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Early tvOS App Store sales charts show popularity of games, app prices substantially higher than iOS


The new Apple TV has been available for three days now, with response to the product generally strong with seemingly good sales, based off some talks with Apple Store employees. A big part of the appeal of Apple TV is the tvOS App Store. What you see above is Apple’s press image for the store: in reality the Top Charts and Categories are currently unaccessible. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has worked around this by accessing the web chart data directly, by spoofing the Apple TV headers when making the request. He has posted the Apple TV US Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing charts as of yesterday. There’s some interesting trends in the data ….

Perhaps unsurprisingly, games dominate both Top Paid and Top Grossing charts with Beat Sports, Galaxy on Fire, Lumino City and Alto’s Adventure achieving high rankings. An outlier is the presence of SimpleX, a third party Plex client, in the #2 position for Top Paid and #5 for Top Grossing. Apple TV owners are clearly itching for a way to use Plex on their devices. Although Plex is releasing an official client, it has not yet been approved so SimpleX is your best option.

Other ‘utility’ apps start to appear in the 10-20 positions, with AirVideo and Carrot Weather featuring as standout successes. On Top Free, there’s a bit more of a contest between the $0 games (like Crossy Road and Rayman) and video apps (like HBO Now, Nat GEO TV, Fox and Netflix) vying for placement.

A big trend is that the pricing on the non-free apps is significantly higher than the iOS equivalents. Pricing in the range of $5-$10 for AAA titles is the norm with very few apps priced at the iPhone App Store trademark 99 cent price point. I’ve listed the top ten paid apps to highlight the current tvOS pricing equilibrium. Only 1 of the Top 10 paid apps (remember, this data is as of sometime yesterday) is priced at $0.99.

Apple TV US Top Paid

  1. Beat Sports ($9.99)
  2. SimpleX ($2.99)
  3. Galaxy On Fire ($5.99)
  4. Lumina City ($4.99)
  5. Alto’s Adventure ($2.99)
  6. Does not Commute ($2.99)
  7. Battle Supremacy ($4.99)
  8. Geometry Wars 3 ($9.99)
  9. Shoot The Zombies  ($0.99)
  10. Oceanhorn $(8.99)

That’s how the Apple TV App Store stands right now (remember Troughton-Smith’s data is a snapshot and will not live update).  It will be interesting to see if developers can sustain the higher pricing tiers. The current situation harken back to the 2008 launch of the App Store, when most titles cost $9.99. Obviously, on iPhone, that did not last and apps took the race to the bottom to $0.99 or freemium. Sales characteristics are likely to change significantly once tvOS app discovery is improved.

Without Top Charts or Categories, customers are hard-pressed to find apps and games other than those featured by Apple on the front page. The PR image for the App Store does depict the existence of these pages, so it’s assumed to be coming soon. It may also simply be a case of waiting for more Apple TV apps to enter the market; estimates suggest 1000 tvOS apps are currently on sale.  Having the App Store show more content overall will help even up the balance of power between all apps on the store, which will likely influence pricing as competition increases.

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  1. rogifan - 7 years ago

    My guess is we don’t have categories yet because Apple doesn’t want to highlight the lack of apps. Hopefully within the next month we’ll get an update that allows you to browse by category. But I hope Apple isn’t just approving everything and anything to try and fill up the store. Go for quality not garbage.

    • anekin007 - 7 years ago

      “estimates suggest 1000 tvOS apps are currently on sale.”

      Good luck finding them. Unless you’re featured on the front page most apps will be unknown for awhile.

      • Randall Tolliver - 7 years ago

        To find them you have to go to search. type in one letter. like “A” and then you will see all that have an “a” to start with. It was mostly iPad apps that were already TVos ready. I am hoping by the end of this year there is at least 5 times what is in the store now. This is what will make or break this thing if you ask me.

  2. galley99 - 7 years ago

    I, for one, and willing to pay more for quality games.

  3. anekin007 - 7 years ago

    3 year wait and we get a half baked device. This Cook era is a joke. Pushing out unfinished device just for the holiday sales. With 1000 apps there’s no way to find a app unless you know the specific app name. With no categories finding a app you have to type one letter and scroll down and there’s no tag or keyword searches. Typing on the on screen keyboard is a hassle. I can understand 3rd party keyboard not supported at launch but the apple remote app should have worked at launch because it’s available on previous gen devices. Apple shouldn’t call it Siri universal search when you can’t search local media or even the music app. Will probably return it until stuff gets fix. Apple had years to work on this so who knows when we will get updates.

    • tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

      Go ahead and return. Nobody’s forcing you to use it even though it’s the best set-top box as of now. In 2008 the iPhone app store launched with 500 apps “Apple’s App Store launches with more than 500, from an article published in 2008). The tvOS store has just opened last Friday people, gosh. Everything you mentioned in your post can be fixed by a simple software update, and I don’t know why we’d have to wait “years” for that to come given Apple’s adrenaline-packed software update rhythm these days. Yup, it’s not that Apple is withering, it’s just people are getting less tolerant with small glitches and imperfections on Apple products even though in Steve Jobs’ era, all these existed without a question. Think about the first MacBook air. Think about the first iPhone (without basic things like 3G, MMS, a camera that can focus). Which product has been released with perfection on every angle?

      • anekin007 - 7 years ago

        With the first iPhone Apple didn’t have experience with a App Store yet there was still a category. The Mac AppStore had a category as well. Even though tvOS just released, App stores and apps isn’t new to Apple. With no easy way to display or find apps it seem like it was just made yesterday by a amateur team. Saying its best set top box? I guess you don’t own one. No one forces people to buy stuff but releasing a half bake device by a highly rated company and expecting everyone to like it and make no complaints? lol. I feel bad for the devs when Apple was telling them to rush their apps to get it ready for the launch but less than 5% are known about. Waiting for a update for stuff to just work means it isn’t ready. Money over customer satisfaction is the Cook way. Steve wouldn’t have let this release unless it’s ready.

    • Anekin007, po thing. Awe.. Poor little baby. Want a cookie?

      I’m friken loving my AppleTV. Got Geometry Wars, Assfault8, Oceanhorn, and Crossroad. These games are FUN and CHEAP! Loving it. I’m sick of paying $50 for a game. $5-$10 is the right price. I don’t need a game to have a $50 million budget. The main thing is they are FUN. And these games are.

    • tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

      @anekin007 All of a sudden everyone’s Jobs’ wives or children to the extent that the know what he would and would’n do. Your only point is that without categorization, the tvOS app store isn’t a complete product. LOL man. Even you know that’s not scientific whatsoever. With 1000 apps available and blockbuster great apps and games like LuminoCity, Asphalt 8, Rayman, Shadow Master, Galaxy on Fire, Badland, all available on day one, this is not a complete product? You kidding me? If “there’s something to be improved” automatically equals to “it’s bat-crap not ready yet”, then crawl back to your beloved Steve era. Like I said, no MMS on the first iPhone OS (how rudimentary is that?), no sharing options in the photos app, no background music playback (how did people view this as a “ready” product?), no way to have a unified notification center until iOS5! Can you believe how Steve Jobs put out not ready products?

  4. cseeman - 7 years ago

    I believe if you look under “Purchased” you’ll see different categories. I have a hunch we’ll see it appear in the Store side of things on the next update. At some point you have to lock down what code you have to start shipping, knowing you can deliver an update shortly thereafter.

    If you use Netflix, for example, the categories aren’t self evident either and I don’t like the left to right view of the lists, as I prefer full pages. I think the app developers are going to be delivering updates in short order as well.

  5. Steve Grenier - 7 years ago

    Hopefully in the next update Apple will allow Siri to search Home Sharing content. At the very least update the UI to support a grid view, and detailed synopsis for movies and TV shows. If the meta data is there, use it. I tried Simple X for this reason but I don’t like using Plex, I want just to use iTunes. I wish Apple wouldn’t treat user owned content as a second class citizen on the AppleTV. After doing it for years, I guess it won’t change.

  6. raulriera - 7 years ago

    Have anyone actually played these games? I got Manticore and the controls are horrible… playing with the built in TV remote is an horrible experience. Hopefully Apple will update the iOS Remote app

  7. Barry L'Amour - 7 years ago

    It should have a standard game controller FROM Apple that you can at least buy as an add-on, not just 3rd party controllers which makes it seem like games are an after-thought. This could be the ‘new Steam box’, but I find it hard to take gaming seriously with a little remote…unless it was like the WiiMote.

  8. pavoldonko - 7 years ago

    So there is no connection to iOS AppStore? I have to buy everything again?

    • pavoldonko - 7 years ago

      So there is no connection to iOS AppStore? I have to buy everything again?

      • Rtweety (@ralphtweety) - 7 years ago

        I think you may be missing something. I immediately found several apps I had already purchased that I did not have to re-buy. Be sure you’re logged in with the same Apple Store Account ID?

    • Actually, I was able to download several apps I’d already purchased like Oceanhorn and Crossy Road. I didn’t have to buy them again.

  9. Thomas Yoon - 7 years ago

    With my personal experiences so far:

    Rayman Adventures: It was free so I picked it up. Fun idea, but the controls on the Siri Remote are shaky. Gestures are too precise and often miss when you want to do, and it’s more irritating than fun. I’ll keep it for now to see if they update it to read better, but for now, I’m not doing much.

    Air Video HD: GET THIS APP. AirPlay on the Apple TV is very usable as always, but with highest quality video it’s just not a fun time watching it stutter here and there. You also always have that slight delay between your mouse movements and the actual visual on screen, so UX for immediate playback controlling isn’t fun. What IS fun is setting whatever folders you want to sync to Air Video HD, then having all of them pop up on the new tvOS with full control support from the remote. There’s also a wide variety of file support and external subtitle files as well. Connection stays good almost always, very reliable and worth the purchase.

    YouTube: Like the layout and it’s easy enough to use, but does anyone else have an issue where you set a playlist to shuffle or just want to autoplay through someone’s videos, but at about the second video in the list, YouTube just keep repeating the same video instead of progressing? I can’t find a way to fix this, and it’s a little bit annoying.

    Crossy Road: Works beautifully. Haven’t tried 2 player yet, but man it’s still just as blindly fun as it was, and it looks very vibrant on the big screen. It’s free and totally worth it to burn some free time with a friend.

    Crunchyroll: Interface is well laid out, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Other than that, Crunchyroll’s on everything.

    Would love some more app suggestions if anyone else found interesting stuff!

  10. Rtweety (@ralphtweety) - 7 years ago

    Yeah they’re more expensive, but the experience is a lot different on my 60inch screen than on my phone, so … yeah. And yes please, get some organiation going with the App Store for the TV. And, something else, some of the apps I’ve purchsed for my iOS devices are available for my new ATV for no additional cost. That’s nice.


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.