Distimo’s new August survey offers yet another snapshot of just how quickly Google Play is narrowing the gap behind iOS in app revenue generation. Last March, the split between the two platforms was 75% – 25%. By August, that split had tilted to 65% – 35%. This means that Google Play now generates more than half as much revenue as iOS. Of course, it is possible that with the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, Apple may be able to slow down Google Play’s market share gains during the last quarter of 2013. This is going to be one of the most interesting aspects of the iPhone 5c gambit — is the new model going to help Apple at least postpone the day when Google Play becomes the highest grossing app platform?
Distimo shows that in Japan, Google has already become the No.1 app revenue generator. At the Tokyo Game Show this week, the pro-Google atmosphere was palpable as most Japanese mobile game developers highlighted their Android software plans. This matters, because Japan has become the second largest app market in the world, recently growing to three-quarters the size of the American app market.
Tokyo was abuzz this week with speculation about various cross-border deals with Japanese and Western vendors. Both Supercell and Rovio are hiring new people to boost their Tokyo offices as Nordic app vendors prepare to attack the Japanese market more aggressively. There was also a great deal of talk about Japanese companies like GungHo and Gree possibly expanding their U.S. presences as they attempt to tackle the American market more aggressively. Japan’s growing global prominence in the app industry is also boosting Google Play’s standing as many Tokyo developers support the platform strongly.
In Europe, it’s notable that Android app revenue has grown quickly in Germany, which is taking a decidedly more pro-Google track than the iPhone-friendly UK market. European developers still favor iOS, but the fact that Japan and Korea now outweigh the U.S. market globally is starting to have an impact on European app vendors. Many of them are now eyeing Asia as a serious export market — and that means supporting Google Play more robustly.
The next couple of months are going to be a fascinating period. The new wave of ultra-cheap Android models are sweeping Asia and presumably helping Google Play to gain more ground. But it is possible that the iPhone 5c and 5s launches might give Apple’s app revenue growth a notable boost in North America and Europe.