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Mobile Games Spending Still Growing, Especially on Android

Mo' mobile devices, mo' money.

Composite image by Eric Johnson; falling money via Shutterstock

Gaming revenue on both iOS and Android is still growing, and as it continues to add market share, Google’s operating system is closing the revenue gap.

That’s the big takeaway from a new report from App Annie and IDC, provided exclusively in advance to Re/code. The “Portable Gaming Spotlight” looked at the change between the second quarter of 2013 and the same quarter of this year.

In that time, Android jumped more than eight percentage points in the combined smartphone and tablet installed base, mostly at the expense of “other” devices like Windows Phone and BlackBerry. Games became even more important to Google Play, now representing something like 85 percent of all revenue in that app store. The revenue split on iOS was effectively flat year over year at 75 percent of app revenue, and in both stores, games represented less than half of all downloads.

In-game purchase revenue on iOS grew more than 70 percent worldwide year over year, and it grew even faster on Android, more than doubling in the same time frame to exceed where iOS was at this time last year. Game shipments and spending on handheld devices like the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita continued their long-running slide, but the report predicted a seasonal rebound once some of the bigger titles for those platforms come out later this year.

The same three long-dominant games — Puzzle and Dragons, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans — were the top three money makers on both platforms. Game of War and Hay Day rounded out the list on iOS, while Japanese games Monster Strike and The World of Mystic Wiz came in fourth and fifth on Android.

However, IDC researcher Lewis Ward said the revenue jump is about hardware.

“The revenue increase is mostly driven by the increase in smartphone and tablet ownership worldwide,” Ward said via email. “Sure, monetization in select games is up, but overall gamer ARPU (average revenue per user) on combined smartphones and tablets appears to be trending down marginally in 2014 compared to 2013.”

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