Popular iPhone games stay highly-ranked only for a few weeks

With 40,000+ Games to choose from, the list of Top 100 free and paid games are frequently scanned by iPhone gamers. In this short post, I’ll share some basic statistics on popular games sold through the U.S. iTunes app store1.

How much time does a popular game app spend ranked in the Top 100? In the chart below I calculated how many different days an app appears2 on a Top 100 list. On average (i.e., using the median), a popular Paid game appears on the Top 100 chart on 15 different calendar days3:


A related metric is the proportion of days4 a popular app is on the Top 100 charts: for every 100 days its available in iTunes, a typical popular Paid game is on the Top 100 list on 5 different days.


How long does it take to secure a spot on a Top 100 list? Judging by the median age5 at chart debut, Top 100 game apps tend to crash the charts within a few days of their appearance in iTunes.


(1) Data for this post includes all U.S. iTunes (game) apps from 7/27/2008 to 5/30/2010. Most game apps work on iphones and ipads.

(2) For each app that has ever appeared in either the Top 100 Paid/Free Games lists, I counted the number of different (and possibly non-consecutive) days that app is on the list.

(3) However, the MEDIAN number of days between an app’s Top 100 chart debut and final appearance, is 20 days for paid apps and 13 days for free apps.

(4) (# of different days app is in the Top 100) / (# of different days app is in iTunes)

(5) Days between (first appearance in iTunes) and (first appearance on Top 100 list).


  • Visit iphone.oreilly.com for a complete list of books and resources to successfully create, distribute, and market iPhone apps.
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