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December 16th, 2015

A Closer Look At Just How Much Games Dominate The App Stores

Games have an outsized influence on iOS and Android.

The perception: Mobile games are the dominant app category in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Games get more reviews, are downloaded more and make more money than most other apps. Sometimes it seems that the app stores are basically game delivery services.

The reality: Well, yeah. That is actually all true.

We decided to break games specifically out of our gargantuan overview of the app stores because the games are a beasts of a categories in and of themselves.

For Google Play, it is actually 16 categories. And each one is as big or bigger than almost anything in Apple App Store.

How dominant are games, really? Let’s look at some of the raw numbers.

See also: Instagram Has A Massive App Store Problem

Applause Analytics has crawled about 1.8 million iOS apps and 3.1 million Android apps since late 2012. The sentiment engine has also crawled hundreds of millions of user reviews (about 410.80 million). Taking these numbers and breaking games out of them can show us just how proportionate games are to each app store.

Games Are A Greater Percentage Of The Apple App Store

Applause Analytics has crawled 1,838,170 iOS apps in its lifetime. Of that total volume of apps, 443,524 have classified themselves as games. That means that a little less than a quarter of all iPhone and iPad (24.12%) are games.

From a review standpoint, games dwarf every other category in iOS … by a lot.

Most reviewed categories in the Apple App Store:

  • Games: 41,457,450
  • Social Networking: 5,347,341
  • Entertainment: 4,446,239
  • Photo & Video: 3,873,308
  • Utilities: 2,935,362

Games are the most reviewed category of the App Store, beating number two social networking by 36.1 million reviews.

Overall, game reviews make up 22.99% of  total reviews in the App Store.

Games also tend to be more highly rated than other apps. Of the top 10 apps with more than 10,000 reviews in Google Play or the App Store, five of them are games.

top_apps_appstore_google_play

(Games: Cheats for Emojis, Anondia, Zenonia, Undead Slayer, Trainyard)

Four of the top five most reviewed apps in iOS are games (with Applause Score):

  • 588,776: Word With Friends (82)
  • 542,328: Pinterest (70)
  • 513,524: Move The Box (81)
  • 406,192: Temple Run (92)
  • 383,012: What’s The Word (90)

Apple may or may not have ever intended for the iPhone to become the ultimate gaming engine, but developers have turned it into one. And now they are attempting to do the same with the Apple TV.

Android Games: Massive And Wild

Apple and Google have different categorical hierarchies for how each organizes apps. For instance, Apple has one games category that serves as a catch-all for every game in the App Store. Google is much more granular.

See also: iOS And Android: The State Of The App Stores In 2015

Google has 16 major gaming categories in Google Play.

ARC excluded those game categories from the overview of the app stores report because it would have been too cumbersome to include them all and still make coherent sense of the research.

Here are all 16 major Android gaming categories, with total number of apps for each:

clash_of_clans_android

  • Puzzle: 123,273
  • Casual: 120,874
  • Arcade: 98,632
  • Action: 46,645
  • Adventure: 32,051
  • Education: 30,403
  • Racing: 22,622
  • Simulation: 22,157
  • Trivia: 17,319
  • Card: 15,386
  • star_wars_android_gameCasino: 14,332
  • Strategy: 12,201
  • Roleplaying: 10,226
  • Board: 9,908
  • Word: 7,626
  • Family: 5,381

Total all of the apps together and there have been 589,036 games published to Google Play. The ratio of games to apps is less in Google Play than it is in the App Store as  games make up about 18.5% of total apps in Google Play.

From a review standpoint, all but three (Board, Word, Family) of the gaming subcategories in Android have more than a million reviews. Five Android gaming categories have more than 5 million reviews: Puzzle, Casual, Arcade, Action and Racing. Both Casual (12.72 million) and Arcade (11.12 million) top 10 million reviews, more than double all non-game categories in the Apple App Store.

Android games get a lot of reviews. Strategy games average 497 reviews per app—the highest of all Android games and the most of any category ARC studied. Roleplaying games were second an average 335 reviews per app. The percentage of reviews for games in Google Play is even higher than the App Store. The aggregate reviews for all 16 Android categories (about 71 million) is 31.08% of all Android reviews in Google Play.

A game is the most reviewed app in all of Google Play (Clash Of Clans with 1.83 million reviews), but it is the only app in the top five most reviewed Android apps that is a game. Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and CleanMaster round out the top five.