The Secret to Becoming a Top Mobile Game Developer Is to Create Variants
With the advent of technology, mobile phone users enjoy their gadgets not only for seamless communication, but also for information, social networking and gaming. Research shows that out of 5 billion mobile users from all around the globe, 1.08 billion are enjoying smart phones now more than ever.
Smart phones are enjoyed by users through different platforms. Two of the most popular are iOS and Android. Through these platforms, mobile users get to download different applications that range from games, social networking, communication, education, health, lifestyle, books, information sources, music, sports, photography, productivity and many others. Apple users download through the Apple App Store, while Android users with mobile phones made by Samsung, Sony, Nexus, Lenovo and others download applications through the Google Play Store.
The Size and Profile of the Mobile Gaming Marketplace
Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store boast that their subscribers can choose from at least 700,000 applications. Hundreds and thousands of applications may seem too big, but apparently not. It seems that a store having 700,000 applications does not equate to 700,000 developers. That observation was proven by a study made by research firm Canalys, where they found out that just a small percentage of these games are able to bring profit to developers.
The study shows that out of a total of $120 million of profit produced from paid mobile applications, only 25 developers benefited. What’s more interesting is that all these 25 developers except for one are focusing on gaming applications. According to the research analyst, from November 1st to 20th in 2012, out of the 300 most downloaded apps in the Apple App Store, 145 were games. Meanwhile, 116 apps out of the 300 most downloaded in the Google Play Store were also games.
Some of the game developers that are soaring high in the markets are Gameloft, Disney, Zynga, Electronic Arts, Kabam, Storm8 and Rovio. The non-game app on the list of the top 25 developers is Pandora, which is focused on music and its highly famous Pandora Radio. This one exception on the list is understandable, especially in the United States where the music industry is as popular as ever. Pandora Radio also gives way for smartphone users to personalize their music experience, which probably explains why it is among the most downloaded, despite being a paid application.
Fragmentation of the Mobile Gaming Market
The high percentage of gaming apps dominating the download hit charts only goes to show that playing games through mobile phones is a popular activity of mobile phone users. However, one would think that there is a monopoly among game developers when only 25 out of 700,000 generate revenue.
The explanation to this, according to Canalys, is that top game developers were wise enough to dominate the market because each of them offers not only one, not two, but multiple gaming applications all at the same time. These gaming apps may be of the same or different formats, types, or strategies, but they all have different names that not every subscriber will easily notice.
So, one goes to download different gaming apps without knowing that they are paying only one or a few game developers. This is why a big percentage of the total revenue only belongs to a few game developers. So, even if there are close to a million apps available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, only a few of these apps bring in significant value for profit.
How does this happen? The secret here, as Canalys found out, is variation. A game developer produces a well-known game and produces five or more variants of it. Take for example Angry Brids under the game developer Rovio. Angry Birds is one popular gaming app for both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, but in the latter case there are at least eight different games with different names but the same format. Since many smart phone users have become hooked to playing Angry Birds, with some even buying the full application, they would be interested to try out these other variants, leading them to buying the eight other different games, providing more profit to the game developer.
Top Down Domination of Mobile App Developers in the App Store
With the domination of these game developers, non-popular apps, especially those that are non-gaming apps, have a hard time creating their names and niche in the market. This is evident on the app listings, as the most downloaded apps are usually placed on top of the list while the emerging apps can’t seem to get on top. This is why, no matter how good these apps are, they remain undiscovered.
The challenge now for these emerging developers of gaming or non-gaming apps who are not on the list of the Top 25 developers is to strengthen their marketability and be creative in selling their products. Marketing measures can range from providing more discounts, promotion through social media platforms, advertisings, and even through partnerships with different brands. With these measures, mobile app developers will have a better chance to level the playing field in the app markets.
All in all, with the reports of increasing revenues both from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, it goes to show that many people from all around the globe, regardless of age and gender, find their interests on the online app markets. The increasing profit over the years only proves that more people are willing to pay any amount just to download the apps that they like, no matter how costly it may sometimes be.
It also proves that today’s generation of application developers have been very creative and effective in getting to their target market and providing them with quality applications ranging from games, social networking, photography and more. In this day and age, when over a billion people are enjoying downloading different applications on their smart phones, people can expect a higher quality of competition among these developers in the future.