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Thanks to subscriptions, iPhone apps finally made more money than games

in great shape , Apple’s App Store.

Throughout the short history of smartphone apps, games have consistently generated more revenue than the non-gaming app categories. But that has finally changed in the United States, according to new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

Change began in May 2022. As of June, 50.3 percent of US consumer spending on apps was on non-game apps such as TikTok, Netflix and Tinder. Spending on non-game apps has recently grown at twice the rate of spending on games. Game spending was exploding in late 2019 and early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but by the end of 2020, non-gaming apps caught on, and they overtook games in 2021.

This has been driven in part by change, so many apps have made the subscription-based model of late. Over the years, games generated more revenue, not necessarily because they got more downloads (though they often did) but because their long-term monetization was clearer, more consistent, and more robust thanks to in-app transactions. Other types of apps didn’t have what they were going for, and many were sold for one-time purchase prices or offered a limited number of premium upgrades.

In an effort to boost its revenue from the App Store, Apple reportedly met with developers to publicize a recurring subscription model. Subscriptions have become more common in many types of apps.

Although the subscription model has been controversial with some users at times, it has turned out to be a boon to the overall revenue on the app marketplace. Sensor Tower noted that 400 different apps managed at least $1 million in consumer spending in the second quarter of 2022 on Apple’s App Store. In the same quarter, 61 App Store apps reached at least $10 million, which is more than the $1 million number in 2016.

However, it’s important to note that this change only applies to Apple’s iPhone and iPad app stores. Games are still generating more revenue on Google Play, the app store for competing Android platforms. In fact, it’s not even close: US consumers spent $2.3 billion on Google Play games in the second quarter of 2022, but almost $1 billion on non-games.

And even on Apple’s App Store, games still dominate consumer spending in most places outside the United States.

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