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Microsoft: The top 20 highest grossing Windows Phone apps all use in-app purchases

Microsoft has issued some new statistics concerning downloads of apps from both the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store, and perhaps the most interesting number in this update is that all of the top 20 highest grossing Windows Phone apps have some kind of in-app purchase feature.

Microsoft also said that of the top 50 highest grossing Windows Phone apps, 44 used in-app purchases. The company stated:

"In-app purchase of durable and consumable digital products is the model that has grown the fastest in the Windows Phone store, and is becoming an increasingly significant source of revenue in the Windows store. Advertising also continues to grow, although it is a more significant source of revenue in Windows than Windows Phone. The paid apps model is beginning to show a slight decline as developers move to the "freemium" app model that offers both in-app purchases and/or advertising as a potential revenue source. As the adoption of in-app purchasing continues, particularly of consumable in-app purchases, we expect this to become an increasingly significant source of revenue."

Microsoft added that while the majority of Windows Phone apps have in-app prices at or below $2, the apps in the top 20 have in-app purchase options that go up to $99.99, "with the average being $24.84 and a mean of $10.99."

Microsoft also offered some general updates on app downloads for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. Windows Phone 8.1 became the primary download source for the entire Windows Phone platform in September, and 70 percent of all downloads from the Windows Store now come from Windows 8.1

Games remain the most popular app category for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. The US is by far the biggest market for Windows Store downloads, with a solid 33 percent of the worldwide market share. For Windows Phone, the US still leads at 12 percent but China is right behind at 9 percent, India is third at 8 percent, Brazil is fourth at 7 percent, and the UK is fifth with 6 percent.

What do you think of these latest app download statistics and the rise of in-app purchases for Windows Phone apps?

Source: Microsoft

108 Comments
  • curious what app has an IAP of $99.99
  • Games. The gold or diamond, costs up to $99.99.
  • I think Tetris blitz has one. But I'm not sure.
  • Tetris Blitz, Asphalt, and Head Soccer all have $99 IAP's
  • Angry Birds Go has $50 & $100 in-app offers.

    I think developers would sell more if the prices were *reasonable* vs. keeping people away with outrageous and exorbitant charges.
  • I agree. People tend to not think about spending $1 and will do it often not thinking what the cummulative amount they spent. I;ve heard stories of people spending hundreds on candy crush because they didn't notice that the $0.99 add up.
  • I know people who nearly spend 25 dollar just to progress in games.
  • And that's cheating. But programmers don't see it that way.
  • In other news, programmers need money to eat and house themselves. True story.
  • never heard of programmers eating them selves, but Sir, I'm willing to believe you.
  • I'm pretty sure developers are making a fortune with the systems in place.
  • Gameloft games, like asphalt 8
  • GPS Copilot and the like
  • Qonqr
  • The Faceless should just die.
  • Pretty much every game that has in app purchases that I've played has a "best value" option for coins, gold, crystals, or whatever game money system they use that is $99. The Age of Empires game shown in the pictures has this.
  • I'd wager it's Ceasars Slots.
  • Star wars commander, but having not paid at all, I feel like its pretty balanced. I work a lot so upgrading my base/units, even with the long wait time, is manageable. The trick in these type of games is to invest in resources asap
  • Those prices are meant for "whales" and parents of children that accidentally buy things with their card.
  • Angry Birds Go for example. And also Hungry Shark Evo if I'm not mistaken.
  • Y'Day, I did my first IAP in asphalt 8 and despicable minion rush. Best thing about few gameloft games is that IAP purchase support operator billing, and that's why I am able to buy. Even I am ready to buy few games if it support operator billing.
  • operator billing in india?
  • Most Disney's games has $99 IAPs.
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  • Seriously..who'd pay 99€ for IAP? I mean, i could get almost a new Phone for that price!
    Or even better 6months of World of warcraft.. If im not mistaken! Never going yo spend 6months on a mobile game xD
  • Navigon by navteq
  • Asphalt 8, World at Arms both have $99
  • That was not surprising
  • Having issues with star wars not letting me bill purchases to my att account ......need crystals!!
  • Cool
  • No, not cool. I'm getting really sick of games with paywalls, or games where you only get some piece of it and have to keep shelling out to get the whole thing. Microsoft posting articles like this just encourages devs to make more of these games. Great for Microsoft (they get a cut of IAPs), but lousy for gamers. (Go ahead with the "get off my lawn" comments, but pay-to-win games still suck no matter what you say.)
  • You're making it sound like this is Microsoft's fault.
  • It's not Microsoft's fault at all. Just not thrilled with the subject matter.
  • It's partly Microsoft's fault for allowing extortion via IAPs. I seriously hope the EU follow through and ban all IAPs on every OS.
  • Its not very lucrative for a game to sell for 2-8 dollars and not have some source of income. Thats why pay models like this is fine on mobile cause its for people who dont care that much and are willing to shell out extra. Cause why not? It depends on the type of game really. And most games are free so paying $10 to unlock more is fine since you shelled out nothing to get the game.
  • Isn't that the whole point of pay to play? If you get a sample for free and you like it, you pay for more. Nothing in life is ever really free. The developers have to eat too. It seems reasonable to me.
  • Then have a free trial and charge $10 for the full game. The problem with these games is that it doesn't stop at a single $10 purchase. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on these things, and never really get the full game experience. Games like this prey on 1) People with who are so rich they have no concept of value for anything under $1000, and 2) people who don't have any self-control. So 10% of the players prop up the entire game studio, and the other 90% are put on a path toward being annoyed/frustrated. Making a game like this is basically a blatant expression of "we don't care if you're having fun, we only care about your money", and I personally don't feel good about supporting that. But to each his own.
  • Most of these games aren't using paywalls or limiting the game. What they are doing is charging to let you level up faster. You can play the fully functional games for free but it will take much more time to build, acquire new weapons, acquire new skills, etc.
  • Surprised to see China here since the WP market share in China is less than 1%.
  • Foreal though. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • 1%, 0f over 350,000,000 cell phone users, in China, is still 3,500,000. That's nearly 1% of the entire population, of the U.S., period!
  • Actually 13570000 chinas population is 1.357 billion people. Which is still a lot. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • There are fewer people in China use WP than those in US or India. So if you calculate app purchases per user, China's WP users contribute higher than the rest on per person basis
  • That makes no sense. China comes in at 1.36 billion people and a 9% share makes that 122.4 million WP users. India with 8% of 1.25 billion makes it 100 million WP users. The U.S. with 12% of 300ish million makes it 36 million. So China has a user base of 122.4 million, India 100 million and the U.S. 36 million. The reason why U.S. is the leading spender is mainly due to a higher amount of quality apps for the American market and more disposable income for the middle class. Actually, it would be really shocking if China WASN'T in second place. That 122 million is already a third of the population of the states. That would be equivalent to having 33% of the U.S. market.
  • See the problem with using the ENTIRE population is that not everyone is using a smartphone. Newborns aren't smartphone users and many old people aren't either and I am sure rural users are few and far between. So your model is really skewed and unreliable.
  • What are you talking about? If you have read previous report on wpcentral you would know there are only no more than 2 million wp users in China. And in terms of world wide wp users, China is at 3% only, behind US and India. In terms of smart phone market share in China, wp is only at 0.3-0.7%
  • The percentages are talking about downloads not Windows phone market share.
  • I was going for a market share of those downloads. But yeah, my bad. Used the actual population numbers and the result is way off! Point is, America represents the leading income generator for the apps with China having a pretty big market. Sorry for the awful number analysis. Should have paid more attention there.
  • 9% is not users, it is th revenue generated. Read the article again
  • You guys are like the worst at math :P
    First of all, WP has a userbase of of less than 100 million worldwide so far (last quarter was around 60 million).
    If WP had the number of users you said it does, Nokia would have still been around with us and been a top contender too...! :D
  • Point being: On a per user basis, Americans spend more than anyone out there (at least ones that are listed) due to higher disposable income and greater selection of apps.
  • Beside total population of china, msft have benefit left from Nokia.
    Pay cellular credit.
  • I understand why they do it, but I think it stinks.  It makes it all but impossible to compete in many games unless you are able to shell out a bunch of money to play.  In other words, it often becomes less about game skill or even time playing, but rather how much money you are willing to pay to win.  I guess with this information, we will be seeing a whole bunch more freemium games in the future. 
  • Nobody would use IAP if it wouldn't give them an advantage.
  • Brazil is the forth and most of the developers STILL DONT PAY ATTENTION to us! :(
  • Just change your region in settings..
  • Buddy, this is not for me. Is for a whole community of people that don't know, or don't want to, they can change the region. I do this for the "normal" people.
  • I thought it was your regulatory differences that kept them avoiding Brazil. Can you really blame developers for this?
  • They can use PEGI or ESRB certificates to publish here.
  • In what way? I ask because I am a developer, and I'd actually like to understand.
  • When you publish a game there are some "tips" in the Dev Center stating that you can actually use PEGI or ESRB certificates to publish games here. Most of the developes dont pay attetiont to this and choose not to publish here.
  • I'm sleepy
  • In-App purchases... Not a surprise. A lot of apps lately surprise you with in-apps nowadays. By surprise, I mean a free app will send an update that removes features or adds ads and offers in-apps. It is a great way of getting people to pay for apps. I don't mind either, but it's not cool when in-apps aren't mentioned in updates. People are much more likely to pay an in-app fee of a free app than one that offers a choice between a trial and full purchase (even though it's not so different). Just my opinion...
  • I agree with you :|
  • Spent $4.99 on Spider-Man Unlimited, but my credits (ISO-8) never came. I wonder if this has to do with the problem you guys posted about last week. Anyhow, how can I get a refund or something like that?
  • Contact Microsoft. My son purchased a bunch of in app purchases last week and I was able to get a refund. Give it a try, they're reasonable.
  • Free to play with in-App purchases is the best business model for many mobile games. Of course not all of them but most.
  • It's crap, most I paid was $29.99 after letting my kid olay with phone. Later enabled setting that required pin for inapp purchases
  • Chat with MS support and they'll refund you that money. Just say your kid purchased it by accident and they'll refund.
  • Thanks. Actually called AT&T and they refunded me. Got to keep the tokens he bought to :)
  • Are they the top 20 highest grossing because they use in-app purchases or because the highest selling/downloaded apps are games and games tend to go down the in-app purchase route (and that makes sesnse for games but less so for other types of apps). I guess I just feel like the report is saying that if I want to make money from the app store then I should add in-app purchases to my app when really I should be making games.
  • Surprised to see that although China only has no more than 3% of world wide WP population, but still managed to contribute 9% of app revenue. You need to understand those people still using WP in China (which is only 0.7% of smart phone users in China) are true Nokia/Microsoft fans
  • Sometimes as a gamer those in app purchase are temping especially if you didn't even pay for the app. It kinda evens out ya know?
  • I don't mind with IAP, what I don't like is the inability to obtained premium currency through normal game play.
  • Yeah, my biggest issue in a lot of games :(
  • utter crap
  • I hate in-app purchased. That way, the games are much more expencive. If you want to play normal, like a game should be played, with no 3 hours to do sommething, you need to spend around 20$ more or less. For that money I'll buy a proper PC game.
  • They must have meant a median of $10.99. Curious how the mean and average can be two (drastically) different numbers, haha
  • Not that curious. If you have 99 games at $1 and one game at $10, the median is about $5, but the average is just over a dollar.
  • Yeah...but there's no median in the article. he meant that mean and average have been shown as having different values when they are both synonyms :P
  • funkyGeneral, that's not what a Median is. I had the exact same reaction to the quote as slavrenz. It's not possible for the average and mean to be so different -- those are basically the same thing. The only difference is that mean is precise, and average has additional colloquial meanings. The Median is not the average of the top and bottom number as you said, it's the number in the middle of the list, assuming the list is sorted in order from lowest to highest: 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 99 The median is 3 (because it's in the middle), the average/mean is 16.3. Or to use your example with 99 at $1.00 and one at $10.00, the median is $1.00 and the mean is $1.09 As slavrenz wrote, I assume he must have meant the median is $10.99, but it's disconcerting to see statistical data presented without typical statistical accuracy.
  • Don't mind IAP but they need to be reasonable about it. Any game that wants you to spend in excess of $99 for "premium features" is awful. Take Asphalt 8. If you REALLY wanted to finish the entire game, you have two choices: Slave off 2 years of your life racing on your phone or spend $500. That's ridiculous.
  • I would have thought free apps with no adverts or iap's would have grossed the most /s
  • Because all the "good" apps cost money.
  • This is definitely smart. I like the idea of getting apps free and then when you want to enhance your experience, buy different upgrades at your own rate. Innovative for sure.
  • So now whenever someone says that Microsoft should lay less attention to the US or China I'm going to be able to point back to this article and say why that is that they support the US so much
  • Only IAP I've ever made that I can think of was to get the video upload limit removed from 6tag. I've paid for other apps but always thought most IAPs weren't worth it
  • Sad. I loathe IAPs. And statistics like this will only prolong the scourge.
  • Brazil!!!!
  •   This is disappointing but not surprising. It won't be too long before every game is going by the fremium model with numbers like that. Why settle for $2.99 one-time when you can get way more on a recurring basis? Me, I'm too cheap and have too much patience to just spend money for upgrades, more gold, etc. I do things the hard way and it looks like I'm going to have to from now on. :-(
  • Yeah, IAPs outside of paying to get rid of ads don't do a thing for me. It's why I just game on a handheld. Yes you pay more up front but you always have the option to sell/trade the game later (providing you didn't buy the digital version of a game) and get a portion of your money back. I'd rather my hobby at least partially pay for itself versus sinking money into a digital game that dwarfs what I'd pay for a cartridge. I used to play in arcades, I'm over dunking an endless stream of quarters into my games.
  • we want games developed by king like candy crush saga ....wp doesnt have good games like clash of clans and many.....wp sucks without the top games and apps which r der in iod n android for years ....
  • what a pathetic old comment again. ages of empire is there to replace clash of clans. domination is Ching in december. cloud raidwrs is also another alternative. fo csndy crush saga frozen free das fall is the alternative which is better than candy crush and also has OneDrive integration.
  • He may be pointing that popular games are not available in WP.. Most of our friends play candy crush saga and its got better fb integration so we can play with our friends..
  • Dainy, I've read somewhere that it's King who has denied making Candy Crush for WP. So, basically it's not MSFT's fault. Write to King.. Bombard with your mails!! :P
  • Why we can't see how many times an app or game has been downloaded
  • I don't use apps that have in-app purchases. I'd much rather pay a higher initial price and have everything available. It's a shame most don't share that view.
  • I'm with you much rather buy a full game. I stopped mobile gaming hate iap,s and facebook integration
  • In all ecosystems are in-app purchases the driver for earning money! Anybody astonished???
  • Hate freemium, and although I'll download these games, I never (well, 99% of the time) purchase in-game. The model also has a tendency to ruin gameplay, because buying will fly you through the game unchallenged and not buying will bog you down in endless grind for minimal progress. Most of these games get uninstalled in a few weeks or even days. I'd guess that perhaps three freemium games I've tried have had a reasonable balance through most of the game... It'll come as no surprise that I prefer a reasonable price up front with a level playing field for all gamers. I've found a few non-game apps where a limited freemium works fine; they follow the model of a functional free app with an ad-free upgrade and perhaps one or two extra utility upgrades, all at a moderate price. These one-off freemium prices are perfectly acceptable!
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  • By average, what do they mean? Average is generally a term used for the mean, so what do they actually mean?
  • That's why Microsoft has to modify store to add what in-app purchases and how much each one of them is, just like the app store of apple.
  • In-app purchases remind me of Fifa Points on my Xbox One. I already spent 54€ on Fifa Points :)
  • I really hate in-app payments, it feel like I'm being ripped-off. I would always much rather have a free trial and then pay one amount up front for the full version. Unfortunately a lot of apps using in-app payments do not give a single payment option. It's also incredibly annoying that even paid-for apps are allowed to have in-app purchases. Farming Simulator 2014 was an example - even after paying you had to pay more to unlock more vehicles etc. Also unacceptable is that the Store makes no mention of in-app purchases. The store should make it clear how much the app is and whether there are any in-app purchases required to unlock the full functionality.
  • "The US is by far the biggest market for Windows Store downloads, with a solid 33 percent of the worldwide market share. For Windows Phone, the US still leads at 12 percent" For those on WPcentral who continually wonder why Microsoft sometimes appears to be focused first on the U.S. market even though European and Latin American markets have higher internal market share percentages, it's because overall the U.S. market is still the leading Windows Phone market, both for app revenue and for unit sales.
  • This is madness, only rich people or crazy ones who don't have a #%&!? to do will purchase these outrageous offers. I know Asphalt 8 recently added a car pack that costs $99 just to give you 2 cars, and the worst part is that they are in the "best in class" category of the game. Or there are those games that offer you millions of money and stuff like that for $99, i mean come on, if this isn't cheating then i dont know what is... devs are going insane with these IAP. And as for an example i never or rarely buy any content for games, unless if i can get a pre-paid card that gives you points/money to purchase stuff like this, but mostly on my xbox.
  • I loathe the pay-to-win model and have so far never bought anything, nor do I intend to. When game becomes too frustrating, I just delete and go to next one. I prefer free demo than unlock full game. At least this way, expenses are predictable.
    But industry is clearly going this way. Take "Lets golf" for example. Number 2 was purchase once, number 3 is pay-to-win. And after number 3was out, 2 was removed form iPad and Android store. For once, it is better to be stuck with no update on WP as number 2 is still available for us!