Android gaming on the rise thanks to freemium games

by: Shawn IngramDecember 17, 2013

Google Play Games 5

Android is starting to catch up to iOS in terms of mobile gaming, though it isn’t quite there yet.

A recent report from app analytics platform Distimo shows that over the past year, revenue from Android games increased dramatically, though not quite meeting the revenue generated by that of their iOS counterparts. In November 2013, the top 200 Android games grossed $12 million per day, which is an insanely high number. It’s especially insane considering that top Android games only grossed $3.5 million a day in November 2012, just one year ago.

Android still has to play catch up to Apple’s iOS, though. In November 2013 the top 200 iOS apps grossed $18 million per day, compared to $15 million per day the same month last year. The good news for Android fans looking for something to hang over their Apple-loving friends is that Android games saw a huge percentage increase in revenue over iOS.

Distimo Revenue Distribution Country Apps Platform Globally 2013

Most of that huge growth didn’t come from the U.S., though. Most of the growth came from Japan and South Korea, two of the fastest-growing markets for mobile apps and games. Korean and Japanese gamers actually spent more money on Android games than iPhone and iPad games according to the study. As an example of how fast they’re growing, revenue from South Korea increased by a massive 759 percent over the course of just one year. Again, absolutely insane.

Google Play Share of Revenue Business Modell Free vs paid 2013

If there’s any bad news from the report it’s that freemium apps or free-to-play apps completely dominate both platforms. They make up 92 percent of all revenue on iOS, and 98 percent of revenue on Android according to Distimo. We’d love to think the revenue all comes from Android gamers playing Ridiculous Fishing and Badland, or even paying Square Enix $16 for a remake of an old Final Fantasy. But the reality is most of that money is from people who just really want to get through a level of Candy Crush Saga.

It’d be great if the increased revenue would bring more of the great iOS games or more great original games to Android, but it seems that most of the money on both platforms lies in casual games that are built to make money.

Will free to play games supported by in-app-purchasing continue to dominate? Do you agree with the practice? What do you think of the quality of gaming on Android?

  • AndroidBoss

    Most of these free games are boring and suck.

    • APai

      the boring part is done on purpose. they want us to make it easy by buying more *coins*/ IAP.

    • Jasper Molina

      Probably majority of the small developers are not as fun as the paid ones. But we have few that are exceptional like the Fifa 14 by EA and the Asphalt 8. These games are meant to be downloaded as free because you have to buy in-game items to advance on levels.

      • arya willy

        i prefer paid from the start than paid after you played the game and get stuck

  • APai

    on one hand they say on android platform, no one is willing to buy apps and piracy is high, so gaming on apple is better. OTOH, the exact same model is being replicated on the IOS platform. they say, the revenues aren’t enough. the argument there seems to be different. WTF ?

    • Collin dubya

      gaming on ios is not better, trying to play a shooter or any high end game on a 3 inch screen with touch controls. blech.

      • mrjayviper

        people are still paying though. the graphs don’t lie

      • APai

        I agree, but that’s not what i meant, that’s what i said about others crowing on and on about how rich iphone ecosystem is with all the new games released there first.

        and yeah, its completely ridiculous to strain your eyes for the tiny screen :)

  • AbbyZFresh

    How about Google releasing an official Android controller one day.

    • Shark Bait

      Why would that help?

    • whitaker

      The new Moga controllers are ridiculously good, try one of those if you’re looking.

  • Chris Voyce

    Most Android games are free so if you had to pay for premium games like you do on ios games I’m sure Android would be higher.

  • mrjayviper

    saw the graph and iOS is throwing the smackdown in almost all the ones that is in the picture. just saw china (a VERY LARGE market) and not even a blue line? o.O

    • Skander

      Google service banned in China.

      • Steve

        That’s actually not true.
        Google Play is actually accessible in China
        You can’t pay with Chinese currency though.

        • mrjayviper

          seems a stupid decision by Google. China is the biggest smartphone market