This Week in Apps #125 - Another Overnight Success
This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.
U.S. Games Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. Another Overnight Sensation Comes and Goes - The Numbers Behind MD Vinyl
A new(ish) app jumped to the top of the App Store last week and in a true "overnight success" fashion, dropped far and fast within just a few days...
In case you haven't seen it, I'm talking about MD Vinyl, an app that adds a widget to your iPhone with a spinning record while you listen to your music.
Let's have a look at what being an "overnight success" this summer means in terms of downloads and revenue.
MD Vinyl claimed the #1 spot in the US App Store between Tuesday and Saturday last week, but it didn't magically appear there. Instead, it slowly traveled up the top chart for a few days. It had a similar trend while going down.
Before this crazy week started, the five-month-old app was getting around a thousand downloads a day, according to our estimates. Considering what it does, that's a bit higher than I'd expect.
It then started climbing the charts, peaking at 241 thousand downloads last Friday. That's massive! Our estimates put the total for the last 30 days at a million downloads worldwide, a little over half of which came from the US.
But easy come, easy go... By Tuesday, MD Vinyl was no longer the top app. It actually disappeared completely from the Top Apps list in the US. According to our estimates, on Tuesday, MD Vinyl saw around 18 thousand downloads, a fraction of last Friday.
Here's the kicker - I haven't been able to figure out what caused MD Vinyl to pop. I couldn't find a clever TikTok campaign or even an accidental one. And I searched! If you have a clue, please let me know.
But more importantly, regardless of how, what this shows us is that is is possible to rise up the charts, even in 2022.
Oh, I also promised revenue, which MD Vinyl earns using an in-app purchase (not a subscription) that unlocks unlimited songs. Oh, I forgot to mention, even though the songs come from Apple Music or Spotify, MD Vinyl won't spin them unless you pay.
So, does popular mean money? Not in this case. According to our estimates, MD Vinyl earned just $44 thousand in net revenue in the last 30 days. At a one-time cost of $2.99 that nets out to roughly 21 thousand purchases, which, if you continue doing math on, suggests 2.1% of downloads turned into money. And it's not a subscription, so that's pretty low.
So more more importantly, make sure your app has a business model that makes sense.
Also, check the grammar of your paywall. MD Vinyl didn't, and I can't unsee it.
2. The App That Won the Mega Millions Lottery
The Mega Millions lottery had its biggest jackpot, a whopping $1.3 billion. I'm not a lottery player, so I didn't care much about it until I noticed this craze has also taken over mobile.
Of course it did! But...
Jackpocket Lottery rose to the top of the App Store last week because it lets people buy lottery tickets from their phones. Something I didn't think was legal, but seems to be.
Here's what's interesting - Jackpocket isn't an official app but rather a 3rd party app!
As everyone raced towards the opportunity of becoming a billionaire, Jackpoket Lottery was downloaded more than a million times, according to our estimates. And that's in just a few days.
Downloads peaked on Thursday at a little over 234 thousand downloads, the majority of which came from the App Store, and declined sharply over the weekend and after the draw.
While the numbers are pretty big, none of this is surprising. A lot of money on the line got people to do what's easiest and that was to burn their cash using an app. There are quite a few casino games that do that.
But more serious now, this is another trend that brings more IRL interactions, which tend to be more strict when it comes to lottery, into mobile devices, where they're easier, smoother, and way more convenient.
3. Scooter Apps are Gearing Up for their Best Year of Downloads
Scooter rental apps peak in August. That's been the case every year since electric scooters became a serious mode of transportation a few years ago.
With August (kind of) ahead, I wanted to look at 2022's numbers to see if we should be expecting a spectacular year for scooters, or whether the craze is all done and micro-mobility, as scooters tend to be called, is dead.
Before I get into the numbers, what do you think?
2022 is going to be big!
I've charted the downloads of Bird and Lime in the US, the two most popular options and also most available. And I focused on the US because it's where most of the demand is coming from + because the two aren't all available in the same countries, and I wanted to keep this and apples to apples comparison.
With the exception of April of 2020, aka covid, downloads have been consistently rising on pretty much an annual cycle, which means growing more in the summer and less in winter. Which makes sense, considering these aren't really the best when it's cold and raining but are super fun when it's nice and sunny.
Back to downloads. According to our estimates, Bird and Lime saw 250K new downloads in July of 2020, each. That nearly doubled to 440K in July of 2020 for Bird and a tiny bit less for Lime.
Bird welcomed 615K new users from the US in July of 2022, and Lime saw 540K, according to our estimates.
If you do the math quickly, August should add close to three-quarters of a million new users for BIrd and a bit less for Lime, and that's only in the US. So yes, I predict August 2022 will be the biggest month of downloads for these two.
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4. Global Demand for Games Declined by 9% in July - Here are the Most Downloaded Games in the World
July is behind us, which means it's time for me to crunch the numbers and rank the most downloaded mobile games in the world as I do every month. And it's summer, so I expect more downloads.
Let's start at the top. Stumble Guys was the most downloaded game in the world in July, with 34 million estimated downloads. It almost tied last month's winner, Subway Surfers, but beat it by a few downloads. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, the answer is yes. Stumble Guys is a hyper-casual title.
App Tracking Transparency and all, a hyper-casual title still managed to make its way into 34 million devices.
Roblox, Candy Crush Saga, and Bridge Race round up the top 5.
A couple of noteworthy mentions from July's ranking:
- Among Us! made the list again. Downloads have been stagnant for a while now, but rose a bit in July. Enough to push it back into our list. Seeing Among Us! not become an Angry Birds is a good reminder that success isn't just about luck.
- Two China-only titles made the list on the App Store side. Dark Zone Breakthrough and Honor of Kings. Considering both are only available in China (and I'm not including derivatives here), that's a pretty serious achievement.
Together, the top 10 most downloaded games in the world made their way into 184 million devices, according to our App intelligence. That's a drop of nearly 10% from June, which surprised me a bit. Summer and all.
App Tracking Transparency is probably to blame, but beyond that, there hasn't been a breakout success this summer like there has been in years before. That means there's probably room for that to happen, but it might just mean we won't get one...
What's your summer favorite? Tell me on Twitter
5. In-Game Spending in the US Grew in July - Here are the Highest Earning Games
This week I also ranked the highest earning games in the US in July. Judging by the big drop in downloads, I expected a drop in revenue, but the numbers really surprised me.
Let's start in reverse. The top 10 highest earning games in the US in July raked in $421 million in net revenue, according to our estimates. That's a little more than 6% higher than July. A big difference!
Candy Drush was the highest earning game in the US, bringing in more than $129 million in net revenue, roughly $184 million gross, from the App Store and Google Play, according to our estimates.
Candy Crush is on fire these days. It set a new record for itself and for our ranking a few months ago and continues to break that record monthly. It's hard to beat a well-known name.
Roblox was a distant second in the race, earning less than half. $60 million in net revenue. And keep in mind, net means after Apple and Google take their 30% chunk.
Pokemon GO, Coin Master, and Bingo Blitz round up the top 5.
If you're comparing this list to June's you'll notice there are quite a few replacements, meaning the highest earning games aren't stagnant. That's good news. The names aren't that new though, so it's not easy. But success isn't impossible.
This is a small portion of a broader trend I'm seeing here, and that's rising revenue. Is it possible the lack of silly games, the kind ATT made harder to push, is getting users to focus their in-game spending?
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.