How have your games sold on Android?
RK: Our games have been doing well on Android, better than expected. Our most recent free-to-play game Beach Buggy Blitz is about to hit 10 million downloads on Google Play.
MS: All of our games have been profitable. Our first game, Riptide GP, has over 250K installs, at an average MSRP of $1.99, and we made it for about $100K, so that's pretty good. It's not Angry Birds money, but it's more than enough to keep a small company going if you keep your costs down.
How do your sales compare to your experience with other platforms?
RK: The main advantage of the Android platform for a small developer is the fact that the Google Play store ranking system is more difficult to manipulate by the big publishers with their user-acquisition spends. Rankings are based on more than simply number of installs in a period of time.
This means that quality apps tend to creep to the top and have some decent inertia once they get there. Regarding the consumer, we find that Android consumers are less willing to pay for apps/in-app purchases and piracy is much more rampant. However, in our case we're able to overcome this with volume.
MS: Our experience has been the opposite of what you generally hear: We have done significantly better on Android than on iOS. We have noticed that in our free-to-play game-conversion rates are much better (about two to three times better) on iOS, but the volume on Android more than makes up for it.
That said, oddly enough Android players seem less concerned about price on pay-to-play games. From time to time we'll put Riptide GP on sale from $1.99 to $0.99 -- on iOS we see a big (temporary) jump in sales that more than makes up for the 50% discount. But on Android we do it less often because it barely moves the needle.
Which app stores do you support?
RK: On Android, we have used Google Play, Amazon, and B&N NOOK. Google Play has by far been the most successful. We have tried some other app stores in the past (carrier-specific, prepaid cards, etc.), but sales on those have been insignificant. We are also partnering with Incross to sell in Korea (SKT T-Store, etc.).
MS: Our experience with carrier- and hardware-specific app stores has been pretty abysmal. We get royalty payments of like $2.50 for a month's worth of sales. Amazon and NOOK have been pretty good for us, but my feeling is that their audiences lean more toward casual and puzzle-type games, and the discovery mechanisms in those stores are not as well developed. Like Ralf said, the vast majority of our revenue comes from the Play Store.
Overall, have you found Android dev to be worth the extra work?
MS: Android development is absolutely worth the work, but you have to plan to be cross-platform from the very start of development. It's a lot harder to take a game that was specifically made for iOS and then belatedly port the thing over.
RK: Also, we are currently making our games available on BB10 where we are seeing moderate success (more than expected) due to the "early to market" effect.