Explosive app revenue growth is taking place in Japan, thanks mostly to revenue generated from freemium games.
At the end of October, Japan’s smartphone users had spent almost 2.5 times the amount of money on apps that smartphone users in the U.S. had spent during the month, according to App Annie. As recently as October of last year, U.S. app users were still spending nearly a third more on apps than users in Japan.
Japan’s app revenue growth also may not be close to its ceiling. Next year, 60% of Japan’s mobile population will be using smartphones, according to eMarketer, compared to only 40% this year.
Looking at the top-grossing apps charts on App Annie for both the Apple App Store and Google Play in Japan, it’s easy to see that the list of top 40 highest-grossing apps is dominated by free apps.
Games are the biggest catalyst for this growth. Japan’s smartphone users spent 400% more on games in the past year, according to Quartz.
It seems mobile games have become the ultimate measure of the revenue potential behind the “freemium” app monetization strategy. Tero Kuittinen at Forbes claims freemium games are more sophisticated than ever in 2013 and that games that convince users to pay for more time, like Candy Crush Saga, are proving to be the most lucrative. (Quartz)
In other news…
The second-screen is becoming an important battleground for social networks while mobile users are watching TV. Twitter is adding a See It button, which takes users to a menu where they can watch the tweeted-about program on their device or record it on their DVR. (The Verge)
YouTube is massive, and it is only going to get bigger. eMarketer thinks YouTube’s total ad revenue will jump 51% for the year and will reach almost $US5.6 billion. (The Guardian)
Investment firm Andreesen Horowitz has made its best move toward legitmising Bitcoin as a digital currency. The firm leads a $US25 million investment in Coinbase, a digital Bitcoin wallet. (All Things Digital)
The massive growth of web video, both online and on mobile, has made the analytics behind video viewership more crucial. Ooyala, a web video analytics company, has just raised $US43 million in funding. (All Things Digital)
Square has acquired Evenly, a peer-to-peer digital payments platform, which may be used in enhancing Square Cash, the company’s e-mail payments system. (The Next Web)
Reports are surfacing that, in an effort to compete with Android, Microsoft may make its Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT platforms free. The idea behind this strategy would be to get device manufacturers more interested in using the software. (GigaOm)
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