Top 10 languages for mobile games and apps localization

Top 10 Languages for Mobile App/Game Localization with Maximum Revenue

Promoting a mobile app or game only in one language is not enough. Actually, an app publisher should create multiple localizations in order to cover the top grossing and emerging geographical markets. We recommend considering no fewer than 10 languages for mobile app localization.

App Store Superpowers are the countries holding leadership in terms of downloads and revenue. The latest stats show that the United States is not the front-runner anymore. In 2014, Japan and South Korea surpassed the United States by revenue on Google Play. At the same time, Japan is hot on the United States’ tail on the App Store, where it is #2 by revenue.

According to App Annie’s infographic presented at GMIC Silicon Valley event in December 2014, the following three countries form the App Store Superpowers: Japan, South Korea and the United States.

iOS + Google Play worldwide app revenue & download growth by region, Q3 2014
iOS + Google Play worldwide app revenue & download growth by region, Q3 2014. Infographic by App Annie.

When building the list of the top 10 languages for mobile app localization, we should keep in mind other English speaking countries like the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, where mobile apps and games gain high revenue as well. Collectively, the English speaking world is still dominating on the mobile app market.

Another significant player on both iOS and Android is China, which became the top 2nd gaming market by revenue worldwide in 2014. Bear in mind that games drive up to 75% of total revenue on the App Store and nearly all revenue growth on Google Play. App Annie Index Market Q3 2014 report puts China to #3 by revenue on the Apple’s App Store. The only reason why this country has not reached similar revenue rank on Google Play is that it got numerous Android app stores, and only 13% of Android market share in China belongs to Google Play.

Android app stores in China
Android app stores in China

As a matter of a fact, simplified Chinese, which is common for Internet and mobile users in China, goes to the #4 in our list of top ten languages for mobile app localization, following English, Japanese and Korean.

Let’s not forget about the Old World. Traditionally, the lion’s share of revenue generated by mobile apps and games in Continental Europe belongs to its most developed countries: Germany, France and Italy. It is worth noting that the estimated revenue from mobile games in Western Europe, according to AppLift and Newzoo, reached $3.2 billion at the end of the year 2014. Which makes Western Europe the third region in the world by revenue from mobile games, after North America and Asia Pacific.

Global mobile games revenues by region
Global mobile games revenues by region. Source: AppLift & Newzoo

Following English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, the next positions #5 to #9 in our top 10 languages for mobile app localization go to major Western European languages. Let’s take a look at the chart provided by Statista listing the leading gaming markets worldwide in 2014:

Leading gaming countries worldwide by revenue in 2014, Statistic
Leading gaming countries worldwide by revenue in 2014, Statistic

Germany is the leading European market by revenue from mobile apps and games. In App Annie Index: Market Q3 2014 Germany was reported the #4 country by revenue on Google Play. in our list of the top 10 languages for mobile app localization, German language wins #5, and #6 goes to French. Italian (#9) follows Portuguese and Spanish which take #7 and #8 respectively. The reason why Portuguese ranks better than Italian and Spanish is that Brazil’s market share of Google Play downloads increased more than any other country worldwide in Q3 2014. In total, estimated year over year revenue growth in Latin America’s mobile gaming segment exceeds 60%, which is bigger than elsewhere.

In the end, we recommend looking at another huge emerging market, the Southeast Asia. As stated by Newzoo in 2014 Global Games Market Report, the following six countries represent 97% of game revenue in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Phillippines and Vietnam. So, Malay becomes our #10 language for mobile app localization, which is the most widely spoken in this region.

Let’s summarize, here’s our top 10 mobile app localization languages for 2015:

1. English
2. Japanese
3. Korean
4. Chinese
5. German
6. French
7. Brazilian Portuguese
8. Spanish
9. Italian
10. Malay

UPD: check out the top 10 countries by total, online and Facebook population with infographics: Global Population: Online and Social. Infographics.

Hot Mobile Games Industry Trends for 2015

Hot Mobile Games Industry Trends For 2015

2014 has been a jammy year for the mobile games industry. In the last 12 months, games have been shining at the top of grossing charts on mobile app marketplaces like the Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Despite the visible success, it’s not as easy as it seems to figure out the landscape of mobile gaming in the upcoming 2015, as this industry probably remains the most disruptive and dynamic in the modern hi-tech segment.

Below are the major trends that, as stated by different experts in mobile gaming, will affect the industry above all in 2015.

Games are the best money generating mobile apps

Games drive the most revenue on both App Store and Google Play, compared to other categories of apps.

According to App Annie Index: Market Q3 2014 report, the lion’s share of Google Play’s worldwide revenue has been generated by gaming apps. From July to September 2014, this trend continued to persist, that led to the increase of games’ share in overall revenue on Google Play. The highest earnings occurred in the United States and South Korea, where games accounted for nearly all revenue of the platform.

This becomes even more evident when you look at the “Best of 2014” list released by Apple earlier this month. 9 of top 10 grossing apps throughout 2014 were games, and only 1 was a non-gaming app. Macquarie Research reveals that in 2014, games will deliver an estimated 75% of income on the App Store. Huge, isn’t it?

Non-gaming apps on the Apple's App Store
Non-gaming apps on the Apple’s App Store

On average, each of the two best selling games earned more than 1 million dollars a day on the App Store during October 2014. Supercell’s Clash of Clans, which is a #1 top grossing game, had an average daily revenue of $1,387,620, and King’s Candy Crush Saga, which is a #2, made $1,097,578 a day.

Top grossing gaming apps on Apple's App Store in October 2014
Top grossing gaming apps on Apple’s App Store in October 2014

Gamers want it for free

Since mobile gaming became an integral part of modern pop culture, the so called ‘devaluation of games’ began. An average user no longer wants to spend any money at all to install the game. 90% of revenue generated by games on App Store this year came from free-to-play titles.

Global Games Market Report by Newzoo, Q3 2014
Estimated Mobile Games Market Growth for 2013-2017 by Newzoo

Research from Newzo published in Q3 of 2014 estimates the total revenue of mobile games industry at $25 billion, $4 billion of which will be gained by Apple and $3 by Google. It’s surprising, but all that revenue is driven by a very tiny segment of gamers. Only 2.2% of users ever pay in free-to-play games, and 46% of the total revenue comes from just 0.22% of the total amount of mobile users, Swrve reports.

Big players get hold of app stores

2014 was the year when massive game publishers monopolized cash flows from app marketplaces. Two companies (King and Supercell) own nearly half of top 10 grossing mobile apps in the US (hence, they get the major portion of revenue). No wonder, there’s a lack of new products in top charts: 8 of top 10 grossing games were published in 2013 or earlier. At the same time, 80% of 1.2 million apps available on the App Store got no downloads at all.

Under such conditions, small game developers approach big publishers for marketing expertise and promotion. This makes some game industry giants that used to focus solely on in-house games launch publishing programs for third-party game developers. For instance, Rovio Entertainment, a company behind Angry Birds title, announced its mobile game publishing ititiative for game developers under the new brand named Rovio Stars in May 2014.

Next steps for game developers

New approaches to marketing games

Given the fact that an average cost of install in mobile advertising is overpriced and probably will rize up to $10 for native mobile apps next year, indie game developers and publishers need to find alternatives to get their apps discovered. And maybe, the solution can be found in the technology that game developers used to pay no regard for. Yes, it’s HTML5.

PuzzleSocial, a game develpment studio based in NYC, unveiled a case study about leveraging mobile web to drive high-quality installs for their game called “Daily Celebrity Crossword”, which is available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire. They built a lite version of the game on HTML5 and distributed it via mobile web. In 4 months, this resulted into 320,000 unique game plays and, which is more important, 10% of those players proceeded to download the native mobile app.

Roughly, this new marketing model can be presented as follows:

  • An HTML5 based lite virsion of a game provides limited game play with a few levels available for free;
  • Users discover the lite game version via one of the mobile web distribution networks and can start playing it right from a mobile web browser without needing to install an app;
  • If they like the game, they can follow the link to download the full game version from an app store, that is shown to them at game over;
  • A game developer is charged by a distribution network only when a user downloads a native app.

Another promising user acquisition channel is at the back of social video services like YouTube and Twitch. So called “Let’s Players”, people streaming their game play with comments online, have been on the stage since the establishement of YouTube. But in 2014, game developers fully realized the strong potential of Let’s Players which became a full-fledged, powerful media. It’s highly important for game developers to build relationships with popular Let’s Players, who can broadcast a game to millions of their own fans. PewDiePie, a Let’s Player of the year 2014, has 33 million subscribers on YouTube. He’s also popular on Twitch (440,000+ followers), a game-specific video broadcasting service with 60+ million monthly active users. There’s a lot more Let’s Players who are interested in new games to comment, check them out.

Alternative mobile app platforms

It’s been a while since the messaging service Kakao Talk, which is no.1 in South Korea, succeeded as a mobile gaming platform. At the end of 2013, it had 140 million registered users, $203 million revenue and 426 games available. However, Europe and North America always preferred traditional mobile app stores. 2015 may become the year of revolution for mobile games in this area, since Viber decided to follow Kakao’s path. Earlier this year, Viber announced the launch of Viber Games, a marketplace for mobile games. The company plans to make this feature available globally in January 2015. Yet, 5 countries have been selected for soft-launch in December 2014: Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Malaysia and Singapore.

Viber Games: Android app screenshot
Viber Games: Android app screenshot

Initially, Viber Games launched with two titles from Storm8 (Viber Candy Mania and Viber Pop) and one title from Playtika (Wild Luck Casino). All of them are free-to-play, and Viber will make money from in-app purchases inside those games. Besides, users can synchronize games with their Viber account in order to send gifts and share achievements with friends. Viber Games is not a stand-alone platform, it’s rather a separate section within Viber messenger which redirects to a native store to install a game on a user’s device.

As we can see, Viber is taking the leaf from Asian messengers like KakaoTalk and Line, and that will probably cause a shift in the way users discover games.

Promote your games in Asia and be aware of emerging markets

China, Japan, South Korea, as well as Southeast Asia, grab more and more interest from game developers. Indeed, Asian market looks stronger than ever: Japan and China took positions #2 and #3 respectively (right after the United States, which still holds #1) by downloads and revenue on the App Store in Q3 of 2014. On Google Play, Japan surpassed the United States by revenue taking the #1 from the US, South Korea reached #3 and Taiwan closed the top 5. As for emerging markets to consider, there are Brazil and India, which gained #2 and #3 by downloads on Google Play respectively.

Find out more about the Top 5 Content Marketing Trends for 2016.

Mobile apps vs mobile web

Mobile APP or Mobile WEB? How to Make the Right Choice for Business?

As the total amount of mobile devices worldwide is estimated to be more than 7.7 billion by the end of 2014, it is crucial for basically any business to build a proper mobile marketing strategy. Probably, at this stage, a big challenge to many entrepreneurs can be deciding between a mobile responsive website and a native mobile app.

Mobile apps dominate mobile websites in terms of time spent online.

There’s at least one important fact that speaks in favour of mobile apps. Users spend much more time with apps than with mobile browsers. Another fact is that over 90% of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app. With the variety of apps that are available for mobile devices nowadays, a web browser is just one out of the numerous tools for searching and exchanging content. According to stats revealed by Flurry, there’s a huge shift towards mobile apps at the expense of mobile websites this year. It states that an average US user spends 2 hours and 19 minutes with apps out of 2 hours and 42 minutes spent with a mobile device in total per day. The share of apps increased from 80% of the total time in 2013 to 86% in 2014.

Mobile apps vs mobile web usage in 2014 compared to 2013
Time spent online: mobile apps vs mobile web

But if we take a closer look at the following infographic, it becomes clear that only specific apps categories are used with high frequency. And the biggest share in that respect belongs to games, followed by social networking and messaging apps.

Mobile apps categories 2014
Mobile apps vs mobile web usage breakdown 2014

So, if your app doesn’t belong to one of the most popular categories, it’s probably not likely to reach very high download ranks very fast. Just think of it, there’s about 400, 000 apps with zero downloads out of nearly 1 million apps on the Apple’s App Store in 2014!

Google to encourage mobile friendly websites

Google isn’t going to be out of the swim in the ‘mobile apps vs mobile web battle’. It has introduced a new search label which indicates a website’s ‘mobile friendliness’ and gives it a boost in search results.

Google's mobile friendly search label for websites
Google’s mobile friendly search label for websites

To own the label from Google, a website must meet a number of criteria:

  • not use Flash, which is unrecognizable on mobile devices;
  • links must be optimized for tapping;
  • text must be readable without zooming and scrolling;
  • a web page must load fast enough.

In brief, a website must look great both on mobile and desktop devices. Anyone is able to check a website’s eligibility for the Google’s lable by running a mobile friendly test.

Mobile friendly website
An example of a mobile friendly website

In conclusion, the best strategy for business to compete in this rapidely changing envirornment is to have a mobile friendly website by default. But a native mobile app can be a good solution to enhance the added value for customers, though its development, maintenance and promotion requires additional costs and resources.

iTunes Store Shutdown 2014

Prepare Your iOS Apps for iTunes Connect Shutdown 2014

Apple announced the shutdown of iTunes Connect for this year’s Christmas holidays. The service will be unavailable to iOS app developers from December 22 through December 29, 2014. During the shutdown, developers will be unable to release new apps and updates on the App Store. Pricing changes will not take effect until after the shutdown as well. iTunes Connect will be back on December 30.

It is recommended to schedule your updates prior to December 18. Keep in mind that a review by Apple can take 4-7 days, but it can be more time-consuming during peak periods.

Downloads reach their highest level on Christmas holidays, as many people are presented with new iPhone and iPad devices. One of the reasons for the Christmas shutdown might be that Apple is trying to maintant those peak downloads and in-app purchases. On the other hand, this can help to prevent developers from unfair competition. After all, Apple guys may want to spend Christmas holidays with their families, too!