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Open the App store right now.

Take a look at the top 25 free apps right now. Look carefully. Yes, most of them are games.

In the screenshot below taken a couple of days ago 15 of the top 25 apps are games. 1 category for more than half of the hits. Take a lot at the Top 50, most of them are games also.

No surprise.

Games are the hit category. Games are also the most monetized vertical and therefore the section where most apps are investing in paid marketing to get up the charts [we’re talking big money].

The only problem with that is that, Games are distorting the discovery of the other 20 categories. It is really really hard to get noticed in the charts if you’re not a game. And quite frankly this is not fair. Some manage to get up there: Facebook (mmm..wonder why…) or regularly featured apps (Pandora, Instagram), and sometimes other types of apps [we did this week with appsfire, but more on that in another post..]

Games are a store in the store. It is the only category, that has sub-categories because the catalog is too deep. See below

Apple would make a great service to the developers’ community but also to gamers, if, like music, movies, books, they created a separate store with its own sub categories, allowing other verticals to surface for and get really discovered.

Games have their own nervous center (the Game center), their key monetization path (in app, which is mostly used by games), its own user base and ecosystem (from developers, to app networks like openfeint or scoreloop). Games are a separate vertical and should be treated in a separate store.

More games would be found, More non games would be visible. Here is our Suggestion: Transform the game center in the Game Store. or add a section to it. You can still give access to Games in the App Store for cross merchandising, but clearly separate them.

Google has done it already in the Android market. In Retail and the Software industry, games are not sold next to productivity software, even in Apple Stores.

So why mix them? There may be some good reasons like: by looking for games you can discover other sections you would not know. But that is not enough. Games have too much inertia.

The app economy is too big now to mix everything altogether.

More clarity is good for all.

Do you agree?

  • http://www.stephanerangaya.com Anonymous

    I think it’s a great idea. I’m not really into games.

  • http://twitter.com/jdsweet J Sweet

    Idea definitely has some merit.  One thing, though – have you thought about gamification of your app?  Perhaps if you converted your “to-do list” productivity app into a first-person shooter – or your recipe app into Angry but Succulent Birds – you might find your app shooting up those charts faster than Sonic the Hedgehog on a meth binge.  #justsayin

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      well this is a complex way to look at making a great app :)

  • Anonymous

    Seems like some really cool stuff to me dude. wow.
    anon-toolz.se.tc

  • Anonymous

    After training everyone to go to the App Store, will Apple really want to push consumers somewhere else? Plus, demand for games is creating traffic in the App Store that presumably all app types benefit from, if occasionally a game-seeker runs into an intriguing non-game app. 

    Seems like a problem with the App Store’s discovery systems for non-game apps more than anything.

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      Valid point, but the reality is that non Gamers don’t care about Games and that Gamers most likely care enough about games to browse 2 different sections

    • Anonymous

      Newsstand is doing that right now for periodicals. Doesn’t seem to have hurt either publishers or users. It provides a separate area/access for magazines and newspapers, but still is connected to the overall App Store. No reason why Apple couldn’t do the same for games.

      • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

        exactly

  • Justin

    This is an AWFUL idea! If you put games in another store then traffic to this store will take a huge hit! 

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      Wait, there are huge best sellers driving traffic to non games: Facebook, Pandora, Flashlights, battery apps…..
      i don t think a second that would have an impact

  • http://twitter.com/statclicks Jon F

    App discovery is horrible, Apple has failed in this area and needs to do better.  

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      well this is an instant way for them to leverage the 20 other categories

  • Mujamak

    I love this idea!

  • Anonymous

    You could do it like is being done with Music, Videos, iBooks, NewsStand, and Game Center now:

    Link to a category in the App Store directly from the app driving the content.

    For example you could link to the Productivity Store direct from iWork apps or a dedicated iCloud app.

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      good idea

  • Jon B

    Games are my primary reason for visiting the app store. Take them out, and I don’t know that I would be as likely to see their non-game apps.

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      Well you would games conveniently for sure.

      sent from a rather smart phone

  • http://airylabs.com Airy Labs

    I definitely agree. I think it’s a great idea! 

  • http://twitter.com/sylvainww Sylvain Gauchet

    Sounds like a good idea to me. I wouldn’t have to skip through all the games anymore, and it would be easier to discover good apps.

    I wonder how many people end up downloading an app while they were looking for a game though 

  • http://twitter.com/philterdesign Philip Chung

    The more I read and research this area of app discoverability (I wrote some thoughts myself on how to improve the app store experience: http://www.philterdesign.com/?p=172), the more I see that making apps easier to find isn’t really all that important for Apple or Google. What’s more important is that consumers are exposed to lots of different apps, so making things harder to find actually meets that goal. It is frustrating as a developer though as it makes your app much more difficult to find and puts more importance on being at the top of the charts.

    • http://appsfire.com/ AppsFire

      Philip we believe apple and google are just not focused on this problem because downloads are just growing and hide the fact there’s a pain for users an developers.

      _____________________
      *Sent from an iPhone 4S*

  • http://twitter.com/raulmoreno1 raul moreno

    Agree. Maybe Game Center will become that.