“No one remembers second place” is an old adage that rings particularly true for the mobile gaming market. The attention-grabbing headlines go to Rovio’s “Angry Birds” or Halfbrick’s “Fruit Ninja” but, for mobile game developers and publishers, it can be demotivating to never see your smart, engaging game “in lights”.

In order to shed some light on what really “wins” in mobile gaming, App Annie conducted a study of the U.S. Apple iPhone App Store using market estimates taken from their premium product App Annie Intelligence. The study compared gaming apps in terms of popularity and revenue rankings in the short-term versus the long-term1. Our analysis found that while many iPhone games fly under the radar, never appearing in the Top 25 Grossing rankings of iPhone Games, those that hold a consistent position over a longer time actually outperform the quickly rising stars in terms of revenue. Contrary to popular wisdom, ranking dominance and media buzz are not the only keys to game success. The winning strategy lies in creating solid games that people love to play over and over again and that stay popular over a long period of time, instead of going out in a flash.

For total U.S. revenue generated within 12 months after launching, “long-term” games outperformed “short-term” games by more than 32 percent on average. In respect to the individual apps that made the most money, the best performing “long-term” game made 83 percent more than the best “short-term” game.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.