Apps are a great way for developers to make a bit of cash. And, if an app really takes off, app development can be a pretty lucrative business. In fact, market research firm Canalys writes that 50 percent of App Store revenue is raked in by only 25 developers.
The firm estimates (based on daily App Interrogator surveys) that just 25 developers accounted for 50 percent of U.S. app revenue in Apple's App Store and Google's Play marketplace. Canalys said today that between them, 25 devs made $60 million from paid-for downloads and in-app purchases over a period of 20 days last month.
So, what does it take to become a top app developer? Well, your best shot is probably games. Canalys says that of the top 25, only one was a non-gaming developer. That was Pandora. Pandora aside, the top 25 included Zynga, Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Rovio, Glu, Gameloft and Storm8’s TeamLava. Additionally, you need to have multiple titles available for purchase.
"Part of the story here is that successful game developers almost invariably have multiple titles generating revenue," said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. "Zynga, for example, had 15 titles in the list of top 300 grossing iPhone apps on average in Apple's App Store every day, and nine titles in the equivalent list in the Google Play store. Even with its singular focus on its Angry Birds franchise, Rovio has multiple game variants in the list."
Canalys also mentioned a major issue devs face when going up against heavy-hitters like Angry Birds, highlighting the importance of brand awareness in order to get your app noticed and ensure it sticks out from the crowd.