The iTunes App Store was always the leader, but that changed last year. In 2013, Google Play led the iOS Store in app downloads by 15 %. However, iOS is still the best platform for monetization. The apps in iTunes Store generated over two times the yearly revenue of Google Play.
This is one of the conclusions of the APP Annie report for 2013, but there are other important points in the report that developers should have in mind when they design new games.
The fremium model continues gaining popularity and is really successful when used to monetize games. The 93 % of the revenue generated by games in 2013 came from games with in-app purchases. The freemium model is expanding to other categories such as messaging, music and news.
Puzzle and Dragons was the first game by revenue. Despite Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded game, the Japanese game generates more revenue than the King game. The fact that the most successful (from a financial point of view) game is Japanese lead us to the conclusion that the Japanese mobile market is finally awake. Westerns usually think of Japan as a technology-driven country, so we assume that everybody has a smartphone, but that’s not accurate. The Japanese mobile market is really special and it evolved in a different way from european or American markets. There were many advance mobile phones that never arrived to western countries, so the Japanese didn’t jump into Android and iOS devices as fast as westerns did.
However, Android and iOS are now very popular in Japan, and here it is one thing to prove it: Japan surpassed the USA in app revenue in 2013 and now it is the first country in app revenue.
Last, but not least, the report pointed out that messaging services like Line are evolving into media platforms. You should keep that in mind if you are planning to develop a game for the Asian market, where Line is the most famous messaging platform.
And it’s worth keeping an eye on Whatsapp since Facebook bought the service. For now, Whatsapp will operate as usual, but it’s a matter of time that both services converge. So, one final thought: Is Facebook preparing to land in mobile gaming through Whatsapp?