Data analytics firm, Flurry, keeps track of the number of downloads across the many app stores of the world. They just put out a blog post on the incredibly huge, historic increase in app downloads during the past holiday week. If you're an info-graphic junkie, it's well worth a read.
From the Flurry blog:
The most important week of the year for app makers is the final week of the year, between Christmas and New Year's Day. Starting with Christmas Day, the largest single device activation day of the year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is marked by significantly elevated device activations and app downloads. This is the primary reason why companies jockey to rank well leading up to Christmas Day itself. This report reveals that the last week of 2012 was the largest week for both new device activations and app downloads in iOS and Android history.
This week at 148Apps.com, we gave the Editor's Choice award to Organ Trail: Director's Cut. Reviewer Rob Rich had this to say about the game: "There’s something timeless about The Oregon Trail. Gearing up and heading west across the country in order to settle in some promising new territory, braving all manner of hardships and diseases along the way, it’s a game that just about everyone loves. Wait a second, the “E” is missing. It’s not Oregon Trail? It’s actually Organ Trail? Well I don’t see what the big difference-OHMYGOD ZOMBIES!!!
Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is a throwback to the classic era of computer gaming. Back when we had to load these things using floppy disks, and in-game sounds consisted entirely of varying forms of *BOOP*. Much like its pioneer era inspiration, the game tasks players with preparing for a cross-country road trip and naming party members after friends in order to make them feel bad when they inevitably die in horrible ways. Only this time it’s during a modern zombie apocalypse, and instead of hunting for food and fording rivers they’ll be scrounging for meager supplies while fending off the walking dead and creeping through zombie hordes."
Everything was about back to school at GiggleApps.com, where reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Murky Reef 1st-2nd Grade Reading, Science and Math: "Parents will appreciate how this app incorporates the Common Core standards for Grades 1 and 2 while keeping children engaged and entertained, especially as children prepare for school to start again soon and need to begin to get back to the business of focusing on school work.
Murky Reef is a collection of 22 interactive games which teach a great deal about the animals of the coral reef as well as include math, logic and language exercises."
Finally, on 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on the rise of the app developer middle class, saying, "While there’s often much pessimism among developers as far as the challenges of money making on mobile apps goes, analytics firm Flurry’s latest report discusses how the revenue among mobile apps is being distributed. With it, there’s evidence that an app developer ‘middle class’ is forming, as with more revenue being spent on mobile apps, developers do not need to reach the kind of high ranks that they did in the past to make the same kind of revenue. As well, the ‘long tail’ of revenue is getting longer."
Historically, Christmas is one of the biggest days of the year for entry of new mobile devices and the apps that make them more productive and entertaining. This year is no different with mobile analytics company Flurry reporting record-breaking mobile growth for both Apple and Google. Apple is on pace to exceed a staggering 10 billion downloads. This would double the overall downloads earned across 2008, 2009 and 2010. With multiple Android operating systems available with multiple carriers, it's no surprise that the Android Market also set records, more than tripling its life-to-date downloads of 3 billion, reached in May 2011, to now over 10 billion cumulative downloads reached this December.
With an average of 1.5 million mobile activations from December 1 to December 20, Christmas day hit 6.8 million, a 353 percent increase. And with all of those new devices there was a surge of app downloads with an increase from 108 million to 242 million, or 125 percent. That's a lot of mobile presents and rightly so as they're no longer a way to only make calls, but to access social sites, video, music, games and much more. The full report is available here.
This week at 148Apps.com we delved into the latest from the developers of Hipstamatic, the "disposable" Hipstamatic D-Series app. 148Apps founder Jeff Scott says, "I got a chance to try out the new app and can report that Hipstamatic D-Series does indeed bring back the nostalgic memories of sharing a disposable camera and swapping double prints into the digital age. It’s a great idea and well executed. There’s even the anxious need to burn the last shot by taking a picture of your foot, just to get the roll developed quicker. It’s indeed very fun.
At GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a close look at the first interactive book from The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library, There's No Place Like Space. Solomon says, "There’s No Place Like Space, although a creative, fun and educational book, is not written by Seuss himself, although it is written in a Seuss-like style. I enjoy this book, as does my son, but my husband and I did comment to ourselves that the text is not as well-written as the classic books by Seuss."
Finally, 148Apps.biz site editor Rob LeFebvre reported on a new report from mobile analytics company Flurry. LeFebvre writes, "Flurry shows the fact that developers are making more money on iOS than on Android, even as the numbers of Android OS enabled smartphones continues to increase, commanding as much as 53% of the market, according to an NPD Group study released yesterday as well."
As your advent calendar continues to count towards December 25th, don't forget to vote for our 2011 Best App Ever, and keep track of the latest news, reviews and contests via our Facebook and Twitter streams.
There is a major sea change occurring on the App Store for game publishers and developers. A clear shift is forming from the traditional premium release model to free to play and freemium titles, as the revenue for free games with in-app purchases dramatically increases, and the prices for paid games goes in the opposite direction.
According to a report recently released by Distimo, the average selling price of the 300 most popular premium games (meaning games that cost money to download) has declined from an average of $2.01 in June 2010, to only $1.44 in June 2011. This decline may be precipitated from an increasing number of publishers facilitating fire sales on their games; EA is particularly notable for their holiday sales where they drop the price on many games down to $0.99, a practice that became extremely lucrative for them when they held a variety of the top app positions on both the iPhone and iPad sides of the App Store.
However, just because the average price of games is on the decline, this does not mean that revenue is declining either; on the contrary, the total revenue from the top 200 grossing games increased by 79% from year to year. A big reason for this increase has come from free to play titles' in-app purchases, a mechanism that has increased in usage over the past year to the point where in June 2010, revenue from free games' in-app purchases rated as only 8% of total revenue for the top 200 games. As of June 2011, this rates as 52% of total revenue of the top 200 games on the App Store.
Not only are free to play games now becoming the biggest source of revenue for games on the App Store, they're also potentially more open for competition. The top 10 publishers of free games account for 27% of the total downloads of the top 300 free games, versus the top 10 publishers of the top 300 paid games generating 54% of those downloads, and one of those publishers is one-man developer Andreas Illiger of Tiny Wings fame. According to Distimo, Tiny Wings generated more downloads than Gameloft's numerous releases!
As other studies have shown, players who spend money in free to play titles spend more than on premium titles - Flurry notes that the average transaction in a free to play title is $14, a price point that only a few games (approximately 130 of 66,130 total games) have even reached, and a number that includes few notable titles outside of several Square Enix games released around that price point. Games that are shifting to a consumable in-app purchase model are finding that there is real money to be made there from the limited amount of players that do spend money in free to play titles, which appears to average about 3% of users that do spend money on in-app purchases, with some users that spend great amounts of money in these games.
The traditional way of selling games on the App Store is definitely changing, and this data shows that the rush to the bottom continues, as more games reach not just the $0.99 point of entry, but also by letting players download initially for free. However, revenue is still increasing; iOS devices are still being sold. There is still room to make money on the App Store, it's just that the ways for doing so have dramatically shifted in the last year.
The internet is abuzz today with a blog post from the analytics company, Flury, titled "Is iPhone the Next American Idol?" According to Flurry, social games on the iOS "comprise a daily audience of more than 19 million who spend over 22 minutes per day using these apps." By their calculations, the installed customer base of social gamers have a similar reach as Dancing With The Stars and Sunday Night Football. Tack on a couple million social gamers and the user base is larger than the advertising giant that is American Idol. If you count in all other apps that aren't in the social gaming sphere, the iOS clearly dominates the user base of prime time television's hottest shows.
What's interesting to me are the conclusions drawn by Flurry. They end their blog post stating that, "The most obvious is the impact on the advertisement industry, which has relied on the reach generated by its prime time television slot for years. This season, while Americon Idol is busy shuffling judges, the people have voted: iOS social games are as prime time as prime time television."
While some people may find these findings telling, and I'm not saying that the iPhone will never be an important an advertising source as TV, I think that Flurry is missing a huge piece of advertising psychology.
As an app reviewer, I play more apps (including social games) than anyone ever should in their lives. I probably breeze through 99.9% of them as soon as they pop up, not even stopping to see what is trying to work its way into my heart. On the other hand, I could probably recap half of the ads I saw during last nights Sunday Night Football game because I was forced to watch them, and because some of them were catchy. The UPS "Logistics" ad alone was more memorable than every iOS ad I've ever encountered, bunched up into one.
Even local television advertisements are far more effective for the average consumer than any iPhone advertising scheme that I've seen. Again, there's not a chance that I could describe even one of the hundreds of iPhone ads that I've seen, but I can, on a whim, sing to you the Casa Ole ad with Jose Lima that played in the Houston area in the late 90's. Or ask me about George Brazil, or Gallery Furniture, or anything you want about Levitra or Zoloft.
As far as advertising goes, big television has to see the internet and DVR as much larger adversaries than the iOS. Until the iOS and the advertising companies (like Flurry) create advertising schemes that are truly catchy (or even informative), I just don't see iOS marketing attracting the big bucks that big TV does -- and until I start singing the jingle of an otherwise unknown company I only heard on my iPhone game, I don't think that people will ever find iOS social gaming to be "as prime time as prime time television."
When thinking of the word flurry, one could imagine a gust of floating snow, but there is nothing cold or wet about Flurry Analytics.
Flurry Analytics is a leading cross-platform mobile application analytics provider for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Java ME developers. With the intention of helping developers make better applications by providing consumer behavior and application performance analytics, Flurry announced the release of two ground-breaking extensions to its analytic services: User Path Tracking and Dynamic Parameters.
The User Path Tracking will monitor the sequence of actions completed in mobile applications by consumers and the Dynamic Parameters will analyze user-generated content and other user action data within mobile applications.
“Flurry is committed to dramatically raising the standard of iPhone and Android Analytics for its customers,” said Flurry CEO, Simon Khalaf. “Building the ability to track user flows and event parameters was technically challenging but exactly what our customers needed to better understand their consumers, increase retention and grow their active user base.”
The User Path Tracking gives developers the chance to track the sequence of actions that consumers complete in their applications from the time of launch, thus giving the option of using the collected data to increase user satisfaction and retention by improving the design of an application and discovery of key features.
In addition to the ability to track when end-users perform key actions, developers can now “describe” and understand how that action was completed in richer detail with Dynamic Parameters.