As mobile application stores continue to grow in size, pricing among the most popular paid games software is going down, a new study has found.
In a new report by market research firm Distimo covering activity on various mobile app stores during the month of June, the group found that pricing among the top 300 apps in Apple's App Store has dropped 28 percent from averages taken the same time a year ago.
During the month of June last year, Distimo tracked the average price among the top 300 paid games in the App Store at $2.01, with it dropping to $1.69 by January of this year. Last month's average was $1.44, the firm said.
Why are games so important? According to Distimo's June numbers, games are the most popular overall category in all the application stores it tracks, short of BlackBerry's App World where themes take top honors (note: if looking at BlackBerry App World apps only for Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet, Distimo says the trend continues there with games being the most popular category). That means the pricing trends for games can represent a large portion of a store's entire catalog.
Distimo's studies track Apple's various App Stores, the BlackBerry App World, GetJar, Google's Android Market, Nokia's Ovi Store, Palm's App Catalog, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Marketplace using "collected transactional data." The report for June focused specifically on Apple and gaming, though noted that among all the catalogs, Microsoft saw the most growth in terms of its catalog, with games jumping 149 percent in the last six months, and non-gaming apps jumping 266 percent during the same period.
Freebies not so free
Distimo's report also weighs in on in-app purchasing, noting that games that are free but have in-app purchase for virtual goods made up a little more than half of the revenue share among the 200 top grossing games on Apple's iOS App Store, and that 35 percent of the top 300 free games were using virtual currencies.
"One year ago, freemium games (free games with featuring in-app purchases) generated only 8 percent of the revenue of top grossing games. As of June 2011, 52 percent of all the revenue of top grossing games is generated by freemium games," wrote Hendrik Koekkoek, a Distimo analyst. "This implies that the revenue generated by top freemium games increased more than tenfold in this period, given the fact that the total revenue of top 200 grossing games increased by 79 percent in one year."
That news comes just a day after Flurry Analytics noted that consumers on Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market were spending an average of $14 per transaction on so-called freemium games. That sampling, which ran for the past six months, was based on data from 3.5 million users and the most popular of the 90,000 applications the company tracks.