The climb to the top has become steep for game developers looking to reach number one spots in the US Apple App Store game charts.
According to data from Sensor Tower, mobile games needed 47% more downloads to reach the top spot in 2019 compared to 2016.
To reach the highest ranks requires 174,000 downloads, which is 85% more than the 94,000 installs required for non-game apps.
The median number of installs needed for an app to reach the top spot among non-games dropped 31% in 2019.
There’s some good news too: non-game iPhone app installs rose 33% over the last three years on the US App Store. And the median number of downloads needed for non-games to reach the top of the US Free iPhone App charts dropped 34%.
This decline was even more pronounced for Google Play charts where daily downloads to reach the top charts dropped 65% from 209,000 in 2016 to 74,000 in 2019. The decrease centers on apps such as Messenger, Facebook, Snapchat, Pandora and Instagram.
The findings could mean that the social media app market has become saturated and downloads for the top apps such as Facebook declined. Snapchat and Bitmoji were the last two apps to have a high level of success with downloads exceeding 3.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
But what are the top gaming categories to reach the top 10?
According to Sensor Tower, Photo and Video apps set the bar high with a median daily 16,000 downloads required to reach the top 10. That’s followed by Shopping apps (15,300), Social Networking (14,500) and Entertainment (12,600) and Productivity (12,400) apps.
China is the toughest market in which to rise to the top 10. Non-game apps require around 91,000 downloads to be among the top 10 in the App Store in China compared to 49,000 in the US.
On Google Play, India by far outranks any other country requiring 256,000 downloads for non-game apps and 117,000 downloads for gaming apps.
When it comes to games, things are quite the opposite. According to the latest data, the increase in downloads needed to perform well in the charts may be a consequence of the rise of hyper-casual games.
On Google Play, hyper-casual game downloads for the top spot were fairly consistent with median daily installs increasing to 116,000 from 70,000 in 2017. That’s a growth of 66%. Overall, game downloads on the platform dropped 16%.