EA’s mobile division reported a massive holiday season in 2010, thanks in large part to many of its games occupying top spots on iTunes App Store. EA games occupied 14 out of top 25 slots for iPhone, and 15 out of top 25 slots for the iPad. This total domination of charts propelled EA games to the No. 1 developer spot on the App Store in Q3 2010.
But there has been more to EA’s success than just great games. Joystiq is reporting that EA masterfully used Apple’s iTunes update practices to its advantage.
Apple freezes all updates to its iTunes store and app charts during the Christmas holidays for about one week till New Years day. During this entire period, developers can neither upload new content to the store, nor make any changes to their existing apps like changing the name or price etc. In addition to this, any download stats on the apps during this time are also not reflected on the charts. So the apps that get into the top 25 list before Christmas, get to sit on the list for the next 1 week irrespective of the current stats.
EA brought its marketing might to bear in order to get a large number of its games into the top 25 charts just before the holiday freeze. Once that was accomplished it was a matter of counting the downloads, as a large number of users buy their new iPhones and iPads during the Christmas holidays and then rush to the iTunes store to download apps for their devices.
EA pulled the same trick on Amazon’s Kindle, and its Scrabble game went on to out sell everything else on the platform from Christmas to New Year.
EA’s mobile social game Angry Birds is currently the No. 1 selling app on the App Store, even as we enter into the second month of New Year. This clearly shows, that a sneaky tactic might get an app to the top, but in order to remain there it really should be that good.
With top 25 charts becoming so important in terms of finances, we expect other companies to try and some how game the system to get into the list. Web 2.0 users wont have forgotten all kinds of tricks that websites used to employ to get to the front page of Digg – at the time when it was thought to be the best thing to ever happen to a website.