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Summary:

Do you somehow still doubt that the App Store is a huge money-making enterprise, at least for a lucky few? Then consider the news that Tapulous, the development studio behind the wildly popular Tap Tap Revenge rhythm game franchise, rakes in a cool million every month. […]

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Do you somehow still doubt that the App Store is a huge money-making enterprise, at least for a lucky few? Then consider the news that Tapulous, the development studio behind the wildly popular Tap Tap Revenge rhythm game franchise, rakes in a cool million every month. That’s not EA or Gameloft or someone similar that came in with a reputation. That’s an iPhone-specific development company.

If you’re not familiar with Tap Tap Revenge (you must not own an iPhone, or read our site very carefully), then you probably don’t know that it’s essentially a clone of games like Dance Dance Revolution and Rock Band, redesigned specifically for the iPhone’s unique interface. It’s fun, and incredibly addictive, which probably has something to do with its impressive degree of success.

Tap Tap Revenge has reportedly been installed more than 20 million times (although that isn’t necessarily unique installs) and people have played more than 600 million rounds. Rough estimates put the total install base of the game at one-third of all iPhones currently operating. Considering the iPhone’s success, that represents a hefty payday indeed.

The source of revenue stemming from the Tap Tap Revenge series is varied. Most of the apps themselves cost at least 99 cents, though Tap Tap Revenge 2.6 is free, and artist-specific special editions cost more. But the real money is made from ads in the games, and from a cut of the in-app purchases available in the latest version, which allow iPhone users to buy and download playable, often themed tracks from their favorite artists.

Obviously, Tapulous is the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of iPhone-only devs don’t make anywhere near that kind of scratch, but if nothing else, this simple rhythm game proves the money’s out there to be made.

  1. Tap Tap Revenge is a very popular game and its developers have done everything to make it profitable for the company

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  2. Profitable? Maybe. But they’re not lighting cigars with $100 bills.

    That’s $1M gross revenue. You can bet their profit isn’t anywhere near that after licensing fees and the overhead of running a development shop with what I recall to be over a dozen employees.

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  3. [...] zarabia 1mln dolarów miesięcznie w [...]

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  4. This is good motivation for the android app makers. I have a feeling we’ll see the tide change on app purchases as android continues to grow.

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    1. Good motivation?

      Is Google giving the same sales percentage as Apple???

      Will they open their books on sales, or will it be like facist Adsense where you don’t know what their gross is on the clicks?

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  5. Truely amazing to watch this developer make so much money off the App Store. This is the reason why the app store is having so many 3rd party apps made, they are making their developers rich! Google needs to do the same if they want their Android app store to see the same success!

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  6. Good post here, Darrell. What I get from this post is that the money is there – for the developer that comes up with the great ideas!

    In this down economy, there are limited platforms that a commercial developer can cash in on. The iPhone is one of those few…

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  7. [...] there are plenty of success stories in this app economy — between ads and in-app purchases, Tap Tap Revenge was earning $1 million a month in 2009. But I’d love to hear the reaction of some smaller development shops to Ahonen’s [...]

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  8. [...] there are plenty of success stories in this app economy — between ads and in-app purchases, Tap Tap Revenge was earning $1 million a month in 2009. But I’d love to hear the reaction of some smaller development shops to Ahonen’s [...]

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  9. This is interesting. I was referred to this blog entry from another on gigaom which was basically talking about how iPhone app development is a fool’s game. It said that an average developer would need 22 years worth of sales to recoup the initial average investment.

    This article though makes me think that I should start learning the language needed to program an app. I hear it everyday, all I need is a killer idea….

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  10. Wow that is some serious cash that man is stacking, but it makes sense…this game is addictive and has seriously so many artists that everybody has tracks on there that they want to play…this game has been seriously cutting into my productivity. Glad they have so many of my favorite artists, even more obscure ones…off the top of my head some faves are Tokyo Police Club, Attack Attack, Foo Fighters, Ra, Middle Distance Runner, Shapes of Race Cars, Benny Bennassi, Infected Mushroom, Earl Greyhound and Minus the Bear. Hope they continue adding more rad music!

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