New Report Shows The Growth of Google Play

For those of you wondering how the Android platform has grown so significantly over the past few years, there’s a key factor to consider — Google Play.

The store has provided a number of apps and games for Android users to download with ease, and, according to a new report from App Annie, its worldwide growth is bigger than anyone could’ve expected. The mobile-measuring company released its latest stats through various Intelligence researches, coming up with some strong results.

According to the report, quarterly app downloads on Google Play have grown about 30 percent from the first quarter of last year, mainly due to emerging markets such as Brazil and India seeing bigger exposure. These numbers are likely to continue growing into next year.

In addition, revenue has grown faster than ever with downloads at 40 percent, mainly due to growth in various markets that have already been established. These include the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Emerging markets overall showed major growth for the start of this year, with the five largest countries experiencing increases all around, with Brazil showing the most at 1.9 times the previous year. With continued economic growth, investment in telecom infrastructure and falling device prices contributing, this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The top five countries by revenue show increases across the board as well, with Japan showing a 1.4 times growth overall, and United States with 1.5 times last year’s numbers. Germany and United Kingdom are on the lower ends, but still showed boosts from last year’s numbers.

As far as overall ranking, here’s the standings in terms of overall App Downloads and App Revenue:

App Downloads: The United States has a firm lead in first place, followed by Brazil in second and India in third, moving up two spots from last year. Russia dropped to fourth place but still shows substantial growth, while Mexico rounds out the top five.

App Revenue: Japan leads the charge at number one, which is no surprise given the popularity of apps like Puzzle & Dragons. The United States is close behind in second place, while South Korea, Germany and Taiwan round out the top five.

Other little facts have been reported as well, including the following:

  • Games revenue soared, increasing roughly 50 percent year-over-year
  • The proportion of total time spent in games is vastly higher for Japan and South Korea than the US, Germany and the UK
  • In all countries, however, most time is spent outside of games. Especially in Western countries, Social and Communication apps account for a large portion of user’s time
  • Eight or more of the top 10 most-used apps in the UK, Germany and India are also published by either Google or Facebook
  • Both Candy Crush and Clash of Clans appear in the top 10 of all 6 countries (US, UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea and India)
  • Quarterly app downloads on Google Play grew about 30 percent from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015 largely due to growth in emerging markets such as Brazil and India
  • Revenue grew even faster than downloads at 40 percent, largely due to growth in established markets (especially the US, South Korea and Japan)
  • Brazil is the fastest growing country in app downloads

By revenue, the top five countries in order are: Japan, United States, South Korea, Germany and the UK

And with Google’s I/O event taking place today, we’re likely to see more Google Play news pop up as well. It’s a good time to be an Android-based gamer.

E3 2015 To Explode With Gaming Greatness

We’re just weeks away from the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which is considered by many to be one of the biggest gaming events in the world. It’s certainly gotten a lot of attention over the past few years, and, judging by what companies will be bringing to the show, this year will be no exception.

But exactly how will E3 be shaking up the landscape this year We looked at some of the key companies in the analysis below:

Oculus Rift: Considering that the device is finally confirmed for an early 2016 launch, the Oculus Rift should have a major presence at this year’s event, with a number of games being prepared and the possibility of a price point being revealed. CEO Brendan Iribe has also teased even more details about the device, according to a story from Re/Code, indicating that information about the controllers and other tech would be revealed. “Long term, there’s not going to be a single input device,” Iribe explained. “In VR, it’s going to be several different devices.” It’ll need to bring everything it’s got, because Sony is likely to have Project Morpheus on hand. Speaking of which…

Sony: Sony has a lot to prove with this E3, as its 2015 line-up, at this point in time, is pretty barren, especially with the delay of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End into early 2016. Fortunately, it’s got a few surprises in store, including a possible release date and price for its Project Morpheus virtual headset, which is likely to be a major competitor to Oculus’ headset. The focus, however, will remain on games – and possibly even a price drop for the PS4, although that hasn’t confirmed yet. One thing’s for sure – Sony will bring its A-game to the show. And for those that aren’t attending, there are tickets available for the PlayStation E3 Experience, with more details here.

Microsoft: Microsoft won’t slow down its momentum with the Xbox One at E3, as it has a number of reveals set to go at its press conference. We’re likely to see the first gameplay footage for Halo 5: Guardians, which will be a big-seller this fall; Gears of War Remastered should finally get a public unveiling; and other third party titles will take focus, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, among other games. It should have a great showcase, and may also show off a new controller design, something that more “hardcore” fans of the system will fully appreciate.

Nintendo: Although the company won’t have an official press conference at the event (it’s since taken a shift to Digital Events shown online), Nintendo should have an impressive booth on the show floor this year, between games like StarFox, Mario Maker (which will also make an appearance at Best Buy retail stores that week) and others. Expect plenty of surprise reveals from the company, as well as a new trailer for its forthcoming Legend of Zelda sequel. However, don’t expect any information on the company’s new NX console – that isn’t likely coming until at least next year.

Other companies: A variety of other publishers will bring their “big guns” to the show next month. Electronic Arts should get some attention with Star Wars: Battlefront, as well as its sports properties; Activision will have plenty to show between Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Guitar Hero Live, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and a new Skylanders game; Ubisoft will have sequels aplenty with Rainbow Six: Siege, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and Just Dance 2015; and other games, like Rock Band 4, a remake of the classic Doom and the debuting cyberpunk role-playing game Technomancer should get some attention as well.

There’s no question that E3 2015 could be one of the biggest to date in the history of the event. It takes place June 16-18 in Los Angeles, California.

Finding And Engaging Your Brand’s Soulmates

Today ION held their first of three exclusive webinars geared toward brand marketers who work with influencers. The topic focused on discovering, connecting and activating influencers in the most effective way.

“The Internet has been giving power to these niche audiences,” said ION Talent Director Steven Lai. It is because of this transference of power that brands have been increasingly invested in forming relationships with those creators who command influence on different scales to collaborate.

Influencer StatsIt may surprise you that food is the hottest topic for influencers, followed by lifestyle.

“Conversations are happening every day around your brand,” Lai went on to say. “It’s not happening on your brand’s channels. It’s happening on these creator’s channels.”

In fact 90 percent of content mentioning brands comes from non-brand-owned channels. But it isn’t as easy as seeking out any and all of these conversations to leverage. There is an in-depth process ION goes through to ensure that marketers are finding what is essentially their brand’s “soulmate.”

And like all well-forged relationships, of principal importance to Lai is that both the brand and the influencer have the same outlook on values. This isn’t something easily mined through data and stats or even through current methods for finding and connecting influencers, but it’s something ION has spent a considerable amount of effort and 25 years of brand management experience in order to create an optimized matching platform.

Adult Swim Enters VR Game With ‘Virtual Brainload’ App

by Sahil Patel

Adult Swim has launched Virtual Brainload, a new virtual-reality app developed in partnership with VR company WEVR.

In typical Adult Swim fashion, the description for the app makes it seem very odd: “The Virtual Brainload meets fans where they are with a dazzling animated presentation that gives a special glimpse of the backside of reality.” (In other words: expect some weird stuff, otherwise it wouldn’t be a VR experience from Adult Swim.)

Available for free via Google Play, the app is compatible with the Google Cardboard headset, which is sold separately.

Keep reading…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Scopely CEO: Mobile Is Going ‘Fewer, Bigger, Better’

The relentless growth of the mobile game industry has resulted in the rise of a new breed of publishers who seek out exceptional mobile developers and help bring their products to market. One of the mobile publishing success stories is Scopely, which was formed in 2011. Scopely has revealed a strategic partnership with Digit Game Studios, making a multi-million dollar investment in Ireland’s largest games developer as part of the multi-game publishing deal.

“Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading free to play game developers,” said Tim O’Brien, Chief Revenue Officer, Scopely. “We are looking to partner with the world’s leading mobile game developers of specific genres, and see Digit as an emerging market leader in strategy games.” Based in Dublin, Digit Game Studios is Ireland’s largest game developer, with an international team with collective experience working on successful browser, console, MMO, mobile and social games. Digit’s first title, the fantasy strategy MMO Kings of the Realm, launched in Septemeber 2014

“We’ve gotten to know many well-known publishers and chose to work with Scopely because we believe they give us the best chance to build the games we aspire to make and turn them into huge commercial successes,” said Richard Barnwell, founder and CEO, Digit Game Studios. “Partnering with Scopely enables us to quickly grow our team and focus on building incredible strategy games with the confidence that Scopely can bring them to a large audience. Currently, we’re adding new features to Kings of the Realm and scaling up our studio to launch an all-new title together, with iconic, world-leading AAA IP, that we feel has a chance to be huge.”

Walter Driver

Walter Driver, Scopely CEO, spoke with [a]listdaily about the deal and its implications for Scopely, and what he sees for the mobile gaming industry ahead.

Has Scopely made such a large investment before in a developer?

Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading game developers. We craft each partnership based on what makes the most sense in that context and increasingly we are seeing situations where developers are looking for both investment and publishing — so we will be active investors where it makes sense for both parties.

This large investment is being used to develop a title based on a major IP. What are the advantages of licensing in today’s game market, and will we be seeing more of this?

Major IP can assure your product will have an audience in a more mature market where there are well over two million games for consumers to choose from. Scopely’s deep connections in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles provide unique access to major brands and opportunities to create compelling touchscreen experiences with beloved IP.

Digit has built a game that’s cross-platform between mobile OSes and the desktop. Is this something you feel is important for future titles, and does this mean Scopely will now be publishing on the desktop as well as on mobile?

Digit has developed excellent cross platform technology, though the primary focus of the partnership will be on touchscreen devices (mobile and tablet).

How will you market this new title from Digit, and will there be any differences in marketing strategy from other Scopely titles since it’s based on a major IP?

Scopely has now launched five consecutive #1 games on either iOS or Android, and we are going to leverage the marketing technology and infrastructure we have built to develop custom strategies for this specific IP, which will be a very fun game to market.

How does Scopely see the mobile market changing over the next year, and how will this affect Scopely’s publishing strategy Will we see more title or fewer, different genres of games, or a focus on different platforms?

Scopely is focused on working with leading developers in specific genres and developing deep long term relationships with those developers. We will see the largest publishers focusing on fewer, bigger, better releases with significantly larger development and marketing budgets. We will continue to see a huge number of releases in the market as a whole but will see the Top 50 Grossing increasingly controlled by incumbents with the necessary resources, infrastructure and expertise to scale games to significant revenues.

Tech Reigns In BrandZ’s Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands List

BrandZ has once again released their yearly study of the Top 100 Most Valuable Brands, showing exactly how much can happen within just a year. The trend continues from last year of tech brands getting increasingly high rankings on the list. Of note, the 4 most valuable brands are all tech, with Apple reclaiming it’s #1 spot.

Tencent, who in the past year has been investing heavily in the mobile games business, has moved from #14 in 2014 to #11 this year, getting dangerously close to cracking the top 10.

Both CocaCola and McDonald’s have remained in the top 10 but have fallen a few steps in favor of telecom companies AT&T and Verizon. Rounding out the top 10 is mainstay Marlboro, whose brand value has jumped 19 percent in the past year alone. Alibaba Group is a new entry to the list and already at the #13 spot, as they recently claimed the title of being the largest global IPO ever.

See the full list of this year’s most valuable brands below.

LoopMe Predicts $500 Million Mobile Ad Budgets

This year’s Super Bowl ads indicated that we’re seeing a shift in advertising, especially for mobile games, as companies like SuperCell and uCool spent millions of dollars to spread the word about their games. And, according to LoopMe’s Stephen Upstone, this spending could become the norm very soon.

Upstone, the founder of the company, spoke at the Casual Connect Asia event this month, explaining that the mobile industry’s biggest game companies will soon increase their budgets with advertising, going as high as $500 million for the year, according to GamesIndustry International.

“We think this is going to start changing rapidly,” said Upstone about the increase in budgets. “We think there will be some very big clients on both the brand side and the gaming side who will be spending alone in one year $500 million – even up to $1 billion – just on mobile video ads.

“The other ad formats just won’t build brand in the same way, they won’t convert in the same way, and that won’t follow through to lifetime value,” he continued.

Upstone used the word “static” quite often when it came to discussing the way certain ads fail to convey information, and said that good advertising is supposed to accomplish more. “They’re instantly forgettable,” said Upstone about the ads. “They’re just a way of accessing the content.”

Upstone used the uCool and Liam Neeson (Supercell) ads as examples, as well as a recent commercial for King’s Candy Crush Saga, which has been quite successful. He explained that this is an effective tool for mobile gaming, just as it has been for other advertising firms over the previous years.

“When you look at the games industry, you have a few big companies who have driven most of the spend over the last few years,” explained Upstone. “MoPub had 80 percent of its revenue at the time of the purchase just coming from King. And with Supercell, a lot of that comes from just one big hit game, or a very large cheque from a venture capitalist – Softbank, in that case.

“In the future, there will be even bigger hits that will drive a lot of that, and it will drive much, much more towards TV and brand advertising,” he continued.

Mobile will be a dominant platform in this field, according to Upstone, providing a huge opportunity for the industry in general. “This has got a long, long way to go,” he said. “Mobile is now disrupting brand television advertising, and brand television advertising is a $200 billion marketplace. Companies like Unliever and Proctor & Gamble are spending more than $5 billion a year just on TV ads.”

Mobile will also become the home for online advertising very soon, Upstone believes, and that a good amount of money will be diverted towards mobile advertising – and not too far off at that. “That’s today,” he said. “It’s only going to get bigger. Many consumers, specifically millennials, don’t even watch television any more.”

Mary Meeker On The Biggest Trends In Tech And Advertising

Facebook and Twitter continue to roll in a good amount of money from its users, but there is some concern when it comes to the overall growth of their audience.

Mary Meeker, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, confirmed these concerns during her revealing of her annual State of the Internet report Wednesday at the Code Conference in California. With the findings, she found notable trends with social networks, particularly in the “average revenue per user” category, according to Re/Code.

As you can see from the chart, growth continues to be strong for both Facebook and Twitter, but is going at a much slower rate based on previous numbers from years prior. Facebook in particular only shows a 13 percent year-over-year growth, compared to 23 percent just from two years prior. Twitter has an even bigger drop, by nearly 30 percent.

Other data is broken down into a number of slides, which can be found below:

Global penetration for the Internet has reached an all-time high, especially compared to 1996’s meager numbers. Asia is showing the largest growth with a 28 percent share, with China closely behind at 23 percent. Taking up fifth place is the USA with 10 percent.

The second chart breaks down the significant growth of mobile users, which has gone from 80 million in 1995 all the way to 5.2 billion for 2014, with 60 percent preferring smartphones to 40 percent wanting feature-based phones.

This chart breaks down public Internet company market capitalizations over the last 20 years, with Netscape being the largest company back in 1995. These days, though, it’s all about Apple, dominating with a huge market capital, followed by Google and Alibaba. Meeker was quick to note that while the numbers do look large, there’s concern with year-to-year growth rates, as they have dwindled a little bit as well.

Finally, this chart looks at view-time on multi-platforms by orientation, compared to a few years ago. As you can see, there’s a significant increase in mobile (nearly seven times over five years) while the other categories seem to be staying put.

More details on the report can be found here.

Instagram Users Active On Other Networks

While there is no doubt loyalty with certain networks — such as people who use Facebook but won’t even budge when it comes to other channels — there are many consumers out there that like to multi-network across various channels. And it appears that this is very true for Instagram users.

Adweek has reported that, according to a study from GlobalWebIndex, users of the popular photo and video site are also active on an average of nearly five of the top ten social networks, with 97 percent of them partaking on Facebook.

The other networks that Instagram users frequently visit include Twitter, YouTube, Google +, Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr, MySpace, Reddit and Bodoo. Many also user two social apps that are under the Facebook umbrella — WhatsApp and Messenger.

Speaking with SocialTimes, GWI stated, “Overall, Instagrammers are in fact active on almost five of the top ten social networks globally. That’s very much in line with the move toward more diverse and specialized forms of networking — where people turn to different platforms for different activities — but it does underline one of the reasons why Instagram may be keep to engage (or re-engage) its users through a daily mailshot. Quite simply, cutting through the noise being made inside the social space is becoming more and more of a challenge.”

GWI broke down the numbers even further in the infographic below, including multi-networking behaviors amongst Instagram’s most active users (with Facebook leading the pack) and percentage of users who used the apps over the previous month (with Facebook Messenger leading at 47 percent, followed by WhatsApp, Skype and Viber).


Mobile Game Highlights: ‘Simple Machines’, ‘Til Morning’s Light’

Welcome back to another week of Mobile Game Highlights! There are plenty of great puzzle and action games to choose from this week, so let’s get started!

Simple Machines by Tinybop (Tinybop, $2.99, available for iOS)

Parents looking for a fun, educative game experience for their kids this summer would be wise to rely on these Simple Machines. This entertaining app offers six different machines to play with, each with their own levers, pulleys and other parts to play around with. The game utilizes a number of real world physics through various activities, ranging from making music on a pinball playfield to moving sloshing fish tanks around with screws. Tinybop’s app delivers plenty of fun — and for a reasonable price.

Til Morning’s Light (Amazon Game Studios, $6.99, available for iOS and Android)

The latest from Amazon Game Studios and the developer at WayForward (DuckTales: Remastered) offers plenty of scares for players of all ages. In the game, you portray Erica Page, a young girl trapped in a mansion that’s being haunted by a curse. It’s up to you to help her solve puzzles, confront bosses and eventually make your way out of it in one piece. With plenty of quirky characters and surprises around every corner, Til Morning’s Light is definitely a fun game for fans that liked to be spooked.

Brickies (Noodlecake Studios, free-to-play, available for iOS)

Remember the arcade classic Breakout, with a paddle trying to keep a ball in play as it broke apart bricks on a playfield Noodlecake Studios has brought that formula back for Brickies, a more personable take on the arcade classic. The gameplay remains the same, but there are a variety of stages to take on, as well a variety of power-ups that will help destroy a lot of the bricks. It’s set up as free-to-play, so it won’t put dent away on players’ wallets.

Crazy Kings (Wooga Gmbh, free-to-play, available for iOS)

Fans of tower defense games would be smart to check out Crazy Kings, a game that provides a unique take on the genre. In it, you’ll battle as a lunatic king that fights his way through hundreds of levels, using a personalized army to do his dirty work. With a number of ways to level up characters, a variety of loot and tools to pick up, and many prizes that are offered through weekly and daily tournaments, folks would be Crazy to turn away from this action.

Capitals — Free Word Battle (NimbleBit, free-to-play, available for iOS)

In this fun offering from NimbleBit, players attack and defend each other on a playfield using spelled out words on tiles. Featuring a number of online play options (including Auto Match) and the ability to personalize Capital design, this game has plenty to offer. Plus, it’s free-to-play, so it doesn’t cost anything to try — and purchases are completely optional. That spells out “winner” for mobile players.

See you next time on Mobile Game Highlights!