Discover why over 65% of top-grossing games now boast a web store, how the digital landscape has shifted since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, and how web store economics could reshape game monetization. Alongside Appcharge CMO Gil Tov-Ly, we dive into the different user journeys between app stores and web stores, uncover where web stores fit in the gaming ecosystem, and reveal the hidden revenue you’re missing out on if you don’t have a web store yourself yet.


  • Web stores cost 4%-6% compared to app stores’ 30%
  • Web stores allow direct communication with players
  • Studios can see up to 30% of revenue come from web stores
  • New regulations will enable developers to promote alternative stores
  • Web stores complement app stores, rather than compete with them


  • 00:00 – Opening Introduction
  • 00:17 – Why web stores for gaming?
  • 07:30 – Web store vs. app store economics
  • 16:08 – Web store discoverability
  • 19:09 – Why game studios use Appcharge
  • 22:22 – App stores vs. web stores: Complementary?
  • 26:22 – Outro and guest plug

Why Web Stores for Gaming?

History of Apps and App Stores

The journey of apps and app stores began with the launch of the iPhone in June 2007, followed by the App Store in 2008. In-app purchases (IAPs) were introduced in 2009 with iOS 3.0, and subscriptions launched in 2011 with iOS 4.3. Android followed suit with its launch in September 2008, the Android Market in October 2008 (rebranded to Google Play in 2012), IAPs in 2011, and subscriptions in 2012. The landscape of digital marketing and consumer interaction was significantly altered with the release of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in 2021, which deeply impacted the effectiveness of digital marketing and further distanced publishers from their consumers.

Current State of the Mobile Games Industry

Today, the mobile games industry is experiencing a tumultuous phase. This environment has paved the way for Appcharge, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) web store platform. Notably, over 65% of the world’s top-grossing games already have web stores. These web stores often offer consumers a better experience and more attractive deals. With new regulations allowing developers to mention alternative stores inside their games, gamers are increasingly learning about web stores through in-game notifications – as well as SMS, social media, online groups, and other channels. In this evolving landscape, direct communication with players is becoming crucial, emphasizing the need for gaming publishers to own their distribution channels and consumer relationships.

Web Store vs. App Store Economics

A typical web store usually charges a 4%-6% fee – in contrast to the 30% fee charged by mainstream app stores. Given these vastly better margins, up to half of the savings can be passed back to players through better deals and offers, encouraging repeat visits to the web store. Many studios are already reaping significant revenue from web stores. Appcharge has internally observed that game studios can ultimately make 20%-30% of their revenue from web stores. Studios often direct their highest-paying and most engaged players to their web stores, with Appcharge noting that up to 80% of users make purchases and 60% make repeat purchases.

Web store Discoverability

Discoverability is a challenge for apps in general, and the playbook for web store discoverability is still being written. With a web store, game publishers enter the realm of e-commerce, opening opportunities to learn marketing and conversion tactics from industries like travel and insurance. Various strategies can be employed to find new players, such as unique Facebook ads, deep-links to specific offers, and SMS marketing. Educating players about the web store through multiple channels is crucial. However, it’s important to note that while app stores offer a built-in audience, growth in a web store requires proactive efforts to target and attract traffic.

Why Game Studios Use Appcharge

Appcharge distinguishes itself by its deep roots in the gaming industry, unlike many competitors – which often come from fintech or banking. The team at Appcharge has extensive experience in gaming monetization at scale, designing their product to meet the needs of game builders and monetizers. Appcharge supports deep player segmentation, aligning with the existing infrastructure of publisher clients, thus avoiding the need to rebuild dashboards from scratch. The platform offers unique monetization features aimed at increasing purchase rates and retention – with a commitment to adding more useful features regularly. The team’s firsthand understanding of game publishers’ challenges contributes to Appcharge’s appeal.

App Stores vs. Web Stores: Complementary?

The relationship between web stores and app stores should perhaps be seen as complementary, instead of competitive. While in-app purchases will continue to play a significant role in a game developer’s bottom line, adding a web store can boost overall revenue. The future likely involves game publishers operating both types of stores. We may also see more options for payment methods in in-app purchases and a rise in alternative app stores. Much like Epic’s challenge to Steam in the PC market, as more options arise in mobile gaming, we can expect reduced exclusivity and lower fees for game publishers. As publishers and players gain more options, the ecosystem as a whole will benefit, with even Google and Apple potentially seeing advantages from higher transaction volumes driven by regulatory changes.

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