Free games to lead app downloads

dandroidFree to play games are set to drive app ecosystems, leading the charge of the 160 billion plus consumer apps Juniper Research expects to be downloaded by 2017.

In Juniper Research’s report, Future App Stores: Discovery, Monetisation & Ecosystem Analysis 2013 – 2018, the analyst house found the majority of downloads will be in the games category. 40 percent or more downloads are expected to come from this segment.

We can expect an increase in social network functions in these games – not only in terms of leaderboards but to promote the apps themselves.

But developers are still working out the kinks when it comes to monetisation. There is a downward pressure on pricing which often means paid-for apps need to be enormous hits to get the pay-off from investment. This will, Juniper thinks, lead to more free to play games as it becomes the most popular option at the point of download among consumers.

The app store model itself, according to Juniper, has already cut out network operators from grabbing their share of the profit.

Report author Si├ón Rowlands said that it’s still possible to squeeze cash from customers through carrier billing, which can be popular for customers without a bank account. “However, operators must realise they won’t see as great a revenue share as they did during the pre-app store era,” Rowlands said.

It’s predicted that just five percent of apps will be paid for at the point of download in 2017 – less than 6.1 percent this year.