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iPhone App Store: Top 25 Game Developers Evenly Distributed

Great blog post from Flurry about the ecosystem of iPhone Application developers and how it differs from other mobile storefronts: "Rise of the New Middle Class - Indie iPhone App Developers, Part I". If you are interested in the iPhone App store and/or mobile game development, it's a great read. The high level takeaways:

- The ecosystem of game developers is much different between app stores - The iPhone App store is very balanced: 24 of the 25 top paid game developers each represent 3%-4% of the publisher share - In contrast, AT&T's Media Mall is very unbalanced: EA represents 36%, Namco 12% and Gameloft 12% - Similarly, the balance of developers is different between platforms... what Flurry is calling the new "middle class" on iPhone Apps - Finally pricing and inventory (...and developer communities) differentiate the platforms and top game developers:

EA Mobile is notably absent from the App Store Top 25 snapshot. However, this can be somewhat attributed to the fact that several of their titles are priced at signficantly higher price points, between $4.99 and $9.99

Gaming is the dominant category within the iPhone App store - representing 19% of applications. It would be interesting to see if these trends hold up in other major categories like Books (14%), Entertainment (10%) and Utilities (7%). I assume that is coming in Part II of Flurry's post.


Facebook Connection Targeting: Pages, Applications, Events & Groups

Facebook unveiled a relatively significant enhancement to their targeting and Ads platform... that, for some reason, has gone relatively unnoticed. Facebook now allows advertisers to target users that have engaged with your pages, applications, events and/or groups:

We've released new ad targeting capabilities built specifically for our developer community. Developers can now target ads to users who have never visited their applications to tap into new growth areas in Facebook's social graph. They can also target existing users of their applications to encourage repeat visits. More from Facebook's Justin Osofsky


Facebook's new targeting options are a powerful way to:

- drive distribution of new or existing content (Fan Pages, applications, etc) - deliver coupons or offers for in-application activity (ie Zynga's Mafia Wars) - activity / proximity based targeting (until this, Facebook only allowed demographic based targeting) - convert users into Facebook Fans - conduct user polling - and, for Facebook, capture advertising dollars from developers

Facebook Connect: Making Mobile Gaming Social

Note: this is the second post of a four-post series on how Facebook Connect in changing digital media and online marketing. See the others here

Playfish's 'Who Has the Biggest Brain' is a wide popular Facebook Application and iPhone game. While not new, it is a terrific example of how Facebook Connect can be integrated into gaming environments to make the game more social, sticky and engaging. The game itself is very well done (challenging, fun, smart) but I am even more impressed by the role that Facebook Connect Plays:

- Through the iPhone App, users can connect their Facebook social graph through the mobile Facebook Connect integration

biggest-brain-facebook-connect-friends - Once connected, users are notified of where their score sits within their social graph, instantly encouraging competitiveness. When you pass a friend's high score, the screen animates as you move up the 'podium' - its terrificly clever and yet a simple way to bring relationships to an otherwise one-dimensional game


- Users can share their high scores via the Facebook feed or notifications - and, similarly, users are notified when their scores are surpassed

While Playfish's Facebook Connect integration is not unique, it is a great example (SGN, Zynga and others have also done it well). These are all mobile gaming integrations... but it begs the question: why can't this work on traditional gaming platforms like Xbox Live or the Playstation Network? These are more robust, interesting opportunities that already have web interfaces and thrive on social interactions.

Digital Chocolate Talks iPhone Apps, Gaming

Terrific interview over on VentureBeat. Dean Takahashi speaks with Digital Chocolate's Trip Hawkins about their success on iPhone's App platform.

I encourage you to read the full article but have included two highlights:

About the odds of becoming a #1 iPhone Application and reaching 10 million downloads in 100 days:

There are 35,000 apps [competing on the iPhone]. Thousands are free. To get to No. 1, it’s pretty rare. There is a rotation where something stays at No. 1 for a week or two. The odds are very low. If there are maybe 25 products that have hit No. 1, then your odds are one in a thousand. Penguin was No. 1 through Christmas. Tower Blocks was No. 1 in February. Brick Breaker Revolution made it to No. 1 in April. That’s a mathematical freak. We have now released a fifth game, and a couple of more are coming. The first four games, in less than 100 days, hit 10 million downloads.

On deriving revenue and finding the right price point:

All five of our games are in the top 100 for revenue. Four of our games are in the top 100 by unit volume even though the prices for them are $3 each or more. If you weed out the really cheap products at 99 cents or free, then you find there are only three companies that can command a price of $3 or more and to rank high enough in the top 100 units sold.

Facebook Connects Comes to iPhone, Game-Changing

The best iPhone Apps are those that engage across other properties beyond the iPhone. Zynga, SGN, Playfish and others iPhone power-developers have done a brilliant job of those. For most though, building cross-platform, socially-aware applications has proven difficult and consequently made the majority of applications 'un-sticky'.

But this will all change with Facebook's announcement that Facebook Connect is available for iPhone Applications.

Suddenly gaming becomes social. Applications that before were content delivery mechanisms now have a social graph to relate to.

It's big. In a way it is akin to what Xbox Live does for Xbox... put probably bigger because it is open and more flexible.

InsideFacebook has some screenshots:

Facebook's announcement can be read here:

Now your iPhone apps can enjoy the benefits that Facebook Connect sites and Facebook Platform apps already enjoy, including:

Making API calls so your app can access users' profiles and share information on Facebook. Publishing to Facebook via Feed forms.

Asking users for extended permissions, like offline access, so you can still interact with their data when they're offline.