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August 15, 2016

The £1 Million App

The future's in apps, and there are fortunes to be made. If you're after a get-rich-quick scheme guaranteed* to make you a millionaire, then designing the perfect app is your ticket to the high-life. But how?

Get a job!

Depending on where you live and what you can do, the average app developer makes between £30,000 and £70,000 a year. Grind away at a tech firm for about 30-40 years and you'll earn a million no problem, provided you don't spend very much. 

But that's no fun, is it? The real money's in doing it yourself.

Self-made success

Remember the Flappy Bird guy? He was raking in $50,000 a day before he killed the app because he felt guilty about adding an addictive bird game to the list of humanity's problems. That will have earned him a million in less than a month. 

Of course, it's Pokémon Go that's been the success story of 2016. Despite being a free app, the in-game purchases have racked up a massive $35 million in a matter of weeks because people just have to have those sweet, sweet Pokémon lures.

As investors found out, much to their despair, Pokémon Go wasn't made by Nintendo, but by a little startup called Niantic who came up with a great idea and got it funded by the Japanese games giant, as well as with some tasty cash injections from Google.

So that's the trick – come up with a good idea, make it, and the money will roll in. Guaranteed**.

But I can't make things. Am I doomed?

No! Do you think Kim Kardashian West can develop apps? Of course not. Kim K has many talents, but fluency in C++ is probably not one of them.

Has that stopped her banking $100 million plus on Kim Kardashian Hollywood or about a million dollars per minute from Kimoji? It sure hasn't.

If your programming skills are lacking, your future fortune lies in coming up with a big idea, and then getting someone else to make it for you. Just get the contract right so you pay them for their time and give them no access to the app's revenue, and you'll be on track for millions. Guaranteed***.

So what should my app be?

Let's break down some of the most popular apps out there. According to App Annie, the highest grossing apps in the UK in July 2016 across both Google Play and the iOS store were as follows: 

  1. Pokémon Go
  2. Mobile Strike
  3. Game of War Fire Age
  4. Clash of Clans
  5. Candy Crush Saga
  6. Spotify
  7. Candy Crush Soda Saga
  8. Tinder
  9. Clash of Kings
  10. Netflix

No one likes having too many apps slowing down their phone and clogging up their home screen, so it stands to reason that an app that does everything these ten most popular apps do all on its own would be perfect for everyone.

If we look at the best bits of all these apps and smash them all together, we should be on to a winner, right?

The key features

We've broken the apps down into some simple features – what they look like, what you do, who you do it with, and what famous faces are promoting them. A lot of these are actually really similar games, so we've tried to pick out the particular USPs of each one.





Solo or social?


Pokémon Go

Colourful nineties nostalgia

Walking around outside catching things

Solo exploring, multiplayer battling


Mobile Strike

Military authoritarianism

Building an army

Mass multiplayer

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fancy army uniform

Game of War Fire Age

Dungeons and Dragons-y


Mass multiplayer

Kate Upton in saucy battle armour

Clash of Clans

Adorable violence

Helping your clan members

Mass multiplayer

James Corden being read a bedtime story by Christoph Waltz

Candy Crush Saga

Garish sweet shop

Matching up sweets

Sitting alone on the bus

The advert with the nightmarish Jelly Queen monster


The whole world's record collection, all in one place

Listening to Drake

Solo listening and party playlists

Most musicians other than Radiohead and Taylor Swift

Candy Crush Soda Saga

Garish sweet shop with added soft drinks

Matching up sweets with added soft drinks

Sitting alone on the bus with added soft drinks

The advert with the creepy winking gummy bear


Bright, fun, active, single

Trying to put an end to your crippling loneliness

Desperately trying to be social, but usually just endless solo swiping

Katy Perry was on it for a while, wasn't she?

Clash of Kings

Basically just Clash of Clans mixed with Game of Thrones

Tightening your grip over all of the land's kingdoms

Mass multiplayer

South Korean popstar Hani. Definitely not George RR Martin


The never-ending cinema

Binge-watching TV

Expectation: Netflix and Chill. Reality: sitting alone watching Star Trek for twelve hours

A cartoon horse with serious mental health problems


Mashing them all together into that £1 million app

Which features will guarantee**** us that £1 million payday? You might be tempted to just pick one or two to keep it super simple, like the aforementioned Flappy Bird, or to just ignore all of this and slap Kim Kardashian's face on it.

But we don't have the right to Kim Kardashian's image, and remember that Flappy Bird only made $50,000 a day – peanuts to the £9 million Clash of Clans makes every month!

These are the key components that we reckon every £1 million app needs:

  • Five of the top ten apps are games with serious multiplayer aspects, and the ever-popular Tinder is all about "socialising", so it's pretty clear that your app needs a competitive and/or social element.
  • Five of the seven games are combat-related games, so whatever happens in the app, it needs to involve the death of your enemies.
  • But even the war games don't all take a realistic tone – in fact, the majority of the games are cutesy and brightly coloured.
  • Spotify and Netflix's presence on the list tells us that people want to be able to access their favourite media.

    Netflix said their most-watched show of all time is Fuller House, the sequel to the late-80s and early-90s American sitcom Full House, starring John Stamos.

    The most streamed artist on Spotify is Drake. So we should probably get Stamos and Drizzy in there somewhere.
  • Most of these apps are things that you do while sitting down, but Pokémon Go is breaking the mould so much because of its real-world augmented reality setting. It's risky, but the perfect app should probably hop on that trend.
  • Pokémon Go, Tinder and both Candy Crush games are all heavy on the swipe mechanic, so make sure there's plenty of swiping while you're at it too.
  • Most of these apps are free, with the money made through in-game purchases or advertising. Only Netflix doesn't have a free option.
  • A lot of the games have pretty similar titles, possibly in the hope that someone will download it thinking it's something else. Try and combine the common elements into something not quite original but legally distinct.


So yeah, stick all of those things in there somewhere. It'll probably work.

Here's our idea. Do not steal it.

Candy Clash is a free new dating game where you compete for dates by accumulating sugary treats!

Prepare to head out into the real world, because as you walk around, discontinued sweets from the 90s will appear on your screen, stuck under the tables at local businesses – swipe a circle around each one to add it to your candy chest.

Your phone will buzz when a potential match is close by. Swipe in their direction, and you'll be entered into a candy battle with all other potential suitors in the area.

You'll have to balance your candy stash carefully to make sure you can effectively crush your enemies under mounds of colourful sugar while still having enough left over to lure your new mate with your sweet, sweet treats.

Complete successful dates and your level will soar, establishing you as Candy King of the neighbourhood.

You can also use your candy (which you can top up with in-game purchases) to unlock new Drake songs or episodes of Fuller House that you can enjoy on future dates!

Look out for our TV spot starring John Stamos as a sexy anthropomorphic soda bottle, launching soon.


*Not guaranteed

**Seriously, we cannot guarantee this

***This is definitely not guaranteed and also a horrible way to do business

****Absolutely not guaranteed