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When the iMessage App Store first launched, it was touted as the next big platform for apps – a new way for developers to gain users and make money, and was followed by an initial surge of iMessage app downloads. Now, however, the excitement is fading as is the app store’s growth. During the first few months after its debut, the iMessage App Store was seeing growth of over 100 percent month-over-month. Between January and February of this year, that’s dropped down to just 9 percent.

According to a new report from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, there are nearly 5,000 Message-enabled apps – the same number of iOS apps released in year one of the App Store. That should be a promising figure, given how much the iOS App Store has grown over time – it has 2.2 million apps as of January, 2017, Apple said.

But unlike the iOS App Store, the iMessage App Store is already seeing the developer interest and excitement wearing off.

From its launch in September, 2016 and the end of October, Sensor Tower says the number of iMessage-enabled apps had grown approximately 116 percent to nearly 1,100. By November, that figure had grown another 108 percent to around 2,250 apps. But by December – notably a month when developers rush to be ready for the numerous users unwrapping new iPhones and installing apps – growth slowed to 65 percent, bringing the store to 3,700 iMessage apps.

Growth continued to fall in the new year, with 18 percent growth from December, 2016 to January, 2017 followed by 9 percent growth from January to February, 2017.

Games continue to be the most popular iMessage app category, ahead of entertainment, utilities, social networking, and photo & video apps. However, even within these categories, many of the apps are stickers – like those that use the existing IP from a popular gaming franchise, for example.

Of course, it should be expected that growth will taper off to some extent after a new platform’s launch, as this is the time…

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