App analytics firm Distimo said the recent expansion of genres within Google Play’s games category gives app developers a chance to rise up the rankings and increase revenues – but only if they choose their sub-category carefully.
To illustrate the point, and using data compiled from April 2014 (the first full month after Google Play re-jigged its games sub-categories on 18 March), Distimo found that Shadow Fights 2 by Nekki generated more than 70 times more device installs after switching from ‘arcade & action’ to ‘role-playing’.
Making the right choice looks more difficult, however, as Google Play now has 18 game genres – three times as many as before – to cover a broader variety of different types of games. (The number of categories goes up to 20 if live wallpapers and widgets are included).
The upside is that more sharply-defined categories can give greater visibility to apps. It helps explain, argues Distimo, why Google Play game revenue increased 15 per cent between February and April.
The new Google Play games set-up saw the retirement of the arcade & action genre (which is ‘updated’ to arcade). Brain & puzzle was also discontinued (updated to puzzle), while cards & casino becomes cards.
New sub-categories are action, adventure, board, casino, educational, family, music, puzzle, role-playing, simulation, strategy, trivia and word.
Three genres, aside from live wallpapers and widgets, survived the upheaval – casual, racing and sports.
And aside from Shadow Flights 2, Distimo found other apps marched up the global rankings, within their category, following a switch.
Throne Rush, published by Nexters, languished at 124th in the arcade & action global ranking for free apps during March. The following month, in the strategy genre, it zoomed up to number five.
Over the same period, Monster Warlord by Gamevil went from 302nd in arcade & action to number 8 in the adventure category.
As higher rank increases visibility, Distimo said device installs and revenue volume can also increase from switching category.
However, the analyst firm warned that while this effect was visible for some apps in April, it was not the case for all. A clearer conclusion on the impact on organic installs, said Distimo, should emerge in the coming months.
Before the change in categories, Distimo reported that arcade & action was leading in February 2014 – in terms of device installs – with a 30 per cent market share.
After the update, however, games listed in this category moved to different labels. This allowed the causal genre to move from second spot in February (28 per cent) to first position in April with an 18 per cent share. Arcade (14 per cent) and puzzle (12 per cent) were in second and third place respectively in the device install market measured in April.
The April results, after the update, show install volume is much more spread out across new genres. Half of the 18 game genres have a device install share of less than 4 per cent.
The update also brought a new category to the top in terms of revenue share. In April 2014, the most revenue was generated from the role-playing genre, a category that did not exist before the update.
Top games in role-playing showed a high volume of Korean Kakao-based games, as well as Japanese RPG games.
The casual game genre, which had the highest share in terms of device installs, showed the second-highest revenue share with more than 13 per cent.
Similar to device installs, the revenue shares were also more spread across the new genres. Ten out of the 18 genres showed a share of less than 5 per cent.