the game using real money to help them on their way. Exact revenue is not known but is estimated to be over $50 million so far.
3. Fruit Ninja
The Design: Very well designed game with a lot of color and a fun-ness about it that is really charming.
“The most popular fruit slicing game in the world”, Fruit Ninja was second most popular paid app in 2011. It belongs to the Australian company called Halfbrick Studios. Over 10 million copies of Fruit Ninja have been sold at $0.99 each.
The Design: This is designed like a classic adveenture game. It really grips you with its dark-edgy feel and doesn’t let go easily. This game is one i’m surprised they managed to fit on the ios memory. Really good!
Developed by Epic Games, Infinity Blade was the first iPhone game to use the new Unreal Engine for its graphics. The resulting graphics combined with exciting game play meant that Infinity Blade made over $10 million in the first six months of its release.
5. Cut the Rope
The Design: The game so good, it won a bafta! Cute, cool, charming. I don’t think any more needs to be said on the matter.
Cut the rope is developed by Zeptolab from Russia. Over 60 million people have downloaded the app worldwide and they say that an incredible 1.6 million people use it on a daily basis. At $0.99 per download, they’re doing okay.
6. Doodle Jump
The Design: The design is particularly inspiring because it is so simple. It was designed to be addictive and it clearly has not missed its mark. It is probably one of the more addictive games i’ve played in the last few years. Bar none.
A long time fixture in the top earning apps list, Doodle Jump has over 10 million downloads and a price tag of $0.99. The game was developed by Croatian company Lima Sky.
7. Tiny Wings
The Design: Tiny wings looks like it was hand drawn (and it very well might of been, being devleoped by just one guy) and it comes off very unique. I personally got bored of it after a while as i tend to prefer more mainstream, standard designed games to niche designs like this one.
If you’re looking for the one man success story. The guy who developed his own app which became an overnight success, Andreas Illiger is your man. Andreas is the German developer of Tiny Wings which has been downloaded more than 5.6 million times from the app store. At $0.99 each, he’s not doing too bad.
8. Draw Something:
The Design: This is definitely a game designed for multi player action. It really makes you want to play it and not just alone. I don’t know exactly how this is achieved but it seems to have been by the guys over at OMGPOP. It has a blueish, childlike design that’s very endearing a fun.
This is the ultimate story of selling at the top of the curve. Draw Something only launched on 6 February 2012 but in its first 50 days it had already been downloaded 50 million times. That’s when Zynga stepped in and acquired Draw Something’s creators OMGPOP for a cool $180 million. Shortly after that it seemed that users got bored and moved on and their daily usage figures have been dropping ever since.
The Design: This is probablty the simplest app design in the list. It kind of gets out of your way and lets you enjoy all the cool features this app has. It’s design is a simple black and silver with various filters along with it.
Not all the top-earning applications are games. One of the best-selling is Camera+ from tap tap tap. The photo app improves the iPhone’s already impressive camera. As of June 2012 it had been downloaded over 8 million times and has revenue of well over $5.1 million.
10. Texas Poker
The Design: I’ll be honest, i don’t find this design as addictive as WSOP’s version of the poker game. But still very effective this game is fun and can keep you occupied for some time!
Owned by a Russian company called Kama Games, Texas Poker was ranked number seven in the list of top grossing apps in 2011. It’s a free download but with revenue estimated at $20 million, their gamble certainly paid off.
The Design: Simple, like the capture + design but accomplishes a very different goal. This app and its design is much more geared towards sharing than it is to just taking pictures and editing them. Infact the editing features leave a lot to be desired. But judging by the number of users they have. I am the only one desiring.
This is another way to make money with apps. Build up a huge user base and then sell to a company with a lot of money spare. Instagram had been operating for less than 2 years when it was acquired by Facebook in a deal worth $1 billion. Instagram are said to have 30 million users but zero revenue.
Be sure to check out our iphone app templates, they’ll help you sort out the design of your app so you don’t have to worry anymore. Using our templates, at a cost of only $79 per, will also save you $1,000’s in design.