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Google and Samsung catching Apple on in-app revenue generation?

A new report suggests that Pixel and Galaxy S8 owners are spending as much as iPhone owners on games. In the past, iOS generated far more revenue through these means.

Published onJuly 24, 2017

Apple has always had the upper hand when it comes to the monetization of games on its platform. iPhone users tend to spend more on in-app purchases than Android users — part of the reason why it gets favored when it comes to new game releases. The tide may be turning, however, as news from video game analytics and insights company deltaDNA (via VentureBeat) suggests that both Google and Samsung could be catching up.

The data is based on the habits of 1.4 million North America players during June, 2017. It reveals that the average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) generated by owners of the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, was in the same region as that of iPhone owners. And, in some cases, Android phone users generated even more revenue.

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Here’s a look at the key ARPDAU numbers:

  • Galaxy S8: $0.21
  • Google Pixel: $0.21
  • iPhone 7: $0.28
  • Google Pixel XL: $0.32
  • iPhone 7 Plus: $0.36
  • Galaxy S8 Plus: $0.54

As you can see, the Galaxy S8 Plus came out way in front, followed by the iPhone 7 Plus, with the Google Pixel XL close behind.

This is a big deal because, in the past, a lot of weight has been given to the platform (iOS or Android) being the most significant factor in player spending. A year ago, we reported that iOS users are spending an average of 2.5 times more than Android users on in-app purchases. Though it may still be (and likely is) the case that iOS users spend far more on in-app purchases than Android users —  this recent report concerns only a very small amount of data, after all — there’s definitely more to this situation than simply platform choice. I mean, Galaxy S8 Plus owners spent almost double what the average iPhone 7 user did in the US in June.

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The data suggests that owners of bigger phones tend to spend more on average than those with smaller phones, while other studies indicate that newer phones monetize better than older phones (as you might expect).

With as much as 90% of Play Store revenue coming from games, it’s in Google’s best interests to figure out how it can increase player in-app spending. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S8 Plus looks like it’s capable of bringing in some serious bacon — but I expect most of the money it’s generating is being funneled into Google’s pockets rather than Samsung’s via its Galaxy App store. If Samsung could turn that around, it could be extremely lucrative for the South Korean manufacturer.

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