Freemium games generate 3 times more revenue per daily user on iOS than Android, reckons Godzilab
But downloads higher on Google's OS
For developers with a traditional mindset, the prospect of giving their games away for free on an established marketplace such as the App Store is a hard enough sell.
Going freemium on Android Market - where downloads are perceived to be slower, meaningful visibility harder, and issues of fragmentation regularly make the headlines - is jump into the unknown.
It means the info garnered by those studios who have made the leap – such as French outfit Godzilab – is all the more valuable, and in a blog post detailing the performance of Stardunk after 1 million downloads on the platform, the developer is keen to dispel some myths.
The frag fix
Namely that Android Market is always in the shadow of Apple's marketplace. In Godzilab's experience, it actually offers a few notable advantages for the freemium developer.
Users, on the whole, are more willing to reward quality releases with five star reviews, Godzilab reports, though studios need to constantly fix and refine the game to work on problematic devices to maintain such a high standing.
"At the beginning you might be spending a lot of time replying to emails and fixing bugs, but this pays and makes your customers happy and translates to a better rating and great reviews," states the studio.
"One thing we did quite early was also to remove the device from the list of supported device, when we knew for sure that Stardunk was crashing on those. And as soon as we had the bugs fixed, we were adding them back to the list."
A market of marketplaces
Developers expecting any increased downloads that result to have an immediate impact on their ranking, however, will be disappointed.
Android Market's algorithm appears to be a complex beast, and it can take up to a week for a rise in downloads to be visible on the marketplace.
Conversely, the approval process on Android Market is refreshingly speedy.
"Releasing a game on the Android Market is super easy - it's one click and 15 mins later the game is visible on the google market," adds Godzilab.
"We had an issue reported by some users and a few hours later we were releasing an update with the fix in it. This allows a really fast iteration that we don’t have on iOS."
But it's not only the App Store that Android Market has some advantages over. Godzilab also has some disparaging remarks for other marketplaces on Google's OS, including Amazon Appstore and GetJar.
"We received tons of emails from unknown channels and had Stardunk published only on Amazon and Getjar," Godzilab adds.
"Amazon is driving around 10-30 downloads per day which really doesn’t worth the hassle of changing your app to match their requirements and going through their slow review process. So my advice would be to only focus on the Android Market, and have publishers for China and Korea where your game can’t be distributed through the Android Market."
A star release
The question all prospective Android developers want answered, however, is whether there is money to be made on Android Market with freemium releases.
In the case of Stardunk, revenue generated per daily user has been three times smaller than on iOS, but an increased number of downloads means that it's holding its own overall.
"As of today both versions have about the same revenue, and we covered our initial development cost really quickly," Godzilab concludes.
"Maybe we were lucky with Stardunk: a free app which corresponds to the criteria of what people like on the android market - a free and quality app."
Godzilab's evaluation of Google's marketplace will only be complete, however, when the studio releases paid app iBlast Moki on Android Market in September.
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