Frankly, I saw this coming: with all the offers and deals that have started to pop up in the App Store since last week, the rapid arise of games in the App Store charts doesn't come as a surprise at all. Still, the results and numbers are noteworthy: while counting all the games in the App Store is nearly impossible (at least basing on official data, which Apple doesn't provide), we can simply take a look at the "Top Paid Apps" and "Top Grossing Apps" charts to see what happened.
Games are dominating the Thanksgiving week in the App Store. Especially on the iPhone App Store, where at the moment of writing this only 26 apps out of the top 100 are non-games apps. The fact that we refer to them as "non-games apps" also tells a lot about the environment Apple created. The situation is slightly different on the iPad App Store ("only" 40,000 apps, newer platform) but the trend is just about the same on both the stores. Games are selling like hotcakes, huge discounts or not.
Now, this makes me wonder. First off, what's going to happen with the Mac App Store coming up in January? Are we going to write a similar post come Thanksgiving next year about games taking over the Mac App Store? Or will the more complicated nature of desktop applications affect the popularity of gaming software in other ways? Most of all -- are game developers going to jump on the Mac boat just because the App Store brand is expanding?
The success of the App Store is something we all know and have been writing about, the success of games in the App Store is a factor Apple has been touting as a key to the success of their business model just recently. They think the iPod Touch is the most popular gaming console out there. If you add the iPhone and iPad to the mix, it becomes difficult to prove Jobs wrong. I think that what we're seeing here is a radical departure from the classic concept of gaming: it's not really about the hardware anymore, it's about the availability of everyday software on that hardware. Whether this is the worst thing that ever happened to hardcore gamers is a subject we'll leave, well, to hardcore gamers.
So let's think about Thanksgiving again. In the most important time of the year (at least in the US, shopping-wise), the App Store is falling under the weight of people's wallets being emptied to purchase games -- no matter how big the discount is. When it's shopping time, people buy games. Look at the numbers, consider the data, and it's all clear: the App Store is becoming a platform about games.
You could argue developers of non-games apps aren't offering as many discounts as game developers are. Fine. But why are game developers offering those deals in the first place? Because they know it's the right thing to do in the App Store. Go prove them wrong with iTunes' window open on the charts.
You could also argue the explosion of games is happening this week, but won't last in the long run because the App Store is about apps. Have you looked at the charts, new & noteworthy, staff picked sections in the past 6 months? Maybe it's time to revise your thinking and accept the fact that the App Store you used to know and love in 2008 isn't the same anymore. It's gone.
The App Store has changed. It's changing in the very same moment you're reading this because of users clicking the Buy button to download Angry Birds. And no one but Apple can stop it from becoming something we had no idea of the day we downloaded our very first app.