2014 has been a jammy year for the mobile games industry. In the last 12 months, games have been shining at the top of grossing charts on mobile app marketplaces like the Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Despite the visible success, it’s not as easy as it seems to figure out the landscape of mobile gaming in the upcoming 2015, as this industry probably remains the most disruptive and dynamic in the modern hi-tech segment.
Below are the major trends that, as stated by different experts in mobile gaming, will affect the industry above all in 2015.Games are the best money generating mobile apps. Games drive the most revenue on both App Store and Google Play, compared to other categories of apps.
According to App Annie Index: Market Q3 2014 report, the lion’s share of Google Play’s worldwide revenue has been generated by gaming apps. From July to September 2014, this trend continued to persist, that led to the increase of games’ share in overall revenue on Google Play. The highest earnings occurred in the United States and South Korea, where games accounted for nearly all revenue of the platform.
This becomes even more evident when you look at the “Best of 2014″ list released by Apple earlier this month. 9 of top 10 grossing apps throughout 2014 were games, and only 1 was a non-gaming app. Macquarie Research reveals that in 2014, games will deliver an estimated 75% of income on the App Store. Huge, isn’t it?
On average, each of the two best selling games earned more than 1 million dollars a day on the App Store during October 2014. Supercell’s Clash of Clans, which is a #1 top grossing game, had an average daily revenue of $1,387,620, and King’s Candy Crush Saga, which is a #2, made $1,097,578 a day.
Gamers want it for free
Since mobile gaming became an integral part of modern pop culture, the so called ‘devaluation of games’ began. An average user no longer wants to spend any money at all to install the game. 90% of revenue generated by games on App Store this year came from free-to-play titles.
Research from Newzo published in Q3 of 2014 estimates the total revenue of mobile games industry at $25 billion, $4 billion of which will be gained by Apple and $3 by Google. It’s surprising, but all that revenue is driven by a very tiny segment of gamers. Only 2.2% of users ever pay in free-to-play games, and 46% of the total revenue comes from just 0.22% of the total amount of mobile users, Swrve reports.
Big players get hold of app stores
2014 was the year when massive game publishers monopolized cash flows from app marketplaces. Two companies (King and Supercell) own nearly half of top 10 grossing mobile apps in the US (hence, they get the major portion of revenue). No wonder, there’s a lack of new products in top charts: 8 of top 10 grossing games were published in 2013 or earlier. At the same time, 80% of 1.2 million apps available on the App Store got no downloads at all.
Under such conditions, small game developers approach big publishers for marketing expertise and promotion. This makes some game industry giants that used to focus solely on in-house games launch publishing programs for third-party game developers. For instance, Rovio Entertainment, a company behind Angry Birds title, announced its mobile game publishing ititiative for game developers under the new brand named Rovio Stars in May 2014.