20% of iOS Game Devs Are Making 97% of the Money

We’ve all heard the stories of the kids who sat in their basements coding hit iOS games that go on to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’ve also heard about the likes of Rovio, a company that makes more money than it knows what to do with because some clever fellow decided that throwing birds at pigs would be fun.

There is money to be made in the App Store, so long as you’re in the top 20% of iOS developers that are making a whopping 97% of the money that’s out there…

So, how’s that work? Well, Owen Goss, founder of Streaming Colour Studios (and previously a developer at Electronic Arts Canada) decided to do a little survey, and spoke to 252 iOS game developers with the aim of finding out just how they were doing when it came to making the cash. The results are quite surprising, and indeed shocking if you’re planning on getting into iOS game development.

“The results also showed that the top one percent of iOS game developers — again, in terms of lifetime revenue intake — earn over a third of all game revenue from the App Store. Hence, the bottom 80 percent are earning just 3 percent of the revenue.”

Just as telling is the news that while 25% of those audited made $30,000 or more in lifetime total revenue, the bottom 25% made less than $200. Factor in the cost of an iPad or an iPhone, and they made a loss.

It’s clear that if you’re going to make a success of releasing iOS apps, and not just games, there is a certain degree of luck in whether you make money or not. Getting picked up by the best websites, going viral on Twitter, and being recommended by Apple can all be as important as actually producing a good app.

If you’re an iOS, or even Android developer, we’d love to hear your feedback on this in the comments. Do you agree or disagree with these findings?