More than 75 million people registered for the Google Play app market over the last six months, and that’s helping developers make more money than ever on the Android platform.
Google reported its quarterly earnings today. The company’s revenues are up year-over-year, but not as much as analysts were anticipating. Despite that, the company pointed to some strong indicators that suggest its Android digital-content store, the Google Play market, is performing well and helping the developers who are using it to sell their apps and games.
“Google Play continues to be the central hub of our digital-content business,” Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said during a conference call with investors. “We introduced new developer tools for Google Play games including game gifting and iOS multiplayer support. Over 75 million new users have joined Google Play in the last six months. All of this has helped to turn developers around the whole world into full-fledged businesses. In fact, we paid out almost four times as much in 2013 compared to 2012.”
The Google Play store is the app-distribution network that comes with the Android operating system. While it’s best known as the place to get the Facebook app and Google Maps, it also sells third-party media like books, movies, music, and magazines. Despite that wealth of content, games are a big part of Google Play’s business. Mobile games generated $16 billion in revenue in 2013 around the world, and Play was a big part of that.
Industry-intelligence firm App Annie is revealed this week that Google Play is far ahead of iOS in terms of downloads, and it is catching up to iOS in terms of app revenue.
The 300 percent increase in the revenue-sharing paid to developers in 2013 is attributable to a number of factors. First, Android is growing in developing nations, where it works well with carrier billing. This enables people to make in-app purchases without needing to input credit-card information. Developers also had a wider audience to sell to as Android-equipped devices continued to sell well in all territories throughout the year.
“We’re really delighted by the Play business,” said Pichette. “We had a lot of Nexus 4 hardware sales because we were in stock [in the first quarter of 2013, and that helped]. Overall we’re very pleased with all the lines of growth in this space.”
Google chief business officer Nikesh Arora and Pichette avoided speaking about the future of games on Google Play as well as advancements to the storefront itself, but the company just came off of a presentation at the Game Developers Conference in March in San Francisco where it debuted new features to encourage game developer on Android.
“We’ve very excited about our Google Play business going forward,” said Arora.