A promising sounding report from market research firm Fade LLC claims to have compiled a list of the Top 10 iPhone games by units sold. They offer an enticing list of seemingly precise sales numbers as of July.
1. Tap Tap Revenge Classic - 4,036,348
2. Fieldrunners - 1,638,916
3. Flight Control - 1,381,320
4. Touchgrind - 990,086
5. Zombieville USA - 960,868
6. iShoot - 843,392
7. Super Monkey Ball - 748,063
8. Hero of Sparta - 747,716
9. Enigmo - 686,160
10 The Sims 3 - 669,280
The problem is that Apple doesn't provide these sales numbers, so the only real way to get accurate ones is from the developers themselves and Fade's numbers don't agree with both public and private sales numbers from the developers listed. For example, Pangea revealed their Enigmo sales numbers to be 810,000 as of January 2009 -- far more than the 686,000 reported by Fade.
We contacted a number of the developers on the list, and so far, all of them report the numbers are well off target. Ethan Nicholas reports the sales of iShoot [$1.99] to be at 550,000 copies total so far -- again well off the 843,000 listed above. Illusion Labs (TouchGrind [$4.99]) and MikaMobile (Zombieville [$1.99]) have also responded stating their internal numbers are also well off Fade's. Also absent from the list are Flick Fishing which has sold over 1 million copies and Crash Bandicoot which topped Apple's own list of all-time top app sales. In fact, the only figure that seems close is Flight Control which recently announced reaching 1.5 million in sales.
Due to pent up interest, we expect these numbers to get a lot of attention over the next few days, but they clearly are a very inaccurate representation of the top iPhone game sales.
Update: We've since been contacted by Fade who reveals their methodology. Their sales numbers are extrapolated based on user polls.
- iPhone sales numbers are based off of iPhone and iPod Touch user polls. Sales are then verified through official user reviews on products sold. We estimate that over 500,000 users participate in this system with verified sales.
- We then use the actual user base that participates in conversion-based metrics to extrapolate sales for titles available on the iPhone and/or iPod touch devices, based on a number of factors including price, reviews, release version, and ratings.
They go on to explain the discrepancy with some of the numbers are due to discounts which may cause sales to skyrocket for periods of time and later taper down. So, while there may be some value in their numbers looking into the future, we're don't think total sales estimates are going to be it.