App analytics company Distimo said that the average selling price of games has declined by 28 percent year-on-year, while the revenue generated by the most successful freemium games increased tenfold during the period, based on its assessment of the Apple App Store for iPhone.

The company noted that “games” is the single most popular category in the App Store for iPhone, and of all the downloads generated by the top 300 free applications during June 2011, 56 percent were games. The figure is even higher for paid apps: 72 percent of all downloads generated by the top 300 paid titles are games, with only 28 percent being from other application categories.

According to Distimo, the average selling price of the top 300 games has fallen to US$1.44 in June 2011, from US$2.01 in June 2010.

Contrastingly, in the same period, “in-app purchases have become huge.” Twelve months ago, freemium games generated only 8 percent of the revenue of the top grossing games.  As of June 2011, this has increased to 52 percent. This implies that the revenue generated by the top freemium games has increased more than tenfold in the period, given that the total revenue of the top grossing games increased by 79 percent in one year.

The company noted that one of the main reasons for the increase in freemium revenue is the increasing popularity of virtual currencies. During the first six months of 2011, the proportion of the 300 most popular free games that used virtual currencies increased from 24 percent to 35 percent.

While mobile games is obviously an attractive market for developers, Distimo said that “a small number of publishers dominate total game downloads when we look at the 300 most popular games only.” The ten most popular publishers of free games account for 27 percent of all top 300 game downloads, while the top ten publishers of paid games generate 54 percent of downloads.

It was also noted that there is a higher turnover rate among the top 300 free games than the top 300 paid-for titles. During June 2011, a total of 685 free games published by 443 publishers have held a top 300 position, compared with 504 paid for games from 239 publishers. However, Distimo noted that with the growth of in-app purchases, this does not mean that developers are unable to monetise their products.

Other app store opportunities
Distimo noted that games also prove a popular category among other app stores, also ranking highly for BlackBerry App World for Playbook and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. Games are least popular in BlackBerry App World for smartphones. It was noted that the proportion of games among the top applications is larger than the proportion of games among all apps available, indicating the potential for games to rise to the top.

Despite the popularity of games, it was noted that the growth rate was faster for other types of applications in all stores except Apple’s App Stores for iPad and iPhone, and GetJar. The biggest difference is in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, where the number of games increased by 149 percent and the number of other apps grew by 266 percent. This was described as “quite remarkable,” especially when considering the popularity of games on this platform: 43 percent of the 300 most popular free and paid applications are games, and among the most popular paid apps, the first 19 are all games.