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86% of top grossing & paid games’ screenshots on the App Store use text to support visuals
by Alexandru Bleau on 08/08/14 08:56:00 am   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Screenshots that sell app store

Last week we talked about game screenshots that help sell your game on the App Store. There were various talks as to what would work better to convince someone to download.

I thought it would be useful if we had some data on the assets that the top 100 grossing and top 100 paid games were using. So I took roughly 300 screenshots of the screenshots from 150 games (about half from top grossing, half from top paid in the US App Store) and then analyzed them all.

I looked at the cover image or first image they used and the “first” of the remaining 4 images. Here’s what I found out:

The First Screenshot:

  • 57.3% have a custom image. 20% have that new “fun coming towards you” type of photo while the rest have side views, background views, collages or variations with in game and non in game assets.
  • The other 42.7% show only an in-game screenshot or with a small character or ribbon with text overlaid.
  • 50.7% also had the name of the game present on the first screenshot. It is important to note that this percentage is 72% when considering only the games with a custom image.
  • An interesting detail is that all match 3 or linking or bubble popping style games always used in-game screenshots

The second screenshot:

  • 63.3% used only one in-game screenshot per image used. The rest usually went with more in-game shots per photo or a combo with in-game screenshot and cute or nice looking characters. And then some didn’t use in-game visuals at all.
  • 86% of all these games have additional text or ribbons with text to support the images. And close to 50% of these texts usually start with a verb: Battle, Challenge, Plan, Tickle, Twerk your way… you get the idea.

You can see all the initial data collected plus some comments here and there in the public google doc.  I did not bother uploading the screenshots but I can store them on dropbox if you think they are useful for this study.

This data is based on the screenshots taken roughly a week ago. As you know the App Store landscape changes pretty fast so of course the percentages will not exactly reflect the current list of games.

Any other useful insights regarding visuals on the App Store?

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Chris Hellerberg
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Well done, a nice start. Now we need more data on apps that are not top-sellers to hopefully find any causational relationship. I suspect, however, that—possibly aside from god-awful apps—the numbers will be very similar. Good luck!

Sun Moon Hwang
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This is helpful. Thanks!!

Steven Richey
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It would be very interesting to see if a certain palette was more successful, although I think you'd need to compare to low-selling apps.

Pallav Nawani
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I think companies like Gree have done a lot of research on this front. It might be instructive to look at their games.

Chris Hellerberg
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Not knowing what research methods they used (if they even did research), what data they have, how they evaluated the data, what correlations they found (if any), what conclusions they have drawn (and if they are sound), and how they applied any of that; only looking at their games is about as instructive as flipping a coin, unfortunately. :) (Personally, I would have more confidence in a decision based on the coin flip.)

Pallav Nawani
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Here you go:

Wes Jurica
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What Gree is doing is nothing special:

Most of those are downright ugly