Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why Google Play Store alternatives are important?

After having your android applications ready in the format of .apk extension, you are now ready to let your android games accessible by anyone around the world (or your preferred audience).

Usually, most of the Android games developers would consider Google Play Store as the main market to reach the public. It is undoubtedly to say that, indeed, Google Play Store is the most gigantic market on Earth due to its high availability. Its existence in the Western countries and the Europe is simply dominating. Except China (at the time writing), the Play Store really achieves a remarkable result in other developed countries in Asia (Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, etc). Android games developers love Google Play Store not only because of the 'Google' brand, but also the 'smart' business model. From time to time, the Google Play Store keeps coming out with the helpful tools and services which boost the game development process (eg: Google Play Game Services, Google+ Circles, Cloud Saves, etc).

However, despite the outstanding performance from the Google Play Store, it is also important for the Android Games developers to be aware of other alternatives. The reasons are shown below:

1. Diversification

Different app stores might have different audience. Although the other app stores may only occupy around 20% - 30% of the total players that download in the Google Play Store, the fact is, the more the merrier. The higher number of the audience being exposed means a higher number of games downloads. The revenue is proportional to the number of the game downloads. You do the math.

2. Avoid plagarism

This is a critical point. For those who have been all the while ONLY considering Google Play Store as the silver bullet but not the alternatives, this is a reminder, as it happens to some of my fellow games developers. The thing is, if you do not perform the diversification (as in the 1st point) yourself, the stealthy spammers will do on behalf of you. It means that, people could easily have your .apk file from the Google Play Store. Then, with some trivial efforts of registration on the other app stores, they could have your games up serving for their purposes (by uploading your apk files). This situation is indeed quite rampant. For example, go to 1mobile, do you see your own apk up there? Oops. Or you could easily search for others' apk file and 're-publish' on the other app stores (it is illegal and could face lawsuits).

3. Monetization

If you are doing Android Apps / Games for a living, monetization could be a crucial factor. Unfortunately, Google Play Store only allows the games developers from certain countries to sell apps and in-app products. Fret not, the Google Play Store alternatives (such as Amazon app store and Opera app store) do not have such a discrimination. If you are confident about your games value and they deserve a purchase before the players can enjoy the premium edition, you may attempt to publish a Pro version of the game on the alternatives while a Lite one in the Google Play Store.

In a nutshell, it is important for the apps / games developers to realize the impacts if they do / do not publish their apps on the Google Play Store alternatives.

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