We know it’s not business as usual right now, and we’re here to help. Check out our latest COVID resources.

We tailor each demo to your specific business needs. See it for yourself and contact us today!

Thanks for reaching out! While you wait for confirmation from an Apptentive team member, you may find these free resources to be of interest:

Guide

View resource

Guide

The Five Stages of Reducing Mobile Customer Churn

Retention is a top priority for mobile marketers. Our new five-step framework is here to help you improve your existing strategy.

Download Now

Guide

View resource

Guide

2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

Apptentive’s annual mobile app engagement benchmark report serves as a baseline to help app publishers across categories understand their app’s engagement strengths and areas for improvement.

Download Now

We tailor each demo to your specific business needs. See it for yourself and contact us today!

Thanks for reaching out! While you wait for confirmation from an Apptentive team member, you may find these free resources to be of interest:

Guide

View resource

Guide

The Five Stages of Reducing Mobile Customer Churn

Retention is a top priority for mobile marketers. Our new five-step framework is here to help you improve your existing strategy.

Download Now

Guide

View resource

Guide

2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

Apptentive’s annual mobile app engagement benchmark report serves as a baseline to help app publishers across categories understand their app’s engagement strengths and areas for improvement.

Download Now

Mobile Marketing

What Do The Top 12 Android Apps Have In Common?

Alex Walz  //  April 9, 2015  //  2 min read

They’re all free-to-play games.

The 12 Highest Grossing Android Apps
Source: Google Play Store, April 2015
(A look at the App Store reveals a similar trend for iOS apps, where all but two of the current top 12 highest grossing apps are free-to-play games.)


In today’s app eco-system, free-to-play (F2P) is the preferred model for developers and gamers alike. At the time of writing this, 100% of the 50 highest grossing Android games are free. (To be fair, #51 Mojang’s Minecraft, has a price tag of $6.99, but it’s a rare exception in a sea of otherwise free apps.)

But what does free-to-play mean and why is it so popular among developers? Let’s dive in for a closer look.

What does it mean to be free-to-play?

Free-to-play is a “freemium” revenue model in which players can download and play the game for free and are given the choice to purchase optional add-ons, such as additional levels, power-ups, virtual items, or an ad-free experience.

And why is it so common?

While it may seem contradictory that many of the highest grossing iOS and Android apps are all free-to-play, there are two main reasons why this model is all the rage among mobile game developers these days:

  1. It’s become the standard. 83% of the top 2,000 apps in both the App Store and Play Store take a “freemium” approach. Independent of the app store category, people have come to expect to be able to download an app for free and are quick to turn to one of the other 1.4 million apps in the app store to find a free or cheaper alternative.
  2. It works. 92% of app revenue among those 2,000 top apps was generated via a “freemium” model. Today’s app users want to try out an app before making any sort of up-front payment. The first step to getting a mobile customer to pay for your app is to get them in the door – and the best way to do that is by removing any barriers, including payment.

Today’s mobile game developers have little choice but to be free-to-play.

The only question that remains is how can a free-to-play game make money?

Read on to the second part of this post: What You Need To Know In Order To Build a Profitable Free-To-Play Game.

About Alex Walz

Apptentive's resident wordsmith, Alex can frequently be found cranking away at eBooks or scrawling down ideas late into the night from a local coffee shop. He's an avid traveler, coffee connoisseur, and tech enthusiast, and he shares his thoughts on each over Twitter.
View all posts by Alex Walz >

Ready to see Apptentive in action?

Request a demo of Apptentive today.

Request a Demo

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest product management and mobile marketing news.