Google Play in-app purchases up 700%

Market trending free-to-play as last year has seen players spend eight times as much from within programs

Conventional wisdom says the mobile market is going free-to-play in a big way, but an Inside Mobile Apps report from last week's Google I/O conference has provided some numbers to show just how dramatic the trend has been. At the conference, Google Play product manager for commerce and monetization Ibrahim Elbouchikhi noted that the storefront's in-app revenues grew 700 percent in the last year.

Additionally, Google Play games business development head Bob Meese emphasized for the audience how drastically the market was shifting toward free-to-play models. Meese noted that the vast majority of top grossing apps on the Google Play store are free-to-play, with the single biggest exception being Minecraft: Pocket Edition.

"We're not saying you need to push everything free-to-play, however also recognize the dominant trend toward free-to-play," Meese said.

Even non-game apps are benefitting from in-app-purchase models. In February, music streaming service Pandora implemented a way for users to subscribe from within the Android app, and saw revenues on Google Play jump nearly 400 percent month-over-month.

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Latest comments (3)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
Just how much proof do the luddites need that the world has changed and that the customers have moved on?
Boxed games are largely dead. The concept of $60 up front is now seen as ridiculous by most.
Now games are a service, continually adapted and tailored for what the audience wants.
Business models are becoming far more sophisticated as developers give their public what they want and that public is happy to pay for this. Once people are emotionally engaged in a game they want to pay to have their experience enhanced.
This customer centric view is alien to most old school game developers. But they had better get used to it because soon it will be the only game in town.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 4 years ago
The billion dollar Board Game Industry continues to power on. The booming indie board game sector alone has risen 900% in the past 24 months!

Is the booming board game sector justification to call all gaming sectors obsolete? Gaming as a form of human play which started in the school yard (and still exists in the school yard), moved to ball sports, board games and table top gaming (which still all exist). Games moved into the electronic age and moved onto our televisions, desktops, handhelds, mobiles and browsers.

It's easy to look at ups and downs in the short term and claim only one future exists. But the truth in all this is humans want play everywhere, on every device, in every room. Market segments will grow and contract, but it's the rare occasion that one will be removed entirely. For as long as their are televisions, kitchen tables, long car rides and backyards - people will want games in those spaces.

People are obsessed with play. Their is a business model making games that target any place humans like to inhabit. Look at stuff like Sifteo is working on. Hands on consoles that operate in the real world. Is mobile really going to kill everything? Or do we suddenly have a beautiful smorgasbord of opportunities?
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
Shane, their aren't any downs. At least not yet.

At some point this new thing will level out, but the meteoric rise should not be ignored. In fact I would go so far to suggest that any company big enough to have a board of directors should start firing CEO's who are blinkered to this new model. It's bordering on criminal how slowly some devs are catching on to how people prefer to pay for games.

This isn't a new craze that will die out. For many many years, gamers have said they want micropayments to get better cars or paintjobs, blah blah, and to not have to pay for parts they don't want. Now this has become feasible on some platforms and whaddayaknow, it's gone epic. This new model is not about developers forcing something on customers. It's about developers being able to supply their products the way customers really want them, and have always wanted them.

(Generalising of course)

I should add that there are some bad pennies that crop up who are totally abusing F2P, but don't get sidetracked. They make good stories for the media so you see all of them a lot. But the large majority of games using this model are NOT tricking people into spending money. It does amaze me how many paranoids out there assume that the populous don't want to spend it. They do. Really. If they get value for money, they'll even spend a lot, which is a win-win.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 24th May 2013 12:20am

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