The App Annie 2013 Retrospective report has recently been published and it is showing some interesting trends in terms of mobile gaming. The first deals with the types of devices players are gravitating towards and the second deals with the freemium model. We often associate the freemium model with gaming, however the report also shows this is also growing on the non-gaming side.
As for the devices, based on data from the report, 2013 marks the first time players have favored games on an Android or iOS device, as opposed to a dedicated gaming device. Details here mention how both Google Play and the iOS App Store have "experienced a surge in app store game revenue, vaulting them ahead of handhelds in 2013 for the first time ever."
Further details here show the Play Store passed handhelds during the second-quarter of 2013. On the other side, the iOS App Store moved a bit quicker, passing the handheld side during the first-quarter. Looking at both Android and iOS combined and that shows consumers are spending three times more as compared to the dedicated gaming handheld users. Unfortunately, beyond this data, there isn't much in terms of why.
Speculation here could suggest a few things. For one, maybe some are combining devices and therefor spending game money on the device most often with them. Or alternatively, this could also be related to pricing. Simply put, even an 'expensive' mobile game is much less as compared to what you would often spend for a Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita game.
We often hear complaints from players about the freemium model, however based on this report -- it seems to be working well for developers. The App Annie report cites the freemium model as being "massively successful for a range of app categories in 2013." Gaming led the charge here, but interestingly, there has been a shift on the non-gaming side. Details here show revenue from non-gaming apps using the freemium model have increased from 46 percent to 57 percent from 2012 to 2013.
On the gaming side, that number went from 86 percent in 2012 to 93 percent in 2013. Or in other words, that has the 2013 gaming side for "apps that do not use in-app purchases" at just 7 percent. That, as based on the earlier numbers, is down from 14 percent in 2012. Simply put, it seems it is going to become increasingly hard to find games that are not relying on in-app purchase moving forward.