10 Trends in iPhone Gaming
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10 Trends in iPhone Gaming

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Trends in the iPhone games market - a presentation from the Mobile Games Forum 2010 conference in London, Jan-10.

Trends in the iPhone games market - a presentation from the Mobile Games Forum 2010 conference in London, Jan-10.

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  • Avg price is $4.74, and only two 99c gamesThe most popular iPhone game is only the seventh best in terms of revenuesSweet spots selling shedloads of a premium game like Call of Duty or The Sims 3 – and then $2.99 selling a casual gameAlso note: 15 of the top 20 Top Grossing Apps on the App Store are games


  • 1. 10 Current Trends in iPhone Gaming
    Stuart Dredge
    Mobile Entertainment / iPhone Games Bulletin
  • 2. Who Am I?
    UK journalist covering mobile, games and digital entertainment
    Mobile Entertainment / Music Ally
    Also Sunday Times, Recombu, What Mobile
    And my own things...
  • 3. iPhone Games Bulletin
    Launched in June 2009
    Daily free email newsletter offering iPhone games industry news and analysis
    Sign up at www.iphonegamesbulletin.com
    Also www.islatepicks.com (tablet tech and apps)
  • 4. 1. The iphone games goldrush
  • 5. The Big Numbers
    Addressable base of 50m+ devices
    30m iPhones and 20m iPod touches
    More than 3 billion App Store downloads
    7.4m iPhones sold in Q3 2009
    17.8% share of smartphone market (Canalys)
    2.5% share of ALL global handsets (Strategy Analytics)
  • 6. Developers Striking It Rich
    10m Paid iPhone games sold by Gameloft since the launch of the App Store
    $1,687 Revenues per hour of dvpt time forNimbleBit’s Scoops ($269,929 total)
    2m Tap Tap Revenge 3 downloads in a week last Christmas after going free
    10 days How long it took Playmesh to rack up 1m free downloads of iFarm
    13.5m Downloads of Backflip Studios games in seven months ($1.75m of revenue)
    79,422 Doodle Jump’s sales on Christmas Day alone
  • 7. Analysts’ Big Numbers
    $2.8 billion iPhone games revenues in 2014 – 24% of handheld market (DFC)
    18.7 billion App downloads in 2014 – of which 20% will be from Apple devices (Ovum)
    610 million Paid apps in first 2bn iPhone downloads – generating $900m of developer revenues (Pinch Media)
    36 million Number of iPhones that Apple will sell in 2010 (Piper Jaffray)
  • 8. 2. Heavy usage but ferocious competition
  • 9. Heavy Usage
    72% of iPhone users have downloaded 10 or more apps (Compete)
    Average user has downloaded 65 apps for their device, spending $80 in total (AppsFire – Sep 09)
    85% of UK iPhone owners pay for games (UK National Gamers Survey – Dec 09)
    51% for Samsung, 38% for Sony Ericsson and Nokia
  • 10. Ferocious Competition
  • 11. Ferocious Competition
    4,491 apps released on 18-Dec-09 (AppShopper)
    80% of apps are not actively installed (AppsFire)
    80,000 out of 100,000 at the time of the survey (Nov-09)
    Even those that are can be short-lived
    Flurry data: 72% of games still played after 30 days
    But only 23% after 60 days, and 16% after 90 days
  • 12. 3. Piracy and ip infringement
  • 13. Piracy on the App Store
    $450 million of lost revenues (24/7 Wall St)
    Based on 75% piracy rate and 1.5bn illegal downloads
    But also assuming that only 10% of those were ‘lost’ sales
    Rally Master Pro: 95% first-day piracy rate
    Tap-Fu: 80% first-week piracy rate
    Orbital: 80% first-week dropping to 24% later
    Pirate behaviour and first-day / week spike
  • 14. Solutions to Piracy?
    There is no catch-all solution. Sorry.
    Turn pirates into paying customers - in-app payments
    Send takedown requests (i.e. Whack-a-Mole)
    Ask Apple to do something. But what?
    Music – part of the solution is providing better-value and more appealing consumer services. With rich games selling for $0.99 on a slick store, though...
  • 15. IP infringement
    Several high-profile examples of IP battles
    Edge / Edgy / Killer Edge Racing
    Stoneloops of Jurassica v Luxor
    MarioTD / Duck Hunt / BreakClassic / Super Pong 2
    Apple currently playing judge and jury
    The more high-profile iPhone gaming is, the more lawsuits we can expect to see
  • 16. 4. Pricing evolution
  • 17. Prices. How low can they go?
    2008-09: Developer complaints about dive to 99c
    Late 2009: Concerted efforts to buck the trend
    EA holding onto its premium prices
    Canabalt establishing $2.99 success for casual game
    Social games bundling points up to $99.99
    Yet price cuts now standard marketing practice
    ‘Peggling’ down to 99c for limited period
    Will 2010 break the $9.99 price barrier?
    Leaked Assassin’s Creed 2 at $11.99...
  • 18. Top Paid Games chart
    Avg Price: $2.34
    11 games at 99c
  • 19. Top Grossing Games chart
    • Avg Price: $4.74
    • 20. 2 games at 99c
    • 21. One free game
  • In-App Payments
    Eliminate Pro, Skies of Glory, Tap Tap Revenge 3
    Mixed success
    TTR3 in Top Grossing chart – has sold 1m songs
    Eliminate – 500k downloads in a week (but not in TG chart)
    Skies of Glory?
    Other (paid game) examples show mixed results too
    Pocket God – in-app payments 27% of its revenues
    Freeverse – tens of thousands of Flick Fishing payments
    Enigmo: 1m install base but only 25 in-app sales a day
  • 22. What About Advertising?
    In-app advertising fuelling big acquisitions
    Apple/Quattro and Google/AdMob
    Could developers be caught in the middle of a battle?
    Exclusive deals – AdMob/Tapulous (Sep-09)
    Need more success stories from developers
    Backflip Studios - $125k a month from ads (Nov-09)
    Separate trend: advergames
    Reebok iSprint
    Real Racing GTI
    Sirocco 24H Challenge
    Waterslide Extreme
  • 23. 5. Promotion & discovery
  • 24. Promotion
    2009: Pubs and devs got savvy about marketing
    More use of social media in particular
    Developer-led efforts to collaborate on marketing
    Appvent Calendar: 100k downloads of Navy Patrol
    FreeAppaDay just launched with same idea
    APPvertisemARTs from ustwo
    Cross-promotion also becoming more important
    Can tie in with in-app payments (ngmoco / Eliminate)
  • 25. Discovery
    Developers have focused on App Store charts
    Marketing strategies based on ‘get into the top 100’
    Apple’s Genius has been low-profile since launch
    Third-party services filling the gap
    Chorus / Chomp / Appolicious / Apptizr
    Mplayit / AppClassics / AppStoreHQ
  • 26. 6. Social and connectivity
  • 27. Social Games Platforms
    Fierce competition: OpenFeint, Scoreloop, Plus+, Crystal, AGON Online, GameSpy...
    Difference emerging: white-label v brand
    Own-brand iPhone apps for OpenFeint and rivals
    This space is seeing investment
    Aug: $2.8m funding for Scoreloop
    Oct: DeNa invested in Aurora Feint
    Emerging value as promotional platforms
    OpenFeint Gold scheme / AGON consumer site
  • 28. iPhone + Facebook
    So far, Facebook/iPhone links have been limited
    Facebook Connect used mainly for viral buzz
    Playfish/ Zynga / Playdom not taking App Store by storm
    Cross-Platform games: Anytime Pool, Who Has The Biggest Brain, Bumper Stars
    BUT: big iPhone/mobile firms investing in Facebook
    Glu built a social gaming team in 2009
    Ngmoco recruited ex MySpace SVP
    Digital Chocolate’s NanoStars concept
  • 29. 7. Publishing shake-up
  • 30. New Publishers Coming In
    Console firms now interested in mobile
    GTA: Chinatown Wars out this week
    Activision released Call of Duty: World At War: Zombies
    Ubisoft self-publishing, rather than licensing to Gameloft
    Codemasters back in after exiting J2ME market
    But iPhone isn’t just about the console publishers
    Developers seeing opportunity to self-publish
    Social games firms may ramp up in 2010
    Casual publishers like PopCap already punching their weight
    Web Flash studios, iTV gaming firms...
    iPhone is a battleground more than DS and PSP
  • 31. iPhone Firms Going Out
    Games can build buzz on iPhone then extend
    Fieldrunners went to PSP Minis, then mobile
    WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade, Facebook, PC...
    Other smartphone platforms courting iPhone developers
    Multiple platforms will be increasingly important
    Make more money if prices are higher
    Make more money if competition is less intense
    Make more money if iPhone game tanks
    In 2010, we’ll be talking more about cross-platform developers/publishers for whom iPhone is a base
  • 32. iPhone v PSP Minis Pricing
  • 33. Developers Skilling Up
    Developers have been self-publishing since the early days of the App Store
    BUT now they’re becoming publishers too
    TAG Games and B-Boy Brawl
    Bulkypix publishing several games
    2009 – became clear there IS a role for publishers
    Less about the mechanics of publishing, and more about the marketing
  • 34. Who’s Making Money?
    Source: Top 20 App Store charts, 13-Jan-09
  • 35. 8. Apple as platform owner
  • 36. App Store Improvements
    Top Grossing chart to highlight biggest earners
    Genius for Apps to help discovery
    Redesigned App Store pages in iTunes
    More priority to screenshots
    Only first paragraph of description is shown
    Harder to find genres?
    Halved the price of iPod touch software update
    More transparency in approvals (but enough?)
  • 37. But what next?
    Will Apple publish more first-party games?
    Recruiting Video Game Artist for ‘interactive multimedia’
    Previously hired Xbox senior director of strategy
    Will Apple launch its own social games service?
    M&A expert on board – could it buy a social platform?
    Will Apple take more control of in-app ads?
    $275m Quattro Wireless deal announced in January
    What now for developers using AdMob units?
    What will the iSlate mean for gaming?
  • 38. 9. Ipod touch’s importance
  • 39. iPod Touch For Games
    “What customers told us was, they started to see it as a games machine...” – Steve Jobs
    iPod Touch is the real rival to DS and PSP, not iPhone
    Downloads outstripped iPhone by 172% at Christmas
    Up by 900% on Christmas Day itself (Flurry)
    iPod Touch users download 18 apps a month
    • Compared to 10 a month for iPhone (AdMob)
    Implications: connectivity not a given
    Nor is latest OS – 32% below 3.0 in December
  • 40. iTouch Christmas
  • 41. 10. Rise of the not-quite-game
  • 42. Not Quite Games, But...
    Foursquare / Gowalla / MyTown / Rummble
    Turning real-world social lives into virtual games
    Attracting significant investment from VCs
    Foursquare one check-in a second / 450k MyTown users
    Augmented Reality
    Layar, Junaio, Sekai Camera, Wikitude
    What games are possible – and how niche are they?
    Juniper: $732m by 2014 with games leading the way
    Multiplayer competitive fitness
    iSpeedRunner – train but also compare times
  • 43. CHEERS!
    This presentation will be available on www.iphonegamesbulletin.com
    Contact me: sdredge@gmail.com