Category Archives: market-insights

Instant Coffee, Noodles & Apps: going back to the bright future for 2017.

IN THINKING about the past year in the mobile advertising industry and its impact on the App Ecosystem, I’m struck by how massively positive the data has proven to be. More especially, since some ‘experts’ have thrown out statements to grab our diminishing attention span such as, “The Death of the Smartphone” and “The Death of Apps“.

Happily for all of us though, App Annie’s recent retrospective report gave some genuine grounding to those of us who believe in a more evolutionary approach – and perhaps, that the App Ecosystem itself has a longer way to go, before it iterates into some kind of ethereal interface we can’t touch or even see.

In fact, the view from the App Economy trenches appears to be the polar opposite of the link-baiting doomsayers and futurists who believe that the “tech” has (somehow independently) overtaken the user on a mass scale. Indeed, App Annie further concludes:

“2017 is set to be another banner year for the app ecosystem. As technology and business models continue to evolve, apps will play an even greater role in transforming, disrupting and creating opportunities for companies and industries both old and new.” This year’s report highlighted the key stats:

  • Worldwide downloads exceeded 90 billion, an increase of more than 13 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play.
  • Publishers were paid over $35 billion in revenue across the iOS App Store and Google Play, with China leading the pack. When we include third-party Android stores and advertising revenue, the 2016 total amount paid to publishers increases to nearly $89 billion.
  • India has surpassed the US as the #1 country by Google Play downloads, indicating that app marketers need to focus increasingly on this and other hyper-growth markets.

Having read the report end-to-end, I tend to conclude that whilst we are living in an Instant World, be it in getting coffee or noodles or more frequently, digital responses – Consumers expect immediacy in everything. Therefore, app-based services that enable such behaviour, will be around for as long as people need their smartphones to engage with them. Which for the year ahead at least, they still seem to require, every minute of every day, in (almost) every country. The proof? “Total time spent in apps worldwide increased by over 150 billion hours’ year over year, reaching nearly 900 billion hours in 2016.”!

So, changing the way people do this, will likely take more time and yes, it won’t be instant. Therefore, App Annie can confidently predict the future for us, in that “the global revenue opportunity for mobile app publishers is forecast to grow to $189 billion by 2020”.

So, anyway, whilst we all begin to play with messenger chat-bots, instant apps and voice-based Artificial Intelligence (AI), let’s also get back to thinking about the bright future for Apps in 2017.

Apps

More time spent on Apps

Minecraft

Massive Multiplayer Mobile Madness? Roger that!

Sometimes, it is nice to pause and reflect on events that you have attended, and perhaps think more deeply about the impact certain innovations (in this case) within the game industry, might be having on us all. Yet, there was none of that in Shanghai, infact reliving the event leaves me with only one mental state; that of being smashed over the head with a virtual sledgehammer, like a scene from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit.’
In all my years of attending conferences, I have rarely seen the kind of consumer fervour witnessed at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC). The facility itself covers some 300,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor exhibition space, which is spread across 17 exhibition halls. It actually took me two hours to walk from one end of the show to the other. But believe me, it’s worth the wander!
ChinaJoy‘ is short-form for the China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference and it showcases online and mobile games, hardware products (related to entertainment) and is effectively ‘split’ between consumers and trade visitors.
Each hall opened up a vast treasure trove of giant gaming brand names and their respective crazy character live shows — that focused the mind on the plain fact that the Chinese game companies have a truly massive scale, the likes of which some Western markets might find it hard to comprehend. The China ‘stands’ themselves which dominated the landscape, arose more like mini villages, but were often (not surprisingly) way bigger than their Western counterparts.
This year, according to Official Data just released, the number of ChinaJoy visitors reached 325,452, which exceeds the levels recorded in 2015 (272,900 attendees) an increase of nearly 20 percent! During the exhibition, game companies aggressively showcased more than 400 game products, in which over 50 games were ‘first release’, and importantly, half of those were VR games. On the biggest day, in terms of consumers, Saturday (30th July) hit an incredible 108,000 visitors including nearly 80,000 members of the general (fee paying) public.
As I walked, somewhat agog, through the packed crowds, hall after hall of entertainment unfolded – many bedecked with TV and movie stars, plus hosts of local celebrities – as well as immense multi-screened theatre stages, along with specially constructed e-sports arenas, all of which wonderfully assaulted the senses. Indeed NikoPartners (a provider of market intelligence covering the games industry in Asia) wryly commented: “Chinese gamer’s are enamored with live game platforms to watch eSports online. Some of the larger platforms took part in ChinaJoy, including Longzhu, Douyu, ACFUN, and Bilibili. There were lines of more than 300 people waiting 2 hours, just for the chance to meet a famous online anchor or commentator. Douyu reported that they had 200,000 visitors to their booth, which had 300 anchors & commentators for consumers to meet in person.”
At one point, the relative tranquility of a Minecraft ‘walk through’ on the Xbox stand that featured pagoda’s, ornate waterways, Chinese decorations and even fluttering butterflies; almost made time stand still. Just as, on the other end of the spectrum, I was left squarely transfixed by the Minecraft zombie troupe that managed to knock-out a juddering dance routine to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Whilst Virtual Reality was everywhere and certainly the main source of excitement for the consumers trying out different hardware, the launch of two mobile games revealed at ChinaJoy also generated some media hype; in particular the Legend of Mir, MMORPG mobile (using the new Unreal Engine 4). Plus Final Fantasy Type-0 which is a MMORPG for mobile devices, and will be released in China first later this year.
It is fair to say, that the Chinese game fan goes ‘all in’ on this one, and the number of character costumes for Cosplay is quite an entertaining sight all by itself. Something wryly noted in this Asiasmack blog when a female Cosplay character turned out to be a convincing male model! At ChinaJoy, ordinary folk can become instant camera magnets for the media (who themselves are there by the thousands each day looking for stories). But no matter, the Cosplayers stride around the auditorium simply pretending to be ‘virtually’ famous.
Attaching your mobile device to a particular VR-worthy headset may well seem overly clunky at this moment in time; but short of installing a massive 360-degree rotating rig in your house, it’s the easiest way for today’s game-playing generation to get thrust into virtual reality, and the appetite was definitely there for all to see in what was, a scorching hot Shanghai.

A booming year, but hey, many more gifts are coming down the Chimney!

The mobile advertising industry continues to evolve at rapid pace — even as we close out 2014; it reflects the relentless pursuit of revenue that publishers and developers need; in order to fire their passion, or sustain their businesses, and ideally both. READ MORE

What the Hack? The rise of fast money for smart code!

I recently had the pleasure of speaking about Minimob to a large crowd of enthusiastic developers, animators and even film producers at the IPCC 2014 (Intellectual Property Creative Contest) event held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – and it got me thinking about prize ‘hacking’ as an emerging force in code creation and IP commercialization. READ MORE

APPquisition: Mixing it up with Minimob at MoMo Singapore

It is fair to say that buzz-words in our business come-and-go, however I do like this one, because it’s something I have co-opted for an upcoming MobileMonday event in Singapore to summarize something really important, namely, the huge shift towards the commercial acquisition of users by App Install advertising. READ MORE

Google Swipes the Headlines in Developer Conference Battle!

For developers, it’s always worth thumbing-through major announcements, trends and more especially, the particular media feedback generated from those big Stateside developer conferences; namely Apple’s WWDC and Google’s IO — which has just been held at the iconic Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco (June 25–26). READ MORE

Mary Meeker ‘takeaways’: One + One = US$40 billion for App developers.

For many people, okay, Senior Executives, attending the two-day ‘Code Conference‘ in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, the big names ( such as Nadella, Brin, and err…Paltrow?) kept appearing on stage, thereby justifying the US$6,500 ‘standard fee’ entry ticket (which was already sold out weeks in advance), but in terms of ‘takeaways’ that they could show to the boss – the most important one was soon freely available to everyone online: Mary Meeker. READ MORE