Making Money With Android


Last month, we asked 28 Android Developers, why it is still a problem to monetize Games for Android in contrast to iOS – one and maybe the most important reason, why many developers choose Apple over Android or turn the back on Google’s mobile operating system.

Now, we’ve analyzed the answers in order to give reasons for the problem of Android Monetization or at least to show you a form of summary of what developers think about this topic. So let’s begin with the question about the reasons why Android games lack monetization compared to iOS:

Most of the developers (50%) think, that iOS users are used to spend more money on apps than Android users, who also have less money in their pockets than Apple users, like 25% of our polled developers say. The question is: Do we have validated data proving that there is a demographic difference between these two userbases? We don’t, but maybe the differing willingness to pay is the result of another fundamental difference between an iPhone and an Android smartphone: the price.  Although there are some expensive high end Android phones like the HTC Velocity 4G  or the Samsung Galaxy Note, Aki Koskinen from Second Lion considers the fact, that “many of the purchased Android devices are actually these 50-200 € low end devices. […] I think these users are just interested on a device with which they can make phone calls and send SMSs.”

However, not only the disposable income or the willingness to pay can be blamed for the difficulty to monetize on Android. Another reason could be the professionalism of iTunes over Google Play‘s lack of overall quality as 25% of the developers conjecture. This is maybe rooted in the linux-based history of Android: the Open Source model of Android and the Wild West Mentality of its fan- and userbase abet amateurishness, piracy and even the app discovery problem, like 21% of the asked developers, mainly indie developers, said.

Will in-app-purchase (freemium) models solve this problem? That was our second question and every second developer said: Partially, because there a few things, everbody has got to consider when talking about “Freemium, the Saviour”: insufficient territorial availability, deficient payment methods, balancing problems, and so on and so forth. Maybe that’s the reason, why only 1 (!) out of 28 developers totally believe in the freemium model, whereas 29% reject in-app-purchases – sometimes in a very vehement way like Saša Meden, who “hate games that give some kind of advantage to people who can pay for something inside that game”.

However, if “Freemium, the Saviour” can’t rescue the Android World – are there any other solutions to this problem? That was our third question and our polled developers cogitated and speculated a lot. Overworking the payment options, improving Google Play and focussing on quality were the most popular answers.

Anyway, there are also some interviewees like Matteo Conti, who said, that Android developers should take a good look in the mirror before blaming someone else for their problems: “It’s very simple. If the game is good, the monetization would reflect its quality. […] The most important thing […]  is to make it very attractive and full of worth playing contents.”

So maybe time is the solution we are looking for. Time can separate the wheat from the chaff, time can override the sales-related differences between Android and iOS and maybe time can also change the mindset of Android privateers and free-riders.

I think, we should all focus on the strengths of Android and leverage the advantages of it. Everybody is talking about the problem of Android Monetization these days, but no one even think about, that the combination of countless qualified developers, a versatile open source system and an enormous worldwide growth can have the power to find ways out of this misery. I believe that this hot cocktail of skills and prospects can change things, can make things better, can make things even better than Apple can! As long as our beloved Android Bot will never be jailed in a gilded cage like his competitor, we all have the power to take control of our destiny.


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