The removal of the “All iPhone (Free & Paid)” section was likely in part due to abuse on the part of app developers, as a number of publishers listed their games with “AAA” or “AAAAA” or other “A” words in order to show up first. That seemed to be an odd strategy since it’s unclear how many consumers will willingly download an app with a title that appears so spammy. But just as with the phone book in years past, there are always those businesses who believe that simply being at the top of a list is the key to success.
The old new release section was based on download volume but did give indie developers a chance to be featured if they could generate a lot of volume in the first few days of their release.
Replacing these old lists are new curated ones like "Best New Games", "All Time Greats", and "More Games You Might Like" which is based on your purchase history.
Notably, the curated lists are also found in Games' subcategory pages (Action Adventure, etc). The subcategory pages also get their own banners at the top to highlight the best games in each section.
While the new lists are likely to have an overall positive effect, it may be harder for small developers to get listed. A handful of developers have already reported significant drops in organic download volume, ranging from 30% to 90%. Also developers have reported that launch day downloads have dropped from ~1,000 downloads per day to just 100.
It will be interesting to see if Apple carries these changes over to other App Store categories.
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