App developers may be better off joining smaller app platforms compared to larger stores such as the Apple App Store.
That’s according to research by the UCL School of Management and the University of Toronto at Scarborough which found that large app stores by Apple and Google tend to be crowed and oversaturated making it harder for new app makers to stand out.
In addition, the iOS App Store was found to favour more established app makers and older gaming apps which have already proven their ‘worth’.
“We discovered that as platform companies become increasingly dominant, their governance strategies shift from being largely supportive of the wider complement (app) population to becoming more selective and geared toward consumers,” said Joost Rietveld, Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship.
“Sufficient levels of participation by both consumers and app developers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that cements a platform’s dominant position of power. But not all developers benefit equally; it’s likely a small group of developers will generate most of the value. Essentially, there is a large split between the winners and losers and, importantly, this split becomes bigger as the platform cements its dominant position in the market.”
This has significant disadvantages for emerging app developers. But alternative platforms like Kickstarter and Steam were also making it difficult for small game makers to survive.
The authors conclude that app developers are better off looking for smaller platforms that are less well known.