Yesterday, EA Games launched a port of the 1997 empire building game Dungeon Keeper. While it stays true to the original gameplay in most respects, it happens to be free to download and incorporates the pay-to-play timed action mechanics. This, of course, caused outrage at fans of the original title (Frankly, I found it to be a bit much myself). Gamers call companies that engage in free-to-play, or “Freemuim” tactics frauds, tricksters, greedy, and more. Why would a game company continue to launch free-to-play titles when so many people hate it?
Well, according to research firm App Annie, it is because the free-to-play game model makes bank. In 2013, the freemium business model took 93 percent of games app revenue, up from 86 percent the previous year.
According to App Annie’s 2013 Retrospective report, not only did freemium games horde the loot, the freemium model expanded further into the non-games category, as well. Data showed that non-game apps generated 57 percent of revenue for that category in 2013, up from 46 percent the year before.
Another complaint tech readers hear a lot is how app developers tend to launch apps on iOS before Android. Facebook’s upcoming newsreader app, Paper, is a perfect example of that. On its launch date of Feb. 3, the app will be exclusively on iOS.
According to App Annie’s report, that is likely due to the fact that developers make more than twice the yearly app revenue of Google Play. However, it should be noted that Android app revenue has increased significantly from 2012. App Annie contributes some of this to the increase in the global app market. In 2013, Japan overtook the U.S. for largest app revenue. In addition to Japan, South Korea made a huge dent in app revenue. Both countries have a very large Android presence.
App Annie also predicts that, due to more countries expanding their mobile device offerings, it is likely that Apple’s app revenue market will likely shrink even further in 2014.