App Store's 'rich get richer' culture inevitable in a nascent marketplace, reckons Z2Live CEO David Bluhm

iOS ecosystem serves only a few studios

App Store's 'rich get richer' culture inevitable in a nascent marketplace, reckons Z2Live CEO David Bluhm
| Z2 news

The reaction to Distimo's assertion that apps equipped with in-app purchases (IAPs) are the dominant force on iOS has been relaxed so far, even from studios that traditionally favour the paid model.

You might expect those with a thirst for freemium to be even more au fait with the situation. If Z2Live CEO David Bluhm's take is anything to go by, you'd be right.

Not only is Bluhm content with the strength of IAPs on Apple's platform (Z2Live is a freemium only publisher) but he also believes many of the other side effects of life on the App Store, such as big hits being limited to a tiny number of studios, are part and parcel of the mobile game.

We tackled Bluhm for his take on the highs and lows of monetisation on the App Store.

Pocket Gamer: Distimo's latest figures suggest apps with in-app purchases make up 72 percent of all iOS revenue. Does this tie in with your own experiences on the App Store?

David Bluhm: We only develop and publish freemium games so would not know the comparative breakout.

Looking at the top grossing lists week in and week out, we know that games using the freemium model - with in-app purchases - have been dominant.

What kind of bearing, in any, do reports like this have on your output?

Limited at best. Distimo's report reflects all apps and so does not offer a great look at the games space.

They talked a lot about Korea, who does not have a games category on iTunes, due to an issue of a games ratings policy by the korean government. Also, the report used a relatively short term snapshot of the storefronts.

For instance, two weeks after they issued their August listings, Trade Nations was top grossing for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch.

Said differently, both of our games have each reached number one top grossing levels in all countries.

The report also suggests the majority of these IAP equipped games are free releases. Do you think freemium is likely to dominate iOS in the future?

Not sure. We are not planning or betting on this model to continue to dominate, but it has been the stronger model worldwide for some time and it looks like things will stay that way.

Is the relevance of the paid model falling away?

I don't think so. Many genres suit the paid download model more so than a freemium model. Subscriptions will also likely play a role going forward as they have in the past.

What are your own IAP plans?

This is the only model we support at present. All of our games are designed to optimise around this model.

Additionally, what does it say about the App Store as a whole that just 4 percent of apps are generating 72 percent of the revenue?

It says the same thing that every other nascent but maturing publishing market says - the rich will get richer, a few new brands and strong companies will emerge, and everyone else will go away.

Thanks to David for his time.

You can find out more about Z2Live on the publisher's website.

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.