The folks over at App Annie have released a pretty fascinating report that shows some interesting shifts that are happening in the mobile space. Perhaps the most surprising is the fact that Japan has overtaken the US in Google Play (Android's app store) revenue, making this the first time that the US did not occupy the top spot in the country rankings. The report notes:
Japan has seen rapid revenue growth in the last few months and it demonstrates the monetization advantage that publishers enjoy in Japan, especially when you consider that its download volume is a little over a quarter that of the US.
Japan’s revenues for Google Play have shot up by a factor of ten since January 2012 (see chart above). And App Annie also points out that amazingly eight of the top 10 companies on Google Play are from either Japan or Korea, with the top three publishers — DeNA, Colopl, and GungHo Online — hailing from Japan. Korean publishers WeMade Enterainment and Gamevil sat in the fourth and sixth spots respectively.
How do things look on iOS? Japan is still trailing the US in terms of revenue here, but the report says that the Asian mobile powerhouse is showing faster growth than America. This trend, as well as the shift in the Android ecosystem, can be partly attributed to a mature mobile population that is relatively accustomed to mobile payments.
But it is likely also due to the experience of Japanese game developers who have refined monetization methods and know-how far better than Western companies. Friend of the blog and mobile games expert Serkan Toto pointed this out in a report this past summer, so be sure to check that out.