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iOS gamers are more loyal than Android, suggests Priori Data

Market intelligence platform dissects the mobile market at Digital Dragons 2018

Android users are less loyal than iOS when it comes to gaming, according market intelligence platform Priori Data.

Speaking at Digital Dragons in Kraków this week, director of business development Ben Nolan outlined the emerging mobile gaming trends in 2018.

By calculating what percentage of monthly active users are also daily active users, Priori Data was able to extrapolate "stickiness" of users across both platforms.

Android 'stickiness' (via Priori Data)

For Google Play, it's a fairly consistent 15 per cent across all categories, except educational games where 'stickiness' is only around four per cent. (Larger graph)

While iOS users are more loyal Android users, "they're still not sticking around that long" says Nolan, highlighting a peak of around 21 per cent of users for word games and a low point of around 15 per cent for adventure games. (Larger graph)

iOS user 'stickiness' (via Priori Data)

Considering the year-on-year download growth of different categories in Q1 2018, Nolan also highlighted another noteworthy difference between iOS and Google Play.

The music games category is up by nearly 60 per cent on Google Play, followed closely by board games at 50 per cent. The only categories to show a decline were sports, casino, strategy, and card.

However, this was not necessarily reflected in where people are spending their money, with music and word games ranking among the lowest user spend on the platform.

In fact, the only category to see major revenue growth so far this year on iOS was adventure games, accompanied by a slight uptick in the puzzle games sector.

Simulation, card and arcade games all remained flat, while there were steep declines in all other categories. The largest drops in revenue were felt in the dice, educational and trivia categories, with the former almost 100 per cent down year-on-year. (Larger graph)

YoY App Store revenue growth Q1 2018 (via Priori Data)

In contrast, Google Play's revenues for the year thus far have risen in all but three categories. Casual games showed the most improvement - up more than 50 per cent year-on-year - followed by word and trivia games.

Card, action and strategy games all generated less revenue across January to April 2018 than they did during the same period last year. While card and action game revenues saw declines of less than 10 per cent, strategy took the biggest hit at almost 40 per cent. (Larger Graph)

YoY Google Play revenue growth Q1 2018 (via Priori Data)

Download growth on iOS is markedly lower, even among the top categories, with word and arcade games seeing around a 25 and 20 per cent growth respectively.

In total, 12 out of the 18 categories saw a drop in downloads for Q1 2018 compared to the same period last year, ranging from around a one per cent reduction in puzzle games to well over 90 per cent in the dice game category.

Again, despite the category growth on iOS, word and arcade were among the lowest earners, with RPG and action games -- accompanied by a modest download growth -- topping the list.

Meanwhile, esports is one of the biggest trends according to Priori Data, driven by ready availability affordable high-end mobile devices. Citing Newzoo data, Nolan noted the rapid increase in esports viewers from 150 million in 2015, to 191 million in 2017, with a projected growth to 286 million by 2021.

"We haven't seen this sort of growth in the ecosystem for a long time, so this represents a huge opportunity for people who can tap into it," said Nolan.

Considering the meteoric rise of battle royale, however, it's growth is a less prominent trend than it appears at face value; with 60 per cent of the market occupied by only two games, there is no real competition suggested Nolan.

"People love it but it doesn't seem like it's really a trend that has worked for developers," he said.

Similarly, the enthusiasm from investors around augmented and virtual reality isn't necessarily reflected by user numbers.

"News recently of ridiculous investments going in recently, with crazy money hitting the floor... but I'm not sure as many people are playing it as would warrant that amount of investment," said Nolan.

Finally, the rise of ad revenue was of particular note, with Nolan referring to the recent success enjoyed by Space Ape which saw a huge spike without cannibalising its IAP revenue.

"That's probably the most aggressive ad/IAP split that I've seen and it's pretty amazing," said Nolan. "Part of the reason we can do that is we don't have to show shit ads anymore.

"You have good video ad opportunities and consumers are starting to get the fact that interacting with an ad is not necessarily something annoying. Everyone grows up with TV right? You're used to interacting with ads, and they don't have to be annoying." is an official media partner for Digital Dragons 2018. The organisers have paid for our travel and accommodation.

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Ivy Taylor


Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.