There was a day when app developers who chose to work on the Android platform were looked down upon by their more lucrative iOS brethren. Well, those days are drawing to a close. The newest App Annie index of mobile application sales is out, and it's overflowing with interesting data. The takeaway message is that Google Play revenue doubled between the third and fourth quarter of 2012.


This is, in many ways, the same trope we've seen in other metrics in the past. Android is behind iOS in absolute numbers, but the rate of growth is much higher. While Google Play revenue was growing by 100%, Apple's App Store was up only 20%. Sales of apps and games were up in the US, but much of the growth came from Japan and South Korea. In fact, Japan now accounts for slightly more Google Play revenue than the US does (according to App Annie). South Korea is just a little behind America, as well.

Another fascinating trend in the data shows the degree to which games are fueling the revenue increase. American users spent 76% of their dollars on games, in Japan that number is up to 88%, and in South Korea that figure is a whopping 95%. Part of this has to do with non-game apps being free more often, but we can also say that the best way to make money on Google Play is with a game that appeals to Japanese and South Korean users.


When breaking down the top publishers by revenue in Google Play, the domination of Asian developers is obvious. In the chart below, South Korean and Japanese devs are making the most cash. Some of these developers are probably familiar, but being based in Asia means all their games are going to be released in these booming app markets. Gameloft is the only western developer on the list, and that's probably thanks to its high prices and use of in-app purchases.

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Google Play is really starting to take off following the release of devices like the Nexus 7. Whatever Google is doing, it's working. Solid growth in the US and explosive increases in Asian markets could finally ensure that Android users are taken seriously by all developers.

[App Annie]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • PINJ

    Asian Takeova

  • Thomas’

    Imagine this stat if they would allow Chinese users to buy stuff on Google Play.

    • Taiwaner

      Chinese won't buy any apps forever.They have thier own market and it's all free.

    • afsdg

      It wouldnt be much higher. China loves piracy.

      • Thomas’

        So does the USA and Europe, with piracy rates of ~90% on some iOS games even before the Chinese could buy iPhones.

        Also, not allowing to actually buy stuff and then complaining about 100% piracy is somewhat retarded.

      • Thomas’

        Also, if you look closer at what is producing this huge amount of revenue, it looks like asians have less problems with spending alot of money on crappy IAP stuff.

        This purchases are handled server-sided and hence cannot be pirated (not considering the iOS IAP bug).

  • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

    This is for apps only, correct? I'm curious how sales in music, movies, books, and magazines has changed as well.

  • atirage

    I don't think the nexus 7 has anything to do with this. This trend is more likely due to the popularity of Samsung devices in Korea. I see many of them (Koreans) with a Note II here in Philippines...

  • defred34

    Makes me cry seeing the top publishers are all IAP abusers. Shame on em. Draining cash out of the pockets of the normal people.

    • Ittiam

      what is IAP abuse?

      • http://twitter.com/Quietlyawesome Tyler Cooke

        Go checkout a game by GREE and come back. Doubt you'll still be asking that question.

        • Ittiam

          Got it... Soooo stupid of me :-)

  • http://twitter.com/GiuntaRob Roberto Giunta

    If Google would FINALLY bring all those stupid Google Play retail code cards internationally, I'm sure there would be much more money for devs. I saw at least 5 special offers for iTunes cards in the last 3 or 4 months, you can pay with nearly everything on iTunes and what does Google have? Credit cards and a few carrier billings... It's printed code on a card/paper, how hard can that be? -.- Google can be so dumb sometimes.

  • Himmat Singh

    Interesting stat this is. Afaik, a lot of Japanese and Korean games aren't available internationally or in the English language. And they don't have to be, cause the local market is so strong they get their revenue from there itself. The fact that 9/10 top publishers are from the two countries is no coincidence either.

  • didibus

    It would be nice to see equal amount of revenue coming in for all type of apps. I mean, this is great news, but I wouldn't want all devs to start making games and then all the apps become shitty cause it makes no money.

  • GraveUypo

    *analyses data*
    i'm off to make an anime porn game.

  • Matthew Fry

    The American market is kind of stagnant. Maybe because WE HATE IN APP PURCHASES. I've said my piece.

  • mavericksid

    Chinese and Indian's love piracy. If it'd had been otherwise, the numbers would've been greatly different.