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Quick Notes from Smartphone Games Summit — Android, Social, Freemium and More

I stopped by the Smartphone Games Summit today, and thought I’d post a few notes. Great job to Charles Hudson and mediabistro for another great event. One of the interesting sessions in the morning was a session called Smartphone Game Trends, presented by Peter Farago, VP of Marketing for Flurry.

Smartphone Game Trends

  • Consumers are changing in their behavior from portable games (DS) to iPhone
  • On iPhone, 1% of games are on iPhone (in a pie with portable and console) but they claim 5% of revenue share.

Issues with Android

  • Install base for Android is almost equal to iPhone, but Android users don’t behave like iPhone users
  • Android users don’t use apps as much vs iPhone, with fewer sessions
  • Games is a significantly less popular category
  • Fragmentation is a problem
  • No in-app monetization
  • Lack of consumer credit cards
  • 24 hour no questions asked return policy is an issue


  • Apple does a great job of monetizing each user. Monetization per user per year: $18 for Google, $14 for Apple, $6 for Yahoo, Microsoft $4, Facebook $3, Twitter <$1
  • Space has shifted a lot, only in 2010 is the first time mobile hardware has been good enough to support games.
  • Developers want businesses and not just a great operating system. They need the full spectrum of device and OS, broadband, consumer base and one-click purchase.
  • The mobile space has evolved from ship & forget to a service model with updates.
  • Developers are in a great and bad spot since there is significant investment in apps, but the low barrier to entry creates a moshpit effect.
  • Mobile business models include free2play, microtransactions, ad revenues, premium, trial to pay.
  • There was a great slide on this, I hope he posts this, but Flurry has an estimate of the promotion cost and approximate installs to reach top spots on the app store. Barring any typos in my notes his estimates have the Free games #1 spot worth approximately 130–250k installs, and costing $100–450k promotion. For paid #1 spot, it’s 25–30k installs, and 50–150k promotion cost.

Other misc soundbites notes from the summit

  • On mobile vs social: mobile games see 50% of players playing daily, higher monetization per active user than web social games. — Jason Oberfest from Ngmoco
  • New Toy is making $1mm+ per month on Words with Friends.
  • Analytics: There are plenty of good 3rd party services are definitely out there. What is missing today is good crossplatform analytics on games.
  • On Social: The more friends people have, the more engaged they are — the longer they play, the more often they play. — papaya games
  • On freemium: Using a freemium game instead of an upfront payment model increases audience/players by 10x
  • Playfirst has generated $1 million in new sales via cross promotion in their existing applications