Report: Unlike Google Android, iPhone’s Top Apps Are Games

It may be a melting pot for far more than games, serving up apps that turn the iPhone into everything from a spirit leveler to a restaurant guide, but the suggestion is that the App Store has remained more of a gaming portal over recent months. That’s according to research published by analytical outfit Distimo, which claims that the App Store has far more of a gaming flavor than Android, which appears to be a hub for more tool-based apps.

Distimo’s most recent report summarizes that games are the most popular purchases on Apple’s App Store, as nine of the top 15 paid apps were games. Android, however, had no games in its top 15.

The results are an encouraging sign for iPhone developers, proving that the App Store isn’t a market to be sniffed at. It’s also evidence of a dedicated marketing drive from Apple, according to PopCap, the studio behind the recent App Store smash Peggle. Director of mobile business development, Andrew Stein, told us that the iPhone is ‘setting the standard’ as far as smart phones are concerned.

‘With its sister iPod Touch, Apple has created an installed base of 40 million plus passionate owners who have a voracious appetite for content,’ Stein wrote to us in an email. ‘The power and polish of the iPhone and iPod Touch make them legitimate gaming machines and real contenders for the dedicated devices like Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. Apple has done a great job promoting games and apps in general, and consumers have really responded to the message that ‘there’s a game for that.”

iPhone aficionados shouldn’t get complacent, however. In Stein’s view, there’s still time enough for Android to make its mark in gaming.

‘It’s still early days for Android phones,’ he continued. ‘The first few devices have sold in far fewer numbers than iPhone and there hasn’t been such strong messaging and promotion of consumer-oriented content.

‘We think that the early Android adopters are more interested in those phones as productivity enhancers than as entertainment devices and that’s what is reflected in the Distimo research. This consumption pattern is probably reminiscent of the early days of the BlackBerry devices before RIM started aggressively courting and successfully attracting a broader customer base over the past couple of years.’

Distino’s research did suggest that Android has a far healthier retro gaming market, with Apple’s ban on emulators holding it back on that score. The suggestion is that once Android gets a firmer foothold, the App Store may have something of a challenge on its hands.

‘We suspect that the mix of content purchased and downloaded on Android will start to look more like the mix on iPhone as more devices launch and attract a more diverse audience,’ Stein said.

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