Motivation for a crowded app category

by Hans Pinckaers

There has been some talk lately about crowded app categories. As you may know some app categories, such as to-do or weather, are overpopulated in the App Store. However developers are still writing new apps for those categories every day. I found myself in the same position when developing my chess game En Passant. Let me explain why a lot of developers, including me, are motivated for these crowded categories.

First of all, these categories run the gamut in terms of quality. There are a ton of really bad and mediocre apps, only a few relatively good ones, yet the most polished apps can often be counted on one hand. One reason these categories have so many apps is that everyone has a different use case for this type of apps. What I’m looking for in a to-do app may differ greatly from what you want. Even the best polished apps cannot serve everyone’s needs.

Next to that, it is noticeable that (new) apps in these categories primarily serve their respective developers’ needs. Looking at other categories – say, medical apps – you will find an even lower, almost non-existing, amount of good-quality apps. This is because developers are likely to notice room for improvement in apps they use daily themselves, thus investing more time bettering their apps. I’m the same: as a developer, I’m way more driven to work my ass off for apps that solve my own problems.

Therefore, because even the best polished apps lack functionality and developers love to work on their own problem, the constant feeling of “I can do better” arises. This feeling is the biggest motivator of all, even bigger than, say, money. The best apps I wrote started out with my frustration with apps I felt I could have done better.

Next time you encounter an “I can do this better”-thought, don’t be thrown back by the number of existing apps. Start developing; it will probably become one of your greatest apps.

I recently launched En Passant. Give it a try: it’s free on the App Store.