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9 games make at least $20 million on the Appstore in 2011

By on December 20, 2011
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How much money can you make on iOS? That’s a pretty key question if you are trying to work out if it is worth your effort to develop for the platform.

Owen Goss of Streaming Color compiled a fascinating survey of iOS developers, which said that 4% of iOS developers were making revenue of $1 – $10 million.

But looking at the top-grossing charts on the Appstore (top grossing iOS UK, top grossing iOS US), we can start getting a view of many games are making serious money.

Did we make more than Infinity Blade?

In June 2011, Epic confirmed that Infinity Blade has made $10 million in net revenue on iOS. In October 2011, developer Chair Entertainment, the subsidiary of Epic that developed Infinity Blade confirmed that the game had had 5 million downloads and generated $20 million in net revenue.

Infinity Blade is ranked #9 on the US top grossing list for the whole of 2011 (#14 in the UK).Making the heroic assumption that performance in the US is the key to revenues, I therefore estimate that at least 9 games made more than $20 million in net revenue in 2011.

Rank

Title

Price

Category

1

Tap Zoo

Free

Games

2

Angry Birds

$ 0.99

Games

3

Zombie Farm

Free

Games

4

Tap Pet Hotel

Free

Games

5

Poker by Zynga

Free

Games

6

Smurfs Village

Free

Games

7

Texas Poker

Free

Games

8

Haypi Kingdom

Free

Games

9

Infinity Blade

$ 5.99

Games

10

MotionX GPS Drive

$ 0.99

Navigation

 

Did we make more than Tiny Tower?

Tiny Tower is ranked #49 in the US top-grossing charts. Back in July, I estimated that the company is on track to make over $3 million in revenue from Tiny Tower alone. (Given that Tiny Tower developer Nimblebits also developed Pocket Frogs – ranked #44 – they’re doing rather well this year).

I believe that this estimate is very much on the low side, and that Tiny Tower is tracking significantly ahead of my original estimate. Even so, that means that 48 games on the AppStore made more than $3 million in 2011, and potentially much more.

Is iOS a viable platform for games?

Er, YES.

We’ve got 80 of the top-grossing apps in the US in 2011 being games. We’ve got at least 9 games making $20 million. We’ve got nearly 50 games making, conservatively, $3 million, and probably much more.

That looks like a viable platform to me.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com