A recent article from ComputerWorld profiled the app developer, Spacetime Studios, makers of the popular 3D MMO, Pocket Legends. An interesting potential trend showed up in the profile. For this developer, developing for the Android OS has become more financially lucrative than developing for Apple's iOS.
Keep in mind that this isn't some small developer, or no-name app either. Pocket Legends, in case you haven't played it, was heralded as one of the 10 best Android games available by MSNBC.com, and one of the top five "groundbreaking" iOS games of 2010 by Mashable. In regards to its surprising growth on Android, Spacetime CEO Gary Gattis had this to say "We've just been blown away. Android has become our primary interest."
This is especially telling when you consider that the in-app purchasing system is superior on the iOS than Android's current one. The trend doesn't just stop with the app itself either. Spacetime also shared that they use advertising to generate additional revenue, and they have seen the same pattern there as well. The article specified,Spacetime Studios said that the game on Android generates 30 to 50 percent more revenue than the iOS version, and further elaborated that its daily user activity on Android is more than double its level on iOS in practically every measure. On Android, the game is downloaded about 9,000 times a day, according to Spacetime; on iOS, daily downloads are in the 3,000 to 4,000 range. Perhaps even more significant, Android users who have the app use it about three times more than their Apple counterparts.Mr. Gattis had this to say about it, "This led us to stop advertising on Apple and throw all of our marketing dollars onto Android. It really just makes sense from a financial point of view."Android users click ads about three times as much as iOS users, according to Spacetime's measurements. What's more, they end up making purchases as a result of ad clickthroughs twice as often as iOS users.
This disparity in favor of Android seems to 'fly in the face' of conventional wisdom. Most app developers believe they will make more money on the iOS than on Android, since the iOS still reigns in total number of apps at 350,000. However, this may be changing, and some theories emerge from the article as to why this might be happening.
First, Gattis suggested, "Android's a smaller pond for apps right now. The support on the Google side has been much more tangible -- they're really trying to nurture the gaming community."
Also, although Android is below iOS in total number of apps, their growth has been phenomenal over the past year. Apps on the Android Market have tripled over the last nine months, up to 150,000 total applications.A third theory suggests that Android Market's openness is a primary cause for this trend. Apple App Store is infamous for overly draconian controls forced on developers, while the Android is much easier to get started developing for. Both approaches have their pros and cons, but 'ease of use' will probably always win out, since it frees up the developer's time to spend actually developing their apps.According to independent metrics firm AndroLib, 32,323 new apps appeared in the Android Market in February. That's up from 29,293 new apps in January, 27,227 new apps in December, and 24,040 new apps in November.
Obviously, the reality is that probably all of these ideas combined, are the root cause of this pattern, at least for this developer. It would be interesting to find out if this is an isolated incident with this developer, or if it truly is a growing trend amongst multiple developers. What do you think? If you are a developer for both systems, or know any, please share your experiences in the forums.
Source: Android.net via ComputerWorld