Pixel Art coloring book apps are the latest App Store craze – TechCrunch

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Has your child asked you to let him download Sandbox Coloring? You are probably not alone. The latest trend exploding on the App Store is a new twist on coloring book apps that have been popular for a few years. Now, instead of requiring users to choose their colors as before, this new group of coloring book apps – four of which recently landed App Store Top 10 spots – are color-by-number books featuring retro pixel art designs. .

Unlike the previous line of coloring book apps, which were often marketed as “adult coloring books”, pixel art books seem to be an App Store trend led by kids.

To begin with, these are coloring books — and while adults have gotten into the action in recent years, it’s a type of app that appeals to kids just as widely.

Pixel art coloring apps appear at the top of App Store search results, when someone searches for keywords such as “coloring” or “coloring book” – search terms that children are likely to find. enter.

More importantly, a signal that the trend may be carried by a younger audience is that new downloads seem to be coming from word of mouth, in many cases. This is repeatedly mentioned in app store reviews, where users say their friend told them about the app.

You can also get an idea of ​​the age of the user base by reading App Store reviews.

Obviously, a number of kids have shared their opinions on the matter of pixel art coloring, like in this sample review:

“My name is boobs, I love boobs”

Where

“Hello, this is my favorite game, I hope you make more games like this, you are the best game makers”

Where

“Have you ever eaten a McChicken”

Where

“I love this game so much! I play it at school, at home, in the car. What I thought you might add is where you can take a pucture and drag a bar from the witch hard which would have lots of numbers/blocks and easy witch less numbers/blocks. I love the new search bar. Plz add my idea”

Where

This app is so good you should price it a 5555555 that’s what I had to”

Just hanging out on a branch here, but these users are Probably children.

And kids can download.

In December, four apps reached the App Store top 10, including Sandbox Coloring, Pixel Art – Color by Number, UNICORN – Number Coloring Book, and Color by Number: Coloring Book.

According to data from Sensor Tower, the top four pixel art coloring apps have amassed 12 million downloads — half of them in the US alone — since early November. About half of those downloads happened this month.

While Sandbox Coloring may have started the trend, the app called Unicorn is leading for the month of December, narrowly beating out Sandbox for the most downloads.

It’s also worth noting that the apps generate revenue through subscriptions, not one-time purchases like other “kids” apps have done in the past, when offering access to content. premium for paying users. Instead, these apps offer options like weekly, monthly, and yearly subscriptions. These promise features such as the regular publication of new images, the removal of advertisements or the possibility of unlocking an unlimited number of images, among others.

We reached out to app makers to confirm Sensor Tower numbers, but none responded. One of the support emails posted didn’t even work.

Yes, that’s right – you’re not dealing with game makers like EA or Supercell here; but rather independent developers for the most part.

The original pioneer, Sandbox Coloring, comes from Russian developer Alexey Grigorkin, for example. Its app support site is the simplest of web pages.

Sensor Tower estimates that Grigorkin earned more than $500,000 this month alone from Sandbox in-app purchases.

Unicorn, from UK developer AppsYouLove, is currently leading in downloads, but not in the rankings. It made more than Sandbox in December — as much as $630,000, Sensor Tower estimates.

It doesn’t seem like these developers care about traditional social media marketing, thanks to their ability to track the trend of showing up in App Store search, and what kids tell other kids. AppsYouLove’s Facebook page, for example, has 3 likes. It’s not a typo. Just 3. I guess the kids aren’t on Facebook.

Belarus-based Easybrain, which makes Pixel Art – Color by Number, hasn’t even bothered to add the app to its website or give it a Facebook page, like it did with its hit previous, Sudoku.

Only Color by Number seems to come from a bigger company: TFG.co, a game developer in Latin America, with more than 100 employees. (He’s also the creator of the popular adult coloring book, Colorfy.) But Color by Number hasn’t made it to the TFG.co site yet, either. It just has its own basic landing page.

Of course, App Store trends like these don’t last forever. And in fact, the top four has slipped a bit as of today, with only Sandbox retaining its top 10. Color by number has dropped to #12, and unicorn is at #17. Pixel Art, which was the 27th best app yesterday, moved up to the top games ranking today, where it is #8.

But those apps could spike again in a few days – if kids unbox new tablets and iPods over Christmas, that is.

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