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iOS Game Development: Introduction

Gaming is one of the most sought-after domains in the app industry. By the end of 2022, the number of active global mobile gamers will surpass 3 billion. This vast number signifies the demand for gaming apps and the amount of entertainment they provide to their users. Many people are glued to their phones because gaming apps can be highly addictive. They are a fantastic medium for socializing, as well as forming a community of fellow like-minded people. Businesses looking to invest in iOS game development to establish their brand and create a loyal customer base, as a hit gaming app can provide an excellent stream for continuous income.

iOS game development is thus being looked into extensively due to its high speed and performance compared to Android. According to the Apple App Store, approximately 295 thousand mobile gaming apps were available as of the second quarter of 2022, representing an increase of 2.61%.

For iOS app development for gaming, one can either do it natively using Apple’s default IDE XCode and the programming language Swift or build it using a gaming engine such as Unity so that the game can be developed according to both iOS and Android operating systems.

iOS Game Development: How Lucrative?

Developing gaming apps can be a tricky process and quite costly too. The average cost to develop an iOS game is approximately $28,000. Also, the chances of your gaming app being a success are slim due to the high competition in the market and the tendency of users to get bored of the app after some time. Gaming apps require constant innovation and integration with the latest technologies to give them an edge over the thousands of apps already available.

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When developers put their app on the App Store, Apple gets a 30% cut, and the rest 70% goes to the developer. Yet, the revenue generated by the App store is so significant that this figure does not make an enormous difference. Gaming apps can be lucrative if they succeed and return tremendous profits to the game development company.

For instance, Pokemon Go! Achieved the top spot in the US within its second week of release. This AR game became so viral that people worldwide went bonkers, and there was a frenzy of Pokemon Go! Fans step out on the streets daily to collect pokemon in groups or even at odd times. This generated an average daily income of $1,635,038, which enabled the company to gain massive profits and create a revolution in the field of gaming that wasn’t seen before.

How To Help Your App Rank Better On App Store

Even if you build an app that works smoothly and has a great storyline and excellent graphics, that still does not guarantee the app’s success; to be downloaded, it needs to be visible on the App Store and should be ranked at the top. According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches.

Without this, generating revenue from the app is next to impossible. The rules and algorithms differ from the App Store if compared to, say, Play Store, and one needs to keep these factors in mind, too, especially in the case of iOS game development.

App Store Optimization (ASO) is necessary to help your app rank on the App Store and show on the top page amongst the thousands of other apps in the same category. This can be a determining factor for your app to become a hit.

Here are a few points that one must keep in mind to help your app rank better on the App store:

ios game development: Key points

1. Keywords

The App store puts special emphasis on keywords while ranking. For ASO, keywords are essential; relevant keywords are written in the description, the app title, the subtitle, and the keyword field, which convey your app’s functionality. Users generally search for a particular app by its theme or function rather than the exact name. Thus, it’s also essential to keep track of the latest trending words, especially when it comes to games, and incorporate them in the app title or description. As a developer, studying these keywords and adding them as required for ranking your app is essential.

2. Ratings & Reviews

An app with good ratings and reviews shows that the audience is enjoying it and has a definite benefit for your ranking. Users should be encouraged to leave reviews and share their positive experiences, giving the app a good image as well as encouraging people to download it. The App store also has the provision of resetting the reviews and starting from zero if the developers feel it can be improved by debugging or introducing minor changes.

3. App Title

One of the most important ranking factors, the app title should be short and crisp and convey what the app does, along with the necessary keywords. If it satisfies all these conditions, the visibility of the app increases, and more users will visit your app. The character limit for Apple is 30, so optimize your title and choose your words wisely. A catchy yet informative name and an appropriate subtitle can significantly help your app’s ranking.

4. Number Of Downloads

The amount of downloads your app has also affected its ranking. People must know about your app, visit it and then download it. A method of achieving this after the initial launch is heavy promotion and marketing, followed by constant ASO. This would keep your app in the public eye for a while, attracting visitors who might eventually download it.

Roadmap to Boost Ranking of iOS Games App for Profitable Returns

Ranking an iOS game on the App Store for profitable returns is a multifaceted process that involves optimizing your app’s App Store presence, leveraging marketing techniques, and continuously improving your game based on user feedback. Here’s a comprehensive guide in approximately 1000 words to help you navigate through the process:

1. Understanding the App Store Algorithm:

The App Store uses a complex algorithm that takes into account various factors such as download velocity, engagement, user ratings, and relevance to determine an app’s rank. Understanding these factors can help you craft strategies to improve your game’s visibility.

2. App Store Optimization (ASO):

ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an App Store’s search results. Key components include:

  • Keywords: Conduct thorough keyword research. Use tools like Sensor Tower, App Annie, or Keyword Tool to identify relevant keywords with high traffic and low competition. Include these keywords in your app title, subtitle, and description while ensuring readability.
  • Title and Subtitle: Choose a title that is unique and reflects your game’s essence. The subtitle should complement the title by including additional keywords.
  • App Description: Write a compelling description that highlights the features and benefits of your game. Use bullet points for features to improve readability.
  • Visuals: Design an eye-catching app icon. Use high-quality screenshots and videos that showcase the gameplay and graphics. The first few screenshots are crucial, as they will appear in search results.

3. User Reviews and Ratings:

High ratings and positive reviews enhance credibility and rankings. Encourage players to rate and review your game. Respond to reviews, especially negative ones, to show that you value feedback and are committed to improving the game.

4. Localization:

Localizing your game can significantly increase downloads. Translate your app’s metadata, description, and in-game content to cater to non-English speaking users.

5. Increase Download Velocity:

Download velocity is a key metric for the App Store. A higher number of downloads in a short period can boost your rankings.

  • Launch Strategy: Create a buzz before your game’s launch. Use social media, gaming forums, and email marketing to create anticipation.
  • Influencer Marketing: Partner with influencers to reach a broader audience. Choose influencers whose followers align with your target demographic.
  • Paid Advertising: Consider using Apple Search Ads to improve visibility. It can be particularly effective during the launch phase.

6. Engagement and Retention:

Engagement is another critical factor for App Store rankings.

  • First Impressions: Ensure your game has an intuitive UI/UX. A tutorial can guide first-time users without being intrusive.
  • Updates: Regular updates can fix bugs, add new content, and improve the game, which can increase user engagement and retention.
  • Push Notifications: Use them wisely to bring players back to your game without being spammy.

7. Use Apple’s Features to Your Advantage:

Apple regularly features new and updated games in its “Today” tab and various curated lists.

  • Design Quality: Apple tends to feature games that have a high design quality, so prioritize polishing your game’s visuals and user experience.
  • Leverage New Apple Technologies: Integrate Apple’s latest technologies like ARKit, Game Center, or leverage the capabilities of the latest iOS version to increase the chances of getting featured.
  • Local Events: Participate in local events and workshops hosted by Apple, which can help network with Apple representatives.

8. Networking and Industry Presence:

Building relationships in the industry can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and cross-promotions.

  • Industry Events: Attend gaming expos, conferences, and workshops.
  • Online Communities: Engage with gaming communities on platforms like Reddit, Discord, and TouchArcade.

9. Cross-Promotion and Partnerships:

If you have other games or apps, use them to promote your new game. You can also partner with other app developers for cross-promotion.

10. Monetization Strategy:

Your game’s monetization strategy should be well integrated into the gameplay.

  • In-App Purchases (IAPs): Offer attractive IAPs that provide real value.
  • Ads: If you choose to include ads, ensure they are not intrusive and do not disrupt the gameplay experience.
  • Subscriptions: Offering a subscription model can ensure a steady revenue stream if it fits your game’s style and audience.

11. Analyze and Iterate:

Use analytics tools to track user behavior within your game. This data can inform decisions on updates, marketing strategies, and monetization.

  • A/B Testing: Regularly A/B test different aspects of your game such as IAP pricing, ad placements, and even app icon variations.

12. Post-Launch Marketing:

Your marketing efforts should not stop after the launch.

  • Updates and Events: Regularly release new content and host in-game events to keep your community engaged.
  • Email Marketing: Use email newsletters to inform users about updates and special offers.
  • Press Releases: Send out press releases for major updates or milestones.

13. Financial Analysis:

Keep a close eye on your game’s financial performance.

  • ROI Analysis: Analyze the return on investment for your marketing campaigns to determine which channels are most effective.
  • Cost Optimization: Look for ways to reduce costs without compromising the quality of your game.

iOS Game Development: Features That Can Boost Profits

1. To prevent the game from being outdated, regularly update it and add new features. This will help retain the users and give them the incentive to keep playing on and making in-app purchases.

2. Have a growth or success measure. Be it through a points system, a collection system, or a trophy system, features like this instill a sense of competitiveness in the player and encourages them to play more attentively.

3. An engaging UI is exceptionally crucial for a gaming app. The developers must keep in mind high-quality graphics, the right icons, and the optimum amount of creativity to deliver the best user experience possible.

4. Create a community-based competitive environment. This feature is essential as the players can compete against their peers and measure their performance against them, which fuels their motivation and urges them to do better, thus keeping them engaged for an extended period.

5. Integrating it with hardware such as AR/VR devices is a good idea for profitable games. It gives the app a unique edge and expands its scope while exposing the player to a new form of playing instead of just plain software mode.

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Additional Strategies

1. Create a compelling storyline that incorporates each user’s customized profiles. This helps to create an addictive environment and gives the player a purpose.

2. Develop a generalized monetization strategy that lures the users in. In-app purchases should provide multiple options for the user to pay. You could also advertise other products in your app or collaborate with different games for mutual benefits.

3. Focus on the developer’s expertise rather than creating a generic app with basic functionalities. Mobile game development is quite a complex process, and the developer needs to have deep knowledge about the genre in which they are making the app.

4. Create different game modes to avoid stagnant user experience. Different game modes enhance the challenges and make the game more interesting while keeping the users intrigued.

How Can Markovate Help?

Markovate, an iOS game development company, provides top-notch iOS game development services to help your business build the best app, keeping the latest trends and technologies in mind. We are equipped with skilled developers with good expertise in iOS development and Apple products, and we ensure that your application is developed according to the ASO.

Our team is with you throughout the whole process, from ideation to prototyping and finally maintenance, enabling you to focus on other aspects aside from technical to make your gaming app a big success.

iOS Game Development: FAQs

1. Is Apple good for game development?

Apple is great for game development in terms of writing the codebase, ease of action, and performance speed. It works great even under heavy loads and offers less compilation time.

2. Is there a game engine for iOS?

SpriteKit, released in 2013 by Apple, is a game engine for iOS. Its best-known feature is its integration with other platforms, such as macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

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I’m Rajeev Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Markovate, an innovative digital product development firm with a focus on AI and Machine Learning. With over a decade in the field, I’ve led key projects for major players like AT&T and IBM, specializing in mobile app development, UX design, and end-to-end product creation. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Scrum Alliance certifications, I continue to drive technological excellence in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.

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