I used to live on this, now I am back to freelancer and this is why…
Mobile apps market is extremely over-saturated
Since the over-saturation getting non-paid downloads or exposition is next to impossible
The hype of apps has decreased a lot, people aren’t download lot of random apps as before
The ads networks CTR only decreases and decreases over the time
Google gets more and more a pain in the ass every day, banning apps and even entire accounts based only on an automated algorithm
So this is why I’m out:
Being a pro dev who makes around 60USD the hour it takes me like 100 hours to develop a well-made original app, that is a 6k investment right away
I hate all the GUI, app graphics and google play screenshots/icons part, I don’t know how to design, so that leads me to hire a designer to make my app look great and that becomes in at least 1k to 2k investment
Since the overcrowding of apps the only way to get downloads and traffic is to invest in ads and marketing, that’s another 3 to 4k
TOTAL = I spend ~10k for a good, original, well-made complex app
With admob revenue decreasing everyday I feel lucky if I can recover my investment over 6 months and then extremely lucky if I see some actual earnings.
Conclusion, I don’t see a future for free apps development, maybe in-app or paid apps has still some road to go but i don’t think is too much either. How about you guys…
For me it looks like I am better off doing nothing than wasting money on developing new games since only the old ones are popular and earn money. Even though my newest games are much better, they never pay for themselves.
But I think it’s a very short sighted view since the old apps might stop earning one day - one of my paid apps already did, quite abruptly - and one of the new ones might become a hit despite the oversaturation. And I kinda like developing games contrary to you. Marketing I just hate though, as most people I think. In your case moving to programming-only might be a better solution, especially if your earnings have dropped significantly and you live in rich country (I live in a country where $60 per DAY is a lot of money).
Honestly I feel that if you can earn 60$/hour being haired as a pro dev, you should do that.
I feel being a Indie developer is more suited to people who can’t earn such amounts with a normal job (due to limited expertise/knowledge or to the country they live in). Of course this may not be true if you manage to make a very special App (idea, concept, design, etc)
I agree that the market is over saturated, but not now, two years ago it was already over saturated… indie companies will disappear so big companies will take the whole market, the only ones how can afford high paid marketing campaign and get some exposure… market will continue over saturated of shitty apps more and more but that’s normal with the current model… who will dedicate 9 month in a project that will end up in 1/2 downloads per day? Clearly Google should take some actions or mobile market will be the jungle (even more than now)
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google should separate the play store for games and play store for other apps , it will be a different platform all together . It is true that games and other apps are shown separately still a different play store all together will make life some what easy for developers
Moreover the recent developments in google now which packages a lot of features which developers were working on in their apps is a worrying trend similar to the approach google has adopted for showing data from wikipedia and other sites on its own site like Lyrics sites have seen a drop in traffic since google started showing lyrics in its search results
apple is not doing any favor to developers either ban on Incentivized Ads and recent decision to allow users to ban ads is totally against developers.
There are very few users willing to pay for an app making it really important for developers to have a reliable ad network
These big companies should not forget that developers have made these platforms big and should consider helping developers stay alive. Its not because people are low on talent or ideas that they do not take up app development there is significant risk in monetary terms which prevents them from taking up such a business. The time, money,effort,skill involved are huge and faliure can be disruptive.
Can’t agree more. In particular Google Play has died over the last year. And the more apps I release on there, the less I seem to make. It’s weird but its as if I have a virtual ‘cap’ on what GP will allow me to earn. If a month starts off strong and Im projected to make more than the previous month, revenue suddenly drops by 50% and I end a few dollars behind what I earned last month.
Then there are all the hoops GP makes you jump through. Pushing us to go back and update policy, UI and ads years after we released an app. And when we do, hitting us with some vague violation.
I’m slowly switching to iOS, GP is dying and in 5 yrs it will resemble those strip malls where only the big boy stores survive (Starbucks, Real Estate, 24 Hr Fitness) and the app store will be a world of blandness.
The GP store is unlikely to die. Contrary - it should get better over time. Apps are simply becoming like the web. When the web started booming, websites popped up all over the place with similar content and now we have > 1 billion registered websites (of which 180 million were active as of Jan 2014). The majority do not make much money, but the ones that do tend to perform extremely well. When the market is saturated, marketing and innovation set apart success and failure. Given the growth in mobile app usage, smartphone growth, and download growth, there will be more revenue available for the taking with every passing year.
I think what might be interesting is to see if mobile web usage makes a resurgence now that the mobile web experience has significantly improved even over the last 12 months. That might affect apps. For example, there is now a desktop web app for most software (minus highly specialized ones obviously) so I prefer to simply use a desktop web app rather than install software on my computer. The phone obviously functions pretty differently but I personally prefer to browse on mobile web when I’m reading vs. a Yahoo reading app or similar. So, some of the use cases might end up mobile web, while categories like gaming to flourish and grow over time. There is a limit to how many apps users will tolerate.
Yes, the big billion dollar players will make a lot of money, but there is plenty of room for new companies to come in and make noise. There always is - and thats the beauty of entrepreneurship!
My personal opinion on this matter is of course mobile web usage has increased but mobile web discovery is even worse than regular web discovery. I would say CNN.com, TMZ.com and other big players are dominating the mobile traffic and this is the result of them already being major players on the web. No app developer would dare get into the mobile web arena, it would be career suicide.
To everyone’s point, it is interesting that the only one with anything positive to say are the ad companies and I get it, that’s your job is to motivate us to help us to make more money so you can make more money. But as a developer, the market is ****ed, you need (more than ever) a real strategy to make your app successful and this involves a lot of money to market that app. There will always be devs trying to make money off this and what will be a completely over saturated future market but these devs will be from poorer countries.
Could agree any more with everything written above. Since January things went down a lot.
I also have the feeling that there exist some “virtual cap”. I have made a lot this year, new games (much better then my previous ones), republish and improved older ones and my revenue drop to 35% of what I had in December with a lot less apps. Revenue was dropping all the time, people were talking that is normal after new year… well maybe it will be dropping until next new year?
It just does not make any sense. Since July even my downloads drop quite a lot on some apps since google must have made some changes.
It keeps just getting worse and worse…
Thats not true. My Revenue grew this year compared to last 2 years. Primarily because we built on what we already have and continuously improved Quality of apps we do. I think playstore is still a good source if you keep your apps polished.
Well, you likely do not know my background but prior to owning an ad platform, I was a huge publisher and made tons of money doing it at a time when everyone claimed the web was oversaturated beyond even what the app market is today. I am not saying this to you to make more money myself as you don’t work with us nor am I trying to convince you to work with us since our topic is more focused on trends - I am saying this because I’ve been a publisher and see opportunity where others see challenges. And yes, you will have to create a real strategy to make money. But, for anyone who is willing to put in the work, success is always right around the corner. The stupid easy money - that always, always disappears.
This exactly, maybe they think we are just “nerdy kids having fun” making crappy apps or we are from some Asian third world country and happy to earn 10 a day, they don’t seem to realize there are serious professional indie programmers investing and putting big efforts into the developing of new, original and solids apps.
So in conclusion in my last days on the play store market I saw two things, pro developers are just moving away into a regular job or freelancer, a huge wave of third world guys desperate to make something is filling the store with crappy apps, big companies who can afford extensive marketing campaigns are taking over the store; Sadly with that business model making money with android for indie devs will be a paradox pretty soon.
This is your experience and I won’t take that away from you but the majority have another experience including the creator of Word Hero that is on here. You say revenue has increased in an extremely saturated market where discovery continues to be an issue and you just need to polish you apps. That’s a tad oversimplified but thanks for discrediting my statement in your first sentence. By your other posts on this forum, trolling is your 2nd job so I digress.