App development is one the hottest jobs out there right now, and with all the coding schools popping up, anyone can assume the position. But is it really that easy?
Not at all, says one Canadian developer, and he’s not alone in his sentiments. “The gold rush is over,” Get Set Games cofounder Matt Coombe told The Globe and Mail. “In the early days it was basically if you could make a decent app and get it out on the App Store you had a very good chance for success … those days are over.”
Coombe knows a thing or two about this so-called “gold rush.” Quoth The Globe:
Get Set Games first topped the charts in 2010 with its game “Mega Jump” and recently released a sequel, which also went to No. 1. Featured status by Apple helped push “Mega Jump 2” to the top of the overall iPad app charts in both Canada and the U.S. within days of its release. It took overall top spot in 32 countries and in the arcade game category it ranked No. 1 in 100 countries. But within a couple of days the descent on the charts began and by week’s end, it had dropped dozens of positions in Canada and the U.S.
“It’s very difficult to stay high on the charts in the App Store and it’s very hard to know why or how,” Coombe told the newspaper. “A huge amount of the App Store is luck.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an app gold rush. Since 2012 developers have been touting the end of easy money from apps.
“A few days after our app went live, and seeing figures in the range of 15 to 25 sales per day, we faced the cold reality that if you build it, they won’t necessarily come,” wrote cofounder of Deversus Software, Mike Walsh, in early 2012.
What Walsh said then is even more true today: that developers can expect some serious competition—not just within their market segment, but for users’ eyes and wallets in general. For small development shops trying to make a buck, “the App Store is a poor proposition without a proper and traditional business strategy executed in tandem.”
Techvibes first hinted at the beginning of a gold rush in July, 2009, about one year after Apple launched the iPhone and a couple months after it made the App Store open to developers. With the novelty of apps gone, it’s now a legitimate market—so if you want to succeed as a developer, you will have to succeed as a businessman too.