Apps are big business in today’s technology market. There are over a million apps in the App Store, and a million more available for Android. A staggering 50 billion apps have been downloaded to iOS devices alone. It’s a lucrative market, especially for the players at the top of the charts! Despite these incredible numbers, over half of revenue is eaten up by only 2% of app makers. Those at the top are banking the cash in a big way!
Today we’re looking at some of those major players. We’ll explore the top 12 highest grossing apps of all time. Many of these apps are free to buy; they make their money from in-app downloads. Lots of app developers are now pursuing this route as it’s a much more profitable way of monetizing. The trick is to lure people through the door, and charge them for extra content.
Let’s count down the very best, shall we?
12. myVegas Slots
If you’ve ever been to a casino, you know how addictive it is. You can’t help but raising the stakes and throwing more cash at it. You’re bound to win eventually, right? While we all love to imagine that big jackpot, unfortunately, the house always wins! In this case, it certainly has done. myVegas Slots is one of the premier casino and gambling apps out there. It charges players to buy new chips in order to try their luck.
11. Marvel War of Heroes
You don’t need us to tell you how popular the Marvel franchise has become over the last ten years. The movie franchise is the highest grossing of all time (overtaking Harry Potter). Comic book culture is now mainstream, and here to stay! It’s only natural to find an app right up at the top of the charts. War of Heroes is a Top Trumps style app. You build a deck of the best heroes and villains and battle it out.
10. The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth
Speaking of lucrative franchises, The Hobbit: Kingdom of Middle Earth is next on the list. Hot on the heels of the fantastically popular movie series, the app has made a fortune. Using the characters of the game, you choose to fight as a dwarf or an elf. You’ll raise an army, build a fortress and take on the forces of evil! You’ll also buy lots of upgrades to make sure you win.
9. Weed Firm
Presumably, the incredibly popular Breaking Bad series has inspired this app game. The aim of the game is to build a drug empire by growing marijuana and selling it. Despite the questionable ethics and legality involved here, it’s undoubtedly popular. With in-app purchases buying you more power and influence, it has become a high-earner.
8. Brave Frontier
True gamers don’t always have a lot of respect for the smartphone platform. They’ll typically discard the games as childish, or simple. Perhaps one exception to the rule is Brave Frontier. It’s a roleplaying game (RPG) that has its roots in the traditional console games. Inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy, players explore the vast worlds and build their character. Money is made by paying for access to new worlds and increasing strength points. It looks beautiful in high resolution on a tablet as well.
7. Hay Day
As we move towards the top of the chart, you’ll start to notice a common theme. That’s because most of them are all built by the same company! One such company is Supercell. You might be more familiar with their Clash of Clans game (we’ll come to that later). However, they have a few games in this list; first of all, Hay Day. In this game, you’re a farmer striving to build the biggest and most profitable farm. You can take your time, or cut corners by purchasing upgrades.
6. Boom Beach
This is another Supercell production and takes things from the farm to the beach! In this app, you’re responsible for building a fortress that will keep invading armies at bay. Your settlement is on the side of a beach and under attack from battleships. Those pesky ships will destroy your town if you don’t buy the upgrades!
5. Pet Rescue Saga
Pet Rescue Saga is a game produced by the other major player, King. They are responsible for the phenomenally successful Candy Crush. The lesser known (but still ridiculously profitable) Pet Rescue Saga is similar in scope. It has a Tetris design where you match up coloured blocks to complete the level.
4. Farm Heroes Saga
This is another King produced game, very similar to Pet Rescue Saga. For such a simple concept, the puzzles are devilishly difficult. In order to complete them, you’ll often end up buying extra lives and upgrades.
3. Game of War: Fire Age
It is clear that the settlement and battle games are incredibly popular. One app that capitalises on that is Game of War. You build your empire, fend off armies and slowly take over more land. They are moving into 2015 with a huge new advertising campaign, so expect to see this move up the chart.
2. Candy Crush Saga
If you’ve ever played this game, you know how irritatingly brilliant it is! It’s a simple game of matching coloured blocks, but the difficulty is perfectly balanced. It has spawned dozens of copycats, but none are quite as good as the original.
1. Clash of Clans
And so we come to the end of our list. Clash of Clans is the outright victor, pulling in over $1 million every single day. The goal in Clash of Clans is to build your village and train your army. You battle against other online players with the goal of securing the realm. In-app purchases focus heavily around gems. The more gems you have, the more powerful you become.
The potential for money making within mobile apps is huge. As we have seen, games can make millions for their creators and bring joy to the players! Let us know your favourite app on the list.