Ignore that Windows Phone is fractional in user base to Android. Right now if you compare the sales of the top apps on each platform, you’d see that the top Windows Phone devs are making more money according to research firm Xyologic. On Windows Phone, Fruit Ninja had 49,800 downloads at $3 per download. Meanwhile, Android’s top game was Need for Speed that had 68,000 downloads at $1 per download, so Windows Phone is a multiple of Android. InsideMobileApps concludes “That means Microsoft’s smartphone platform, which arrived several years late to market, is likely far more lucrative for its size than Android.”

Based on the January downloads for Windows Phones they provided, I added an extra column to figure out the total sales so you can see it together and overall, it’s shaping up to be a good platform for sales already (well relative to Android at least):

And remember the Microsoft Games Studios just means it’s an Xbox Live title so MSG is the publisher.

So apparently size doesn’t matter…


  1. This is almost certainly ignoring “Trial Mode” downloads, which may well be contributing.

    Even so, profits are likely to be higher per phone in the real world, which is an important thing to note.

  2. Jeff Weber (developer of Krashlander) has stated that these are download stats and not purchase stats. He has a 25% turnover rate from trial to paid. Applying that to these numbers, Android is ahead. Of course, based on the nubmer of devices in use it shouldn’t even be close and it is. And also the Xbox titles have another screen they are selling on with almost the same code so if that were factored in it probably wouldn’t be close. I know it’s not mobile sales, but it is still relevant to how a developer chooses a platform.

  3. I’m surprised The Harvest isn’t further up that list. It’s my favourite phone game so far…actually includes a bit of depth… but just a bit :)

  4. I’m not a developer and really don’t give a flying freak-me-down from a two dollar whore. All I know is that I have Fruit Ninja on my Android phone and I paid nada, 0, nothing.

    Are you being paid to brainwash WP7 users to think that it is ok to buy an app when that same app is free on other devices. Good luck with all of that.

    Not going to re-hash an old article but let us be seriuos. Are more of your readers developers or users? If a developer chooses a platform solely for money, he will not be a developer for long. If he decides not to go Andoid, tie his hand behind his back and go mid-evil on his cavitiy’s. Good writtens. If the app is very good, it will sell on any platform free or not.

    How about the millions of apps that Window Phone Users have that are not being updated or supported? What is MS doing for those faithful users who kept their old sorry platform afloat because nothing else was available. Nothing, nada, no vaseline but they want you to BUY more apps from a different (experimental) platform. Lab rats cost pennies at the pet store but you lab rats are actually paying MS to eventually snap your necks. Microsoft is a piece of work that comes out of farm animals rears.

    Say what you want about Apple (I hate them, too) but if it was not for the Iphone, relying on MS to take the lead in the smartphone platform, we will still be using stylus and apps would never have the impact they do today.

  5. @RowdyC: too much to really respond to but to your initial point about the cost of Fruit Ninja for Android. Do you think the dev is happy to give away software? I mean, do they prefer getting paid or giving shit away for free? I don’t know if it’s ad based on Android or not but if they wanted to go ad based on WP7 they easily could. In fact the returns per click are identcal on both. There’s also a free clone of it for Wp7 that is ad based. Bottom line though, the fact that devs cannot sell games on Android is a problem for Android that even they’ve acknowledged and forcing them into ad revenue won’t make all of them happy. There’s a multiple of Android users out there and almost no sales so if a dev is planning on sales (and not ads, especially on Android that’s notorious for ad blockers) then they have reason to pause and move to other OSes.

  6. Devs may be happy about ad revenues… I certainly won’t be, the phone screens are too small to waste real estate on this stuff. I am really puzzled to see so many people being happy to save a couple of bucks to watch those pesky things.

    Anyway, none of this will matter if the OS doesn’t sell. And it certainly won’t without new devices coming on new networks and in new countries. And judging by what I see and hear from reports from MWC, just about everyone is on the fence at best. I really wonder how MS plan to hold this thing alive through the year until new devices come (if they do). Especially with their manner of rare announcements and complete radio silence for months in between. Conversion rates are great, but there needs to be volume, too.

  7. Lets bring some empirical evidence into the discussion shall we. 70.95% of all americans reportedly make less than $50,000 per year. So in basically 4 months or less in most cases devs are already making out better than almost 3/4th of the country in income. Adding to the fact that the dev tools are free and you have a very low cost of entry into the market.

    @RowdyC, Google claims there are over 200,000 activations daily and yet the numbers for revenue of it top paid games is close with Windows Phone which gets bemoaned for the platforms relatively low adoption rate? The numbers tell me that Android as a platform is a relatively poor vehicle for earning income.

    @vangrieg, the platform will be fine because users of WinPhone enjoy the user experience and the platform is adding nice apps/games weekly which keeps a sense of newness and discoverability. Mix ’11 will be a huge shot in the arm for the dev community too. By the time Mango update is released there will be a huge number of new apps/games waiting to flood the market.

    I absolutely love my HTC Surround and yes the latest phones look great but that doesn’t make me covet them and want to ditch my Surround. Its the same type of phone/ecosystem/platform attachment Apple has been able to garner from their users.

    A major point missed/misconstrued is that this article isn’t advocating users ditch Android but to point out that Windows Phone 7 is a viable economic platform at its early stage and size. No reason to wait if you’re a known developer of great apps. Windows Phone users spend money of their own choice and happy to do so.

    As a business owner Android users are the type of customers I don’t even consider for my products. I was raised to not mind paying for something you want. Freebies should be occasional not the norm.

  8. @YSS. I stand corrected. Sell, make money, or be used. are all the same to me when it comes to apps.

    By the way YSS, I saw your sister YKK on all of my zippers. Why don’t you take a look.

    @Murani, Say what you want but these phones are not a requirement to live. So an average person that makes under $50K wants free apps for a phone they sometimes paid hundreds of dollars to own. The reality is, regardless of how you were raised, free will always be in. As a business owner you should know this. I realize that point a view does not turn a profit for a business but I’m a user that realize that are always an options for me.

    There is always a solution for the problems Google is facing with app revenue for the developer but following Microsoft course is not the answer. I’m not smart enough to figure it out but Im sure the boys over in Goo Goo land can fix it.

  9. For a casual gamer or a normal person your argument might apply. But the truth is a someone who’ll be willing to play great games I can’t agree with you. Do you ever think we would’ve had this much great games in all the platforms if all the games were .99 cents or ad bloated freeware crap. Android doesn’t help to develop great games. It more and more tries to settle people with mediocrity(gaming wise, I think they does a very great job pushing through hardware specs) And it’s not like a huge amount of money for a app. You pay for coffee more than that.

  10. I don’t drink coffee so I’m saving on that and apps for my phone. I’m such a winner.

    By the way, Adroid market is kicking Apple market arse. Say what you want about Android’s app revenue returns for developer buy you can read on Slash Gear the Android apps are outpacing Iphone apps. If you dig into it, that might not say much for a developer but a end user like myself is glad I went to the Cappy. Oh yeah, some of these apps are crap but there are so many websites that give you insight to the good free apps, it worth the research. It’ll cost time but very little coins.

  11. Oh man I completely missed this one.

    That’s neat about crushing Android in this respect. Once the word finally gets out to all the other developers out there, maybe WP7’s smart phone share will hit half a percent.

    vangrieg: I hear you on screen real estate and ads. So do many other people — enough people that if you were to look around the market you’d find that for free apps with advertisements there tend to be paid versions without the ads. Would you prefer only the paid version be available?

    Anyway, using Newsrob as a random example, a Google Reader client, it has a free version with ads and a paid version without for about three bucks. For every ten free installations there is a purchase. That strikes me as a good arrangement for both the users and the developer.

    In other news, how has Microsoft contributing to content providers (like us) trying to monetize?

    Back to the topic, one other model that may not have been mentioned in this thread that’s not uncommon on Android is a free version of one’s app without ads, and then a paid version of the app which is otherwise identical except it has the word donate in the title.

  12. Just pulled up that WMPU trackback article thread thing. Remarkable, really remarkable, and not unusual over there (or here, depending on the article) — virtually every single comment of those Windows power users has a reference to or is entirely centered around Google and Android.

    Didn’t see Apple. Hell I didn’t even see Nokia. In theory at least you’d think you’d see Nokia about as much as Android over there given the news or at least half the comments not mentioning Google… that’s some Twilight Zone shit.

  13. @Doug Simmons: What’s that story about Angry Birds that only has the ad-supported version and no paid one? Are you saying it’s the sole exception? I hear from many sources that on Android ads are the monetization method. Is this all wrong? When there’s an ad-supported version and a paid one I certainly don’t mind. The only better way to handle it is having a trial API where you don’t have to redownload the thing and purchase the app by just clicking a button. Or better yet, an ad-supported thing for those greedy cheapos who only spell FREE with all caps and a paid version with time-limited by full-featured trial). I also think that this approach increases conversion rates just because it’s so easy and hassle-free for the user. Also, something has to be done in the application store so that paid apps get proper visibility (as in, Marketplace generally favors paid apps, and free ones are sort of one click further away from initial view). These are small things and nothing that can’t be done by Google. The only problem is that Google doesn’t actually want this to happen. If the sales quoted in the post above are true then developers may simply not even try to sell anything because ads will guarantee better revenues. That would be nasty.

  14. Oh, and ad-supported apps should never be classified as “free”. Ever. This is a scam (it’s not Android specific unfortunately, so there’s no safe haven).

  15. Oh, and one more thing. You are reading these words from one of the most ad-tolerant people on the planet, in fact. I absolutely don’t mind TV ads, never use ad-blocking browser features, don’t even turn off ads on YouTube – i.e. when I’m consuming stuff. Applications though are a different beast – they are MY space, I certainly don’t want those changing flashing distractions when I’m DOING something. Mobile ads are a double annoyance not only because of space but also because of accidental clicks – this is borderline theft.

    We just recently got rid of adware on our PCs, and here comes Google and reintroduces it on much more intimate devices – our phones! Holy crap. I hate the model with a passion. It doesn’t go so far as to be a reason not to use Android, there are other factors, but other things being equal, I’d certainly choose something else just in order to not support the business model. Not that my voice matters but still…

  16. Oh, and ad-supported apps should never be classified as “free”. Ever. This is a scam

    So when you’re hiking on a trail in some Indian reservation (because technically everywhere else isn’t free as your taxes are probably going toward it one way or another, right) and someone passes you wearing a jacket, then you see on their jacket a North Face logo (actually THE NORTH FACE, they do it in caps I think — watch out man), do you feel like they stole from you? Blinded by capitalism? Taking up your visual real estate of the freeness? Wow man don’t ever let anyone accuse you of not having any fire in your belly.

    Regarding Angry Birds and whatever else you’ve got on your list of ad-only apps, well first off I wasn’t aware that it was ad-only only on Android but not on WP7 (for which they were paid by Microsoft to make a port I believe) and iPhone, very important to know. Thank you. If you got suckered into Android, maybe you should sting them with a bad rating and write one of your supercharged remarks, that could help a lot of people jammed up in your situation of wanting to play Angry Birds without any damn stupid ads.

    Regarding the android market, I’ve got it open one screen over. Front page, twelve featured apps, bottom half “best selling games” which are, as the word selling implies, paid. I can hit the categories on the left if I want or search for adfree, or if I want to dance around the free apps section, TOP FREE tab. Protection from advertisements with no paid counterparts in the free section? I don’t know about that but if you care that deeply read the description or comments first. Might find even worse complaints than ads.

    Information everywhere.

  17. No, ads in general don’t annoy me. I don’t know why, but ads in apps are an exception somehow, maybe I’m just weird.

    I hear Market is improving, great to hear, I’ve seen it a while ago.

    And no, I haven’t been suckered into Android, that would require a lot of effort convincing me that I can tolerate the looks of it first, don’t think it’s possible. That’s just me, I know. :)

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