Earning Greenback in iPhone App Store

I read an article recently that begged the question, “can developers still make money in the iPhone app store?”  This is interesting because Apple has really looked to make the user experience seamless, and since they now boast over 25,000 applications, I’m pretty sure some of those are busts, and of course some of those are gems.  but since we all can’t be Rovio and make upset, feathered animal games, can we still earn a pretty penny as a developer in this mature market?

I read a blog post in researching this subject and it seems that you can.  According to a simple question posted on Quora, “What are the all-time highest grossing iPhone apps?”, the response was:

Apps that are estimated to have made over $10M before Apple cut:+ Angry Birds (Chillingo, Rovio)+ Tweetie (Atebits)+ Bejeweled 2 (PopCap)

Other high-grossing apps (estimated over $1M):+ Cut the Rope (Chillingo, Zeptolab), Doodle Jump (Lima Sky), Navigon Mobile Navigator (Navigon), TomTom, Flight Control (Firemint), The Sims 3 (EA), Madden NFL 10 (EA), The Oregon Trail (Gameloft), The Moron Test (Distinct Developments), TextFree Unlimited (Pinger), ColorSplash (PocketPixels)…”

Peter Clark, in the same question response on Quora writes, “about 9% of Twitter users use the Tweetie iPhone client [1]. Tweetie sells for $2.99 (and there were two versions.)  if we assume 25M twitter users, and Tweetie 1 had 4% (based on quick googling) market share, and Tweetie has 9% market share, that is approx 4,000,000 downloads at $2.99 a pop: $12M, minus the Apple Tax (30%) that means the Tweetie developer has made approx $8,400,000. “  These numbers look pretty good.  but what if I’m not making apps that support one of the biggest social media sites on the planet?  According to some, it’s all in how you go to bat.

In an article on Flurry, Simon Khalaf writes, “Studying the questions, the answer came down to a matter of basic execution: a great concept, a good user experience, tight marketing and a smart distribution plan. those factors helped “thrust” the title into the “orbit” of the top Sellers category. then the real “booster” of superior merchandising placement kicked in. “  in a previous post, I mentioned that app store games are taking more and more market share from handheld video gaming companies like Nintendo and Sony.  This has to be because not everyone wants to play Madden 2012, or call of Duty.  Some people honestly wanna play Paper Toss during the last 15 minutes of their lunch break or on the train ride back home.  This is where the money is made.  You don’t have to spend years creating Gears of War 3, you have to create a simple, fun, and addicting game that benefits from viral media.  Market it will and the money is yours.  in that same article, Khalaf writes, “there appears to be more of a middle class in the App Store; that is, more companies bringing in respectable revenues. This is particularly true when comparing revenue distribution across iPhone Apps versus what games and apps earned on traditional carriers like Verizon and Sprint. This is due in large part to the free trial, better navigation, community ratings and superior discovery solved by Apple in their store. What this means for developers is that if they release a title with a strong concept and solid production values – even if it doesn’t have a known brand associated with it — and they market it well, they can have a hit and make money.”  makes sense to me.

All in all, you don’t have to create Angry Birds 7 (or whatever they’re up to now).  You can’t make crap, but you don’t have to make a masterpiece either.  despite a mature market, there’s still plenty of coin to be earned and advertising dollars to be spent.  So grab your closest friend that majored in computer programming and get to work.  in the words of Blake from Glengary Glenn Ross, “the money’s out there waiting for you.  You pick it up it’s yours.  You don’t, I got no sympathy for ya.”  Go get em!