IndieDev’s in a crowded (mobile) market

My game development experiences started a few years ago, to be honest it started a long long time ago, but my first release was a few years ago. Since then I’ve noticed a few changes in the mobile indie dev market.

This is the first part of a series of posts all looking at the current game dev market. This post starts with some facts and figures to give fellow game devs an idea of what its like out there right now.

Lets starts with the number of downloads, as of last year there was 180 billion downloads from the Apple App Store.

Cumulative number of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store | Source: Statista 2018

There has been a 6% growth in time spent on mobiles apps. The biggest increase was on Shopping and Music, Media and Entertainment apps. Surprisingly, there was a 16% drop in time spent playing games. 

Year-on-year growth in time spent per mobile app category in 2017 | Source: Statista 2018

Despite this drop in ‘time spent’ on games, there is still a lot of money to be made. Fortnite is estimated to be generating $1.8 million per day, with mature games like Candy Crush Saga and Pokemon still bringing in more than $1 million per day.

Top grossing iPhone mobile gaming apps in the United States as of August 2018 | Source: Statista 2018

The main challenge for an indiedev is getting noticed. Between the end of 2017 and the start of 2018 there is an average of 6,000 apps released on Android. That is almost double from 2016 figures.

Average number of new Android app releases per day from 3rd quarter 2016 to 1st quarter 2018 | Source: Statista 2018

This is not great for indie devs making quick disposable games, because you are competing with another 6,000 games also released that day, the majority of which will also be quick disposable games.

Overall, it is predicted that the mobile app market will be worth $188.9 billion by 2020. The challenge is getting your apps out there in a crowded market.

Worldwide mobile app revenues in 2015, 2016 and 2020 | Source: Statista 2018

So what does this mean for an indie dev? Long gone are the days of one-hit wonders like Flappy Birds. In my next post I will explain why this is.

For now, indie dev’s need to find a formula for them that works.

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