Few trends shaped 2012 as profoundly as the growth of mobile apps, and gaming apps in particular.
This year, apps generated about $10 billion in revenue -- and a staggering 80% of this went to games, according to new estimates from mobile analytics firm Flurry.
The financial success of gaming apps speaks directly to the popularity of “freemium” business models, which give consumers free access to the “core loop” of a game, but then charges for virtual goods and currency through micro-transactions.
Indeed, this “free-to-play” strategy represents “the most prolific business model in the new era of digital distribution,” according to Dan Laughlin, senior director of Games Business Development at Flurry.
Flurry also noted that with app consumption on iOS and Android “smart devices” -- i.e., phones and tablets -- consumers spend more than 40% of all their time using games. Driving growth, game makers like Electronic Arts and Zynga are also getting better at understanding different consumer behaviors based on game genres.
“This level of understanding greatly informs a company’s app acquisition, retention and monetization strategies,” Laughlin said.
Examining consumer behavior differences by app usage, retention and demographics, Flurry found that middle-aged females are particularly drawn to “social turn-based games,” as well as “evergreen” games, which can be played among friends.
Older male gamers can be corralled with casino- and poker-type gamers -- while not surprisingly, younger males represent the most fickle demographic, according to Flurry.