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Creators of Train Conductor and Train Conductor 2: USA, The Voxel Agents make rad games for mobile platforms. We're a fun bunch who really love what we do.

Post news Report article RSS Feed The mobile market place: how does it look today?

We spend a lot of time being all creative and fuzzy and nice here at The Voxel Agents, but often we need to stand back and have a good hard think about what’s actually happening out there in the mobile games space. To make sure we are all still on top of everything, we recently conducted a survey of the major trends and movements in the mobile market. Here is the summary of our research.

Posted by TheVoxelAgents on Sep 25th, 2011

We spend a lot of time being all creative and fuzzy and nice here at The Voxel Agents, but often we need to stand back and have a good hard think about what’s actually happening out there in the mobile games space.

To make sure we are all still on top of everything, I spent all of last week researching the mobile market space. I forgot everything I knew about iPhone and Android and had a good hard look at the information that is out there. Some of my findings certainly will be old news to you, and some might change what you thought you knew. So, if you’re interested in the business (pronounced “biz-niz”) side of being an indie game developer, check this stuff out:

You may think the iPad is a mobile device, but you’d be wrong.

  • 43% of iPad owners use their iPad more than their desktop computer
  • 28% say it’s their primary computer
  • 34% use it more than their TV
  • 83% use it primarily while at home. Only 11% use it on the go.

Source: Gigaom.com

Developers are flocking back to the iOS platform
According to a blog post by Flurry, in the first quarter of this year, about 65% of new projects were for iOS compared to a respectable 35% targeting Android. However, in the second quarter, iOS accounted for 75% of new projects, leaving just 25% for Android.

It’s worth considering this is based on Flurry’s information alone, so it could equally be taken to mean that Flurry itself is proving to be more popular with iOS developers compared to Android dev’s. This would mean Flurry’s stats in the future are going to have a strong iOS bias.


Even though iOS has more Apps, Android has more free Apps. And that’s not proportionately, that’s in total. The paid model is just not working well on Android.

This same report concludes that sometime this year, the total number of Android Apps will equal the number of iOS Apps (contradicting the story told by Flurry).


iOS has served 15 Billion downloads compared to Androids 4.5 Billion
Given that the iOS App Store has been around for so much longer, this is not a bad showing from Android. However, the vast majority of the iOS downloads occurred in the face of competition from Android. The nail in the coffin: a greater proportion of those iOS downloads were paid.

Those numbers should have six 0's after them too, by the way. Also interesting: the average iOS user has downloaded 75 apps.


Android App installs per day may be reaching parity with iOS installs.
But more of the Android installs are free Apps. Clouding the picture is the fact that Apple has clamped down on “incentivized” installs which has removed a lot of “false” installs.



500,000 Android devices are activated every single day. Which means that in the time it took you to read this post another 30,000 Android users began on their merry way. What’s less clear is how many of these devices really deserve to be considered competitors to iOS devices; presumably a large number of them are low powered devices designed only for basic email / web access and social networks.


Most importantly of all… Android or iOS regardless, it’s a very VERY tough market out there. There’s only so much pie, you see. If we all got an equal slice of that pie, then we’d take home about $8,500 each, which is hardly “quit your day job” money. If you then consider that Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja are both very very fond of pie, then you start to realise that a lot of developers are going hungry (so to speak…).


Thanks for reading this far. Hopefully this is useful information for you. Please let us know your thoughts on the state of the market. Should game developers consider market forces, or should they make games they love and hope that there’s an audience?

Post comment Comments
St0rmified Sep 26 2011, 12:06am says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
eclectocrat Sep 26 2011, 1:04am says:

Good analysis. In response to your last question "Should game developers consider market forces, or should they make games they love and hope that there’s an audience?", that's a false dichotomy. You should do both, replacing hope with research.

+5 votes     reply to comment
TheVoxelAgents Author
TheVoxelAgents Sep 26 2011, 2:45am replied:

That's a brilliant response eclectocrat. Replace hope with research. That really sums it up nicely. As indie developers we should certainly be working on what we love (why else would be indies?) but we should move forward armed with knowledge. I love it.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Desiderium Sep 27 2011, 5:18am replied:

That. And that again. Research and integrate, research and integrate. If you love exploring a subject, research and there WILL be a way to approach ANY subject you like.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Theon Sep 26 2011, 3:50am says:

Now, this is repulsive.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Kamikazi[Uk] Sep 26 2011, 8:45am says:

Mobile market is pretty good at it's current state. It's starting to get flooded with apps though and it's alot harder to get noticed.

For me i have sold 1 big app and got very little sales. Once i released it for free we had 6x the downloads within a day of releasing the app for free. We have now had over 1,100+ downloads in a week and a bit.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Runewake2 Oct 19 2011, 4:39pm says:

Making money has nothing to do with how complex a game is. It is about how popular it becomes. Look at Minecraft and Angry Birds. They are both exceptionally simple and both very successful.

For me, the fun of being Indie has been that you can do anything. You can explore what you want and not worry about the red tape. Indie development is about fun, not money. If you make a game that is fun and people like it you will get money. Not the other way around.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mikah Dec 15 2011, 2:38pm says:

About that last pie chart, here a more recent version that says it all : Blog.flurry.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Sep 25, 2011
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