Android vs iOS: A Freemium Game Comparison

On May 26, 2011

Matt Tubergen heads Recharge Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of W3i that invests in the development and marketing/distribution of freemium mobile games.  W3i is a market leader in distributing and monetizing apps with over 500 million apps distributed for W3i clients. Recharge Studios is actively seeking new investment opportunities, if you have a great idea for a game contact us.

Everywhere we go we read about the battle between Android and iOS. It’s simply impossible to get away from the conversation of which platform is better, where’s the money, which monetizes better, what the cost of porting is and even which OS is sexier…  Setting all the noise aside I wanted to do a simple comparison to see what the actual popularity is for freemium on each platform.

In my search I choose to do a simple count of the top grossing free apps. I also segregated the counts out by relative deck placement (i.e. top 10 apps vs. top 200).

iOS has twice the amount of freemium apps in the top 200 grossing yet both have similar ratios in the top 10 grossing. What does this tell me? Freemium opportunities on Android exist, but the market has yet to meet the demand. See below for full details.

Android versus iOS market share for freemium game apps

Android versus iOS market share for freemium game apps

Why go freemium on Android?

Beyond the fact that freemium has exploded on iOS, there are many other reasons to go freemium on Android. The first and foremost reason to move your business model to Android is due to the ramped increase in piracy. I have heard multiple horror stories from AAA premium developers that for every 1 paid install they are seeing 100 pirated installs…. Ouch!

Other reasons for going freemium on Android include cost of user acquisition. Predictable user acquisition and discoverability is far worse in the Androids market comparable to iOS. Going free allows for a greater opportunity to increase distribution without risking cash for means of unknown distribution sources.

Do you have a question about freemium gaming or a topic you’d like us to explore? Let us know in the comments or catch us on twitter @rechargestudios or @w3i.

Freemium Game Blogs are published in partnership with the series on W3i’s corporate blog.