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Using data to successfully build for the Android market

by Alex Rosen on 06/27/13 06:12:00 pm   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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At GREE, we're all about using data to better understand our players and make our games more fun. The analytics team is responsible for collecting, analyzing, interpreting and transforming large amount so data into actionable recommendations. The team pours over terabytes of data related to all of our games, from RPG to Strategy to Casino titles.

As part of this process, we end up with very large data sets that also give us a unique view into what's happening with the mobile market. We wanted to share some of this data in the hope that it helps other developers on the Google Play market so they can focus on developing for the right devices.

GREE has had many games at the top of the iOS and Android charts since we launched our initial mobile offerings, seeing success on both smartphone and tablet. Last year, for example, we had 3 of the top 100 grossing games on iOS and now we have 3 top games on Google Play. Today, we want to spend some time diving deeper into the growth of the Google Play market, which has been  a particularly interesting trend to watch and support. Being that our games are routinely in the Top 25 on Google Play, this is a market we keep a close eye on.

Over the past year, we’ve seen tremendous growth in per-user monetization metrics in Android titles at over 400%.This trend has to do both with our specific game design improvements but we also believe is reflective of the market as well based on top grossing revenue / spot analysis. Basically, game revenue is growing on Google Play and it’s growing fast.

This is exciting for developers like us, but one of the things that makes the Google market such a challenge is the number of devices to deal with. Although Google has done a great job streamlining device types and providing developers with the necessary tools, there are still many devices to optimize for.

So, as a developer faced with all these devices, where should you focus your development and QA efforts? We want to provide the data to make this easier for you, so you can focus on the high impact devices.

Tablet vs. Smartphone

Android smartphones make up a noticeably larger percentage of revenue on the platform than tablets. Top tier devices like the Nexus 7 are changing this and we've seen growth here. Tablets perform well in average revenue per user as well so we're seeing great potential here, especially since the play experience is great.

Smartphones 

Next, we broke out these two device groups into their individual components.

The Galaxy S III and SII top the list, contributing 22.5% and 17.8%, respectively, of total Android smartphone revenue. If you're going to pick up some phones to focus on and test, these are the ones we'd go with.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab contributes the most to overall tablet revenue (32.0% of all tablet revenue) with the Asus Transformer and Kindle Fire coming in second and third with 20.3% and 19.6% of all tablet revenue, respectively.

To see how individual smartphones and tablets compared to one another, we’ve included both smartphones and tablets on the chart below. Here are the top 20 devices, ranked by revenue contribution.


So? What Does it All Mean?

The Android market can be tricky to navigate, but we're confident that the market opportunity will continue to grow quickly over the coming quarters and years. It’s clear, in particular, that the tablet market is growing. Given how important the iPad has been to the iOS ecosystem, we expect this to be a huge opportunity for growth in the Google Play market. Some of the top tier Android tablets perform great: they’re fast, they look good and the gaming experience is top notch At GREE, we’re super excited for more users to get their hands on these to enjoy the games on Google Play.

Developers can take advantage of this growth by continuing to invest in Google Play. When doing so, we suggest using this data to know where to focus. If you try to cover every device and every OS, you’ll spend all your time chasing down device specific issues. Instead, focus on the top devices and you can make the experience triple-A for these ones.

Finally, make sure to track your own metrics and which devices are performing well for you. Popularity will change over time, and your game performance may be different, but we believe this is a good start.

As you begin to develop or improve your game on Android, we hope this data helps you understand where to focus to make the maximum impact to your users.


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