The App Store is famous for offering literally thousands of pieces of software for Apple’s iPhone, including a huge number of games developed by small, independent studios that are just breaking into the industry. But success, or even just getting noticed, is often dependent upon an app’s position on the App Store charts, and as Assyria Game Studios Managing Director Adam Green notes, that space is being seriously squeezed by the big boys.
Major publishers bring brand awareness to the App Store that independent start-ups just can’t match, Green said. “Examples of this can already be seen on iPhone as the likes of EA and Ubisoft dominate the top 10 slots of the App Store. A year ago it was full of unique independent games.”
“Without very careful monitoring and design of the online stores, I can’t see the small developers managing to get sufficient exposure next to the likes of Assassin’s Creed in the future,” he continued. “Constant production of small-scale games, while ok at the moment, is unlikely to be very sustainable as consumer expectation grows.”
Ironically, Green thinks that as the iPhone user base continues to grow – driven in large part by the success of the App Store – so will the demand for high levels of “polish and quality,” which is presumably easier to achieve with larger development teams. “As broadband and cellular data network speeds increase, this market and the size of games in it will gradually increase,” he said. “This will lead to increased consumer expectation of digital distributed games and therefore more difficulty for a small team in terms of getting noticed on these kinds of platforms.”