In short: Android game developers and gaming studios in general aren't as reliant on "whales" — a small fraction of their user base spending disproportionately large sums of money on their products — as much as they used to be, a new study from insight platform DeltaDNA suggests. While the game industry is now moving to a more balanced business model for free-to-play experiences, the percentage of players spending any money in freemium titles is still minuscule. That demographic accounts for 4.02-percent of players in North America and 2.43-percent of gamers in Europe, an increase of about 30- and 20-percent over the last three years, respectively, as per the same report.
Background: The newly unveiled study was based on some 2,500 games spanning various platforms and data from approximately 800 million players, with strategies being highlighted as one of the fastest-growing game genres in the world. Over the last three years, F2P strategy games doubled their average revenue per daily active user which now amounts to $0.21. Casino games recorded a 41.66-percent growth in the same area and were followed by puzzle games and their 25-percent performance increase. Action titles are one of the rare few game categories that are now in decline, with their ARPDAU more than halving over the observed period as it now amounts to some $0.10, meaning the action and strategy genres effectively switched places in the last 36 months as far as commercial performance is concerned.
The impact: An increase in the number of casual paying players of F2P titles also means the average lifetime value of an individual player is now on a decline, especially in the mobile segment. The average Android player is now spending $24.37 on interactive mobile experiences, down 17.69-percent compared to 2015. On iOS, that figure sits at $29.07, a 6.58-percent drop over the same period. DeltaDNA's data still suggests that the mobile game industry is on track to not only become more profitable but also more balanced, with iOS players now not being ahead of their Android peers in terms of spending by much.