The new Apple TV’s gaming capability could affect the game console industry, but what about other categories in the App Store? After all, Apple’s intention of reinventing its streaming box is not just about disrupting the gaming industry.
The introduction of the App Store on the Apple TV 4 streaming box gives Apple a living room foothold in categories such as education, health & fitness, lifestyle, news, and sports. Not to mention self-promotion; just today, a new “Apple Events” app appeared ahead of the company’s Monday “Let Us Loop You In” announcement.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the new App Store so that we have a better idea of its progress after a few months.
Free vs. Paid Apps
As a new platform, Apple TV discourages developers from using ads to generate revenue. Currently, developers can either charge an amount upfront to purchase an app or offer it for free with in-app purchases.
According to data from Appfigures, more than 2,500 apps were available in the Apple TV app store as of December, just a month after the device’s launch. Free apps accounted for 61.4% of total apps. Just like on mobile devices, charging users upfront can discourage them from even trying out apps. Allowing users to download apps with basic functionalities will result in a higher number of downloads and reaching more audiences.
Paid apps’ pricing on the new Apple TV is similar to that on iPhone and iPad. The majority of paid apps are between $0.99 and $4.99, with a few exceptions that range between $9.99 and $59.99. Games Dominate the New App Store…
With a little over 1,000 apps developed, the Games category is clearly dominant on the Apple TV App Store, followed by Entertainment (streaming video and movies). Still, the company isn’t expecting to unseat the likes of Xbox and Playstation, but is targeting more casual gamers.
According to Appfigures, more than half of the top 50 downloaded apps were in the Entertainment category
During an interview with BuzzFeed News, Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, shared his thoughts about Apple’s strategy for the new streaming box as a gaming device: “Hardcore gaming isn’t exactly the ecosystem we’re after with the Apple TV,” Cue said. “What we’re seeing with the new Apple TV is to me very similar to what happened with gaming on the iPhone. When we first announced the iPhone, we didn’t tout it as a gaming device. But games became a huge part of iPhone, because it turns out that a lot more people than just hardcore gamers love games. We expanded the market.
It is obvious that Apple is trying to bring its success in the game category from iOS to the new streaming box, being a device for casual audiences. Apple TV 4 owners can play some of the most popular mobile games on the bigger screen, such as Minion Rush, Jetpack, and Crossy Road without having to use airplay mode.
…but Consumers Download More Entertainment Apps
Although games seem to be favored by developers, it is not the most downloaded category. According to Appfigures, more than half of the top 50 downloaded apps were in the Entertainment category, made up of popular streaming services and cable channels such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Now.
Games came in a distant second, followed by News and Sports apps.
New Apple TV Features in 2016
Software updates are already adding more features to Apple TV. An iPhone Remote app made text entry and navigation easier, Podcasts were added in in tvOS 9.1.1, and in the tvOS 9.2 Beta 6 released to developers on March 10, new capabilities included:
- Bluetooth keyboard support
- App folders
- New app switcher interface similar to iOS 9
- iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos support
- Map integration
- Siri/voice dictation
What apps would you like to see on Apple TV? Let us know in the comments!