Apps We're Watching: Week of May 2, 2016

SoundCloud enters top grossing territory, Ubisoft devours the top charts, and PlayStation banks on its popular IP to attract console players to mobile.

Apps We're Watching for the Week of May 2, 2016 Hero Image

All eyes were on Apple's App Store earlier this week as search issues sent app discovery into a tailspin. Fortunately everything was sorted out in time for Apps We're Watching to bring you a look at some of the most noteworthy apps—old and new—making waves (one of them quite literally). Keep reading to see what caught our attention this week, from the newest music subscription service on the block to a famous video game character who pushes blocks—and will hopefully push PlayStation fans to try Sony's mobile offerings in the process.

SoundCloud Go Solidifies Itself as a Music Service to Watch

It was launched just over a month ago, and now we're starting to see how SoundCloud's subscription-based SoundCloud Go music service stacks up to its competitors on the top grossing charts in the United States. As you can see in the App Intelligence category rankings history below, the app has landed in the top five highest-grossing iPhone apps for the music category—and top 20 on iPad—following a one-month free trial period for new users. (The Go service was launched on March 29, 2016.)

SoundCloud App Category Rankings for Revenue April 2016

Soundcloud was ranked No. 5 in top grossing Music apps on iPhone as of this post and No. 14 on iPad.

In terms of overall top grossing apps, SoundCloud ranks No. 48 as of this post. It's outranked by Spotify (No. 2), Pandora (No. 7), and Tidal (No. 20), but ahead of TuneIn Radio (No. 55), YouTube Music (No. 126), and Slacker Radio (No. 176).

The other relative newcomer to the subscription-based music space, YouTube Music, has reached as high as No. 9 on the iPhone Music category top grossing chart (five spots below SoundCloud's current position) since it began reporting revenue in late December 2015. The two apps have different premium models, however, with YouTube Music offering the same song selection to free users, only with advertising and minus some convenient features like offline play. SoundCloud Go provides subscribers with a much larger music library in addition to offline play and zero ads.

It's clear that SoundCloud has been able to attract a significant number of paying users early on. The real test will be how we see the subscription base (and associated revenue) growing over time. We'll have a deeper analysis of this space in the coming months.

Ubisoft Jumps the Shark (Straight to the Top of the Charts)

When your mobile game amasses more than 30 million downloads worldwide on iOS alone, you inevitably produce a sequel (or get your head examined). The metric in the previous sentence belongs to Hungry Shark Evolution, developed and released by Future Games of London in 2012. Since then, FGOL was acquired by Ubisoft and soft-launched a sequel to Evolution titled Hungry Shark World back in December 2015. This week it was set loose on the world.

Ubisoft's Hungry Shark World App Store Rankings

Hungry Shark World swam right to the top, devouring every app in its way.

In just over 24 hours, Hungry Shark World topped the iPhone free apps chart for all categories in the U.S. In fact, as of this writing, it's currently No. 1 in 26 countries and sits (floats?) atop the free games chart in 57 countries. The game showed its prowess as an alpha app predator in the chart above. It already bested the previous game's No. 5 overall ranking from back in August 2014, so we'll be interested to see if it also outperforms in terms of top 10 staying power and monetization in the coming weeks.

Sony Hopes Uncharted: Fortune Hunter Can Unearth a Loyal App Audience

Finally this week, Sony's PlayStation branch launched new mobile gaming title to coincide with next week's debut of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End on the PlayStation 4 console. Called Uncharted: Fortune Finder, the app shares little with its console counterpart beyond characters and theme, but it does tie into Sony's upcoming triple-A title—and perhaps offers an idea of how the company will leverage its intellectual property on mobile going forward.

Uncharted Fortune Hunter Screenshots

The gameplay of Uncharted: Fortune Hunter is nothing like the console games, but offers a low barrier to entry and is well suited to mobile.

In the mobile app, players can earn rewards that can then be brought over into the console game for use in its multiplayer mode, such as outfits and temporary upgrades. This makes Uncharted: Fortune Finder, with its free-to-play model, an attractive "add-on" to the console game for hardcore gamers with idle time who want to enhance their experience in the "main" game. But it should also appeal to more casual mobile gamers, who may find the characters and theme intriguing enough to seek out the full Uncharted experience on console.

This isn't a new approach to cross-platform (and cross-genre) marketing synergy for game makers by any means, but it could be an indication of where Sony may be heading with future gaming apps, such as those from its new ForwardWorks mobile gaming initiative.

Join Us Next Week

We love your feedback—let us know what you think of Apps We're Watching or what we covered this week in the comments below, or by tweeting @SensorTower. We'll be back in seven days with more insights into next week's most interesting app happenings.

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Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: May 2016

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