That’s not a rhetorical question. Mobile analytics firm Distimo published actual data on how many downloads it generally takes to get into the top-25 spot. The short answer: develop an amazing game. For the longer answer, let’s take a look at this recent TechCrunch article:
Turns out, in the U.S. store, the answer currently is about 38,400 daily downloads for free iPhone apps and 3,530 for paid iPhone apps. To rank in the top 25 per category, of course, takes significantly fewer downloads, with games unsurprisingly being the most competitive category. It takes 25,300 daily downloads to rank in the gaming top 25 for free apps and 2,280 downloads for paid apps.
For free apps, other competitive categories include ‘entertainment’ (6,700 daily downloads), ‘social networking’ (5,800), ‘lifestyle’ (3,900) and ‘music’ (3,900). Interestingly, in the paid app charts photography apps rank just behind games and entertainment apps. Still, it currently only takes about 270 daily downloads to rank in the photography top 25 for paid apps.
These numbers, of course, are always changing and this just represent a snapshot of what Distimo found when it compiled this data last month.