Remedy: A paid iOS app can earn $1M without ever hitting the top 10

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment has revealed its paid game Death Rally can earn up to $350,000 in revenue per month just by being in the top 200 of the iTunes paid app charts, illustrating the iOS app store can be extremely lucrative — even when a developer’s game isn’t a top 10 hit.

According to figures Remedy executive vice president Aki Järvilehto provided to, the company’s gross earnings exceed $50,000 per day when the $0.99 game breaks into the top five of the iPhone or iPad app charts. Outside of those situations, the game’s revenue fluctuates between $50,000 and $350,000 a month, a surprising figure considering AppData shows Death Rally’s highest chart position within the last 30 days has been No. 188 on the paid app charts.

While the app is paid, not all of Death Rally’s earnings can come from its up-front purchase price, since we know from analytics company Distimo it only takes about 3,500 downloads a day to hit the top 25 on the paid app charts in the U.S. The game’s earnings are boosted through optional in-app purchases, which range in price from $0.99 to $39.99.

It’s the same tactic German developer App Zap uses in its game Kick the Buddy, which is also paid with optional in-app purchases. Last year App Zap told us users who pay to download a game are much more likely to make an in-app purchase than ones who got a game for free. Overall, Remedy reports Death Rally’s earnings are typically split 60/40 between its up-front price tag and in-app purchases.

These new figures shed light on exactly how much money a developer can earn on iOS. While we know a top-grossing app can earn anywhere from $2 to $5 million a month, it’s become increasingly apparent even games in the middle and bottom levels of the charts earn substantial monthly revenues. In May, GREE revealed Funzio was earning more than $5 million in revenue a month, despite the fact its iOS games rarely rose above the No. 20 spot on the top grossing apps chart. According to Järvilehto an app can now gross over $1 million  just by maintaining a chart rank within the top 200 for a year.