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Google Play's rapid revenue growth is fueled by freemium fare

Google Play's rapid revenue growth is fueled by freemium fare

June 26, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

A new report from analytics company App Annie suggests that freemium apps are driving remarkable revenue growth in the Google Play app store, potentially making it a more fertile market for mobile game developers.

According to the report, the more than 1.5 million apps in the Google Play store generated roughly 2.4 times as much revenue in the first quarter of 2014 as in the same quarter a year prior. Japan is responsible for the lion's share of that revenue, followed by the United States and South Korea.

The Japanese Google Play market is especially interesting because, in App Annie's estimation, Japan is still the #1 region when it comes to generating Google Play revenue despite being the 10th best performer in terms of downloads.

That's several spots lower than it was ranked for downloads in the same quarter last year, suggesting that Japanese Google Play shoppers remain remarkably willing to spend money on freemium titles despite downloading far fewer apps than Android users in regions like the U.S., Brazil and Turkey.

In fact, freemium apps (including games) generated nearly 98 percent of Google Play revenue worldwide in the first quarter of 2014, according to App Annie.

Games alone, whether freemium or paid, account for nearly 90 percent of Google Play revenue at this point, and Google is making a show of enhancing its Google Play Games services in an effort to draw more people (and more money) into its app store.

"Investing in these game services and getting this kind of experience out for [developers] is another way to make the platform that much more attractive," Play Games representative Greg Hartrell told Gamasutra in an interview earlier this week, claiming that Google was working to build out Google Play Games so that it's "easier for someone who is a game creator to reach that highly valuable audience."

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