Games get to the top of App Store ranks easier than other apps | Cult of Mac

Games get to the top of App Store ranks easier than other apps

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Competition is making things harder, but game apps climb the App Store charts much more easily than non-game apps.
Competition is making things harder, but game apps climb the App Store charts much more easily than non-game apps.
Photo: Sensor Tower

New data from a couple of analytics firms shows that it’s harder now than ever to get an app to the top of App Store rankings, thanks to stiffer competition.

But the data shows that gaming apps have an easier time of it than other types of apps.

Race to the top of App Store charts is easier for gaming apps

Analytics company Sensor Tower reported Friday it now takes about 156,000 daily downloads for a non-game app to reach the number one slot in App Store rankings. That’s up quite a bit from 2019, when it took 114,000 daily downloads.

But it’s a bit lower than what it took in 2020. That’s when COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns swept the globe. That year, a non-game app had to have 185,00 daily downloads to reach the top, which was an increase of 62% over 2019.

Although the number of downloads required to nab the top spot has dropped since 2020, it’s still elevated from before the pandemic.

This chart shows median daily downloads needed to be the No. 2 free app, year over year.
This chart shows median daily downloads needed to be the No. 1 free app, year over year.
Photo: Sensor Tower

Mobile games

The situation unfolds a bit differently for mobile games. Sensor Tower noted that the median number of installs a game app needs in 2022 to reach the pinnacle of App Store rankings is 93,000, down 46% from 2019’s 171,000.

It’s worth noting that Apple has additional criteria for its rankings than simple downloads, as TechCrunch said. It noted app analytics company Apptopia said it reverse-engineered Apple’s ranking algorithms. Cupertino apparently considers factors like app usage, velocity, quantity of new users, number of uninstalls and App Store ratings.

But a basic increase in user numbers isn’t always all positive news for new apps. Apptopia said apps that quickly climb the charts often garner more negative reviews because their larger pool of users generate more bugs reports and complaints.