Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mobile Game Revenues Doubling, In-Game Purchases Skyrocketing

Anyone who's been paying attention to the gaming industry has been aware that in-game purchases have become a big business. This report from Juniper (reported by TechCrunch) predicts the mobile game market revenues to pass $11 billion by 2015... which is more than double 2009 revenues. Not amazingly aggressive by some standards; I think growth may accelerate even more than they are claiming (especially if you think of tablets as "mobile game" platforms).

The interesting part is going to be played by in-game purchases. Juniper says that in-game purchases will be the primary source of revenue, overtaking pay-per-download, by 2013. That's two years away, baby. That freight train is moving fast.

Juniper also notes that discoverability is the big problem. Well, yeah, it's all about the marketing once you have a good game put together. There must be hundreds or thousands of good games languishing in obscurity in the App Store because you've never heard of them. As TechCrunch notes, "This is obviously an excellent opportunity for fledgling app discovery platforms such as Appsfire, Chomp, Mplayit, AppAware, Appolocious and, increasingly, StumbleUpon."

Just to back up Juniper's numbers, here's a report on GigaOm about the flourishing of the freemium model. If you look at the top-grossing 100 apps, 34 of them are free to download and make their money through in-app purchases. Analysts think in-app purchases account for 30% of the total App Store revenue. Which is pretty impressive when you consider that freemium apps are less than 2% of all apps in the app store.

Yeah, you read that right. Less than 2% of the apps generate 30% of the revenue. If you're planning on building a game app, and you're not seriously considering a freemium model, you need to reconsider.

Which all highlights how much more work Google has to do with Android. As this article mentions, while Android sales have passed up the iPhone in sheer units, and new Android apps appear at about the same rate as new iPhone apps, in-app purchases on the iPhone are 7 times the amount on Android. Google's got some serious work to do on their tools and the Android Market to close that gap.

Meanwhile, getting your app found is still the basic problem facing developers. More on that in another post.

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