Android game downloads increased by nearly 60% over the prior year
Year 2013 was a great year for Mobile in India with significant growth in smart phones and overall data users in India. As at December 2013,
• India had approximately 120m mobile internet users in India which was a near doubling of the prior period base.
• The number of active 3G users as of December 2013 was approximately 30m in India. This base is still modest and represents about 5% penetration of mobile connections. Also in 2013, smartphone shipments in India were about 45m, a majority of which were on Android platform. The annual growth rate of smartphone shipments is over 200% and hence, Analysts expect 150m smartphone shipments in 2014. 3G penetration should also accelerate with Operators aggressively driving 3G uptake through attractive pricing plans.
Mobango is amongst the largest independent Apps Games and Video stores which serves users primarily on the Android and Java platforms. Mobango had a spectacular year in terms of key store metrics which are highlighted below.
Mobango is a free store and delivers nearly 270m downloads of apps, games and videos per annum with India being its single largest market. Gaming is an important and fast growing segment on mobile in India. For Mobango, games have been amongst the fastest growing segment as compared to apps and videos.
• In the prior year – 2012, overall game downloads on Mobango were about 28% of total downloads which have increased to about 37% of total downloads in 2013. This has driven total game downloads to about 95m in 2013; in the prior year, the number of game downloads was about 80m.
• 2013 saw a dramatic increase of over 56% in the number of Android downloads primarily due to users shifting from feature phones to Android powered smart phones.
• Of this, India was the single largest contributor of game downloads at over 45m downloads. This has grown significantly from 25m in 2012, representing growth of over 80% over the prior year.
The total mobile gaming market in India is estimated to be about US$ 100m and growing at about 30-40% per annum. With over 45m downloads per annum in India, Mobango becomes one of the largest mobile game distributors in this fast growing market.
2. Strong growth in Android games
• The strong uptake in Android phones in 2013 also led to an increase in Android games published. Titles from developers such as Indiagames / Disney, Herocraft, GP Imports, Digital Chocolate, Deemedya, Reliance Games and many more grew exponentially. Including smaller and mid-size developers, Mobango added about 1,500 – 2,000 gaming developers in 2013. The total games uploaded by both existing and new developers exceeded 15,000 new titles in the last year. One significant trend was that a majority of these games uploaded were Android – with only 20% of titles being Java games. \
• Java traffic and downloads continued to be significant portion of traffic in 2013 – about 65% of all downloads, owing to the still large penetration of existing Java handsets. As Android shipments increase dramatically in 2014, this ratio of Java downloads will dramatically reduce.
• There is one challenge though as portfolio of Android games increase. Average size of Android games on Mobango is approximately 8-10 MB and nearly 40% of games have sizes of more than 10 MB.
These large sizes are due to games having superior quality of graphics and game complexity. For instance, the latest version of Angry Birds game was over 100MB is size. Given that India has just about 30m 3G users or just under 5% of total mobile users in India, the experience of downloading such large game files on a slower connection is poor. With nearly 60% of Mobango Android users on Wifi or 3G networks, a faster growth in 3G users in 2014 would help Android users access more games.
3. Samsung and Micromax devices lead in user visits and downloads
The top handset brands by visits for Android were Samsung followed by Micromax, Sony Ericsson and HTC. While for Java platform Nokia is still the top brand with Models like Nokia C series and Asha series.
Medium screen size Android devices (screen size above 240 but below 400 pixels) have the largest share of traffic, though this is changing rapidly to larger screen devices (above 400 pixels).
4. In-app advertisement is the preferred business model:
In 2013, developers relied predominantly on in-app advertising as the primary revenue model on most of the games. Nearly 85% of all titles have in-app advertisement powered by popular SDKs from various ad networks like Google, Vserv, Inneractive and others. Only about 15% games currently have in-app purchases using mobile operator billing or Google Play billing. Developers are expected to experiment with more trial versions of games using Operator or Google billing options; helped by platforms such as Mobango.
5. Action category of games are most downloaded
Mobango presents games in 11 main categories. Of these categories, Action games are the top downloaded games with a share of 32% of total Android gaming category and 37% in other platforms. Racing and Arcade are the next popular category of gaming categories. This trend is consistent with what we saw in 2012.
6. Mobile games engagement though continues to be low for most games
For a majority of the mobile games, engagement continues to be poor. On an average games are played between 4 – 10 times before the user moves on to other games. Of the game categories, Racing Category games seem to have higher engagement – approximately 40% higher engagement than the other game categories.
This low level of engagement is detrimental to the developers from monetisation perspective.
One significant issue could be that many games use notifications based marketing as a way to monetise these games. So instead of using notifications to encourage users to play the games more, the games are used as an advertising channel for other apps or offers. This prompts users to uninstall the games to avoid ads.
7. What to expect in 2014
• Games are expected to continue to have the largest share of downloads, continuing the prior year trend. This shift will be facilitated by the twin trends of growing 3G penetration from current 30m active users to estimated 100m in 2014; and 50m smartphone shipments increasing to over 150m smartphone shipments estimated in 2014. Given that a large proportion of these shipments are expected to be at or below the Rs 10,000 price point, this will only enable more users to download and enjoy mobile games. This audience is young – between 18 to 30 years of age and hence is highly relevant for mobile gaming.
The above trend will mean that Java platform as proportion of downloads will significantly decline with Android moving to over 50-55% of all game downloads for Mobango.
• In terms of monetisation, it is expected that developers will experiment with more options for trial versions of the games using Mobango powered Mobile operator billing or Google billing options, simply given that Ad monetisation still significantly lags Western markets in realisation. Market analysis done by The Guardian newspaper in UK highlights that on Appstores, 8 out of 10 top grossing applications are games. This shift in developer monetisation strategies could support India gaming market to grow by over 30-40% in 2014.
The above data and insights were collated based on Mobango’s own user visits and engagement data for the period of 12 months from January to December 2013. Mobango was recognised by The Economist as Top 10 Appstores in the world and is one of the largest independent free appstores in the world helping developers in discovery, distribution and monetisation of their apps since 2006. Mobango is a winner of several awards including Red Herring award for Innovation in 2012. Mobango was acquired by Mauj Mobile, a pioneer in Mobile internet services in India in 2011. Mauj provides monetisation options for developers and video content owners through Mobile operator billing and is a Top 3 Mobile Internet company in India. Mauj Mobile is funded by Tier 1 Venture Capitalists – Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital and Westbridge Capital.
For more information contact:
1. Paloma Furones
2. Unnati Desai