Startup life doesn’t leave a lot of time for reflections, you need to keep moving forward at full speed. However, the little time I spent looking back on 2013 yielded some interesting thoughts that I wanted to share with you.
The year when IAP exploded
When we started SOOMLA in the middle of 2012, the In App Purchase model was just starting. Apple announced it earlier and Google just added it. The capability was there, the promise was clear but developers were still hesitating. 2013 Changed all that. If you need to narrow it down to one thing, it will be Candy Crush Saga but that’s not even half the story. Free 2 Play requires leaner and more agile ways of game development, it requires more sophisticated funding models and highly measurable user acquisition channels. Most importantly, it requires conversion optimization tools – the ability to measure, analyze and adapt aspects of the game in real time. In 2012 only a few top publishers had these tools. In 2013 they become available through 3rd parties especially for Tier 2 publishers. In 2014 we will see more tools focused on the mid tail and long tail market.
The year when iPhone started following Android
In many ways, 2013 was the year when Android took over the market. It’s true that more Android devices existed before and the number of app installs also surpassed Apple’s in 2012. However, it wasn’t an apples to apples comparison (couldn’t resist this one). Android is really an aggregation of many providers, some of the devices sold internationally are crappy Android 2.3 phones and App Store revenues were still on Apples side. In 2013 we saw a lot of that changing:
- Android accounted for 81% of shipped devices compared to 13% by Apple
- App installs generated from Android were 75% of the market vs. Apple’s 18%
- Apple is still leading in App Store revenues but Android had better growth rates and the gap is shrinking
- In 2013 Apple released the iPad Mini and iOS 7 – both are following Android devices in form and functionality
SOOMLA Breaks Through with an Open Source Project
For SOOMLA, 2013 was the year where SOOMLA turned from an open source project into a company. The In-App Purchase Store space to which SOOMLA moved first received validation from the industry and has become anecessary building block in mobile games. Our small open source project which had 25 downloads in the first month is now being used by thousands of developers all over the world and more than 10M devices has SOOMLA inside.
In short, 2013 was really great and we are expecting 2014 will be even better.