Feeds

Virtual products rake in more cash than ads

In-app gear now worth more than advertising for social media

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Social gaming and networking applications are now making more money selling virtual merchandise than displaying adverts, which is good news for closed shops that make such things simple.

This may also have implications for developers, who may find themselves following the breadcrumbs to iOS platforms.

The figures come from Flurry, and are gathered from more than 2.2 million active users. The numbers show that in January this year the amount of revenue generated from installed applications tipped over from advertising to in-game purchasing, with virtual goods now generating around 85 per cent of the almost $20m the sampled users generate every month.

Graph showing revenue sources

Blue is advertising; red shows people buying virtual stuff.

Flurry gathers its figures from code embedded in mobile applications. In this way, developers who embed the code get insight into application use, while Flurry gets to gather valuable demographic data like this. However, it's worth noting that this study is limited to "social networking and social gaming" applications - which obviously present greater opportunity for in-game acquisitions. Despite that, the data demonstrates the importance of in-application transactions, and bodes badly for fragmented platforms which have more difficulty supporting them.

In fact, the figures all come from iOS devices, as Apple's iTunes store supports such transactions pretty seamlessly. Nokia's Ovi also enables in-app buying, as demonstrated by the Symbian version of Angry Birds, which enables the player to call in an air strike for a reasonable fee.

But the Android Marketplace has no such mechanism, and Google's devotion to supporting multiple marketplaces makes it difficult to add one. Users are already confused by the various places from which one can buy Android applications; one can only imagine the additional complexity of having to tell each application where in-game transactions should be routed. Android might be open, but with that openness comes complexity.

The solution would seem to be to declare openness, then make oneself the default source of applications and services. That's what Nokia is trying to do with Symbian, and might work for Google too, but if developers see that iOS apps have a revenue stream that's denied them on other platforms, then they'll obviously follow the money and supply users will all the virtual tat they want to buy. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.