Play Store Category Split Pushes Casual Games to Top Spot

In March, Google announced it would be tripling the number of Play Store categories for gaming apps, from six to 18.

The latest Distimo report takes a look at what effect this has had on the apps and, as youd expect, its caused downloads to be much more widely spread between categories. While in February even the smallest category, Cards & Casino, accounted for six per cent of downloads, by April, a full half of the new categories had a share of four per cent or less.

In February, the leading category was Arcade & Action, accounting for 30 per cent of downloads. By March, this category had been split into Arcade – now the second largest category, with a 14 per cent share – and Action – fourth, with 10 per cent, pushing Casual from second place to the top spot, despite its share dropping from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

Its worth noting that, combined, these categories add up to less than the initial share. Even app categories which remained untouched saw a dilution of their share, with Racing dropping from 10 per cent to eight per cent and Sports from seven per cent to six per cent. This suggests that the move has worked, and apps in the new genres are benefiting from being able to reach the top of the chart in a lower volume categories.

With the creation of a new Family category, games which had previously been classified as Casual made the move and saw a resulting boost in rankings. Odd Socks, for example, was ranked 125th in the Casual genre in February, but hit fourth place in Family in April. Its not clear, however, whether this boost extends to individual downloads.