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Wellington's Chopper Dave hits paydirt with Mac App Store

Apple's Mac Store faces challenges, but has helped a Wellington game developer drive sales. He revealed numbers to NBR.

Chris Keall
Tue, 13 Dec 2011

Apple's Mac App Store has delivered more than 100 million downloads since launching in early January, the company said this morning.

Just as the iTunes App Store feeds software to iPhone and iPad, the Mac App Store offers online access to new desktop and laptop software.

Wellington games developer Dave Frampton (pictured), who runs the one-man Majic Jungle software, already had a hit on his hands with iTunes App Store sales of his hit game Chopper (and its sequel, Chopper 2) - hitting number one in multiple countries' app sales charts. The one-time TV weather graphics man made enough to quit his day job, and pay off his mortgage.

The advent of the Mac App Store has lifted Chopper sales further, Mr Frampton told NBR this morning.

"Chopper 2 sold 30,000 copies in its first day on the Mac App store. I was blown away," Mr Frampton said.

With developers keeping 70% of revenue in Apple's standard split, that means Mr Frampton made around $20,000 in 24 hours.

Nearly a year on from the Mac App Store's launch, sales were still strong, the developer said. A recent promotion saw Chopper 2 sell 800 copies in a day.

"It's sold well over 100 times more copies than the original Chopper did on the Mac as shareware," Mr Frampton said. "The Mac App Store has made it much easier for customers to find and purchase my apps."

Above: using the iPhone version of Chopper 2 to control the Mac version via wi-fi.

While happy with Chopper's Mac App Store sales, Mr Frampton said they were still only less than a third of those his game achieved through the larger iTunes App Store.

Chopper 2 has sold more than 100,000 copies for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; Chopper 1 clocked around 350,000 paid downloads (from around 1 million in total; the game also comes in a free taster version).

For Apple, that's the problem - and the opportunity.

While the Mac App Store is off to a solid start, its numbers are modest compared to those iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). This morning, Apple said the iTunes App Store had topped 18 billion app downloads since it launched in 2008, with one billion apps downloaded each month.

While it is starting to change the way people buy software for their computers, the Mac App Store is just one of several places people can buy new programmes. They can also go straight to a software developer's website, to a general online e-tailer (Amazon offers Mac apps for download) or buy an application on go to a shop and buy it in an old fashioned shrinkwrapped box.

By contrast, the iTunes App Store is the only place iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners can access new apps.

And while third-party developers flock to the iTunes App Store (naturally, it's their only outlet), the Mac App Store is still dominated by Apple's own software. Apple said this morning that the iTunes App Store offers 500,000 apps for download, the Mac App Store "thousands". 

According to IDC figures, Mac desktops and laptops hold around 10% of the personal computer market in NZ, and worldwide.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced plans for an online Windows Store, which will launch in 2012 along with Windows 8. Industry rumours hold the Windows Store will be the only source for downloading apps specifically developed for Windows 8's touchscreen interface. 

Chris Keall
Tue, 13 Dec 2011
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Wellington's Chopper Dave hits paydirt with Mac App Store