Study: iPhone is for Games, Android is for Apps
In a twist very dissimilar from the old “PCs are for games, Macs are for art,” adage, a new study has found that Apple’s mobile phone juggernaut, the iPhone, is primarily used for games, where its competition, Android, is primarily used for apps. This is something Apple has not quite experienced before, and still doesn’t experience in the computer market, as Windows is still seen as the primary PC game platform, whereas Macs are still trying to play catch-up, even with the help of services like Steam that have filled the OS X gaming library.
The study, performed by Xyologic, found that out of the top 25 app publishers for iOS, all but one does not make games, whereas out of the top 25 publishers on Android, only about half make games. The one bastion of non-gaming out of those top 25 publishers on iOS? Burbn, the makers of the set-it-and-forget-it picture-taking social network Instagram. So, even then, the top 25 publishers on iOS are about entertainment and fun, rather than utility. Interestingly, out of the top 10 downloaded apps from the iOS App Store last month, only two weren’t games, one of which being Instagram, the other being another picture-focused social network, Pinterest.
Throughout the course of 2011, out of the top 150 downloads from the iOS App Store, 100 were games, and only 50 weren’t, and games were downloaded 71.57 million times, as opposed to the 25.64 million downloads for non-games. For the top 150 apps throughout 2011 in the Android Market, 85 weren’t games and 65 were, with the non-games getting downloaded 91.5 million times, as opposed to the games being downloaded 33.42 million times.
Interestingly, some of the top publishers in 2011 in the Android Market — Google and Facebook, two household names — didn’t even make the to publisher list in 2011 for iOS.
It makes a bit of sense that iOS would be dominated by games publishers, even though its big brother computer counterpart has never been known as a gaming platform. The bulk of game developers always tend to go where the largest market is, which is one of the main reasons why the first video game console to release in a new generational wave of consoles tends to hold the market lead for a long time, because consumers jump on the new generation bandwagon. This is also the reason why OS X isn’t the best place for games — as popular as Apple has become, Windows still dominates the computer market, so if a game developer has to save time and resources and only pick one operating system on which to make a game, the smart move is to pick the platform with a larger consumer base. However, due to the openness of Android, iOS doesn’t exactly dominate the market anymore, but what it does have — more brand recognition and a seemingly more dedicated install base — makes a great atmosphere for reaching a larger potential audience.
Now, if only iOS developers can figure out how to make in-depth games work well with the iPhone’s lack of tangible buttons.