06 May 2010

What percentage of the iPhone market is buying games?

I just read an interesting blog post titled Another view of game piracy. It states that iPhone game developers are finding that about 80% of their users are using jailbroken phones. This seems odd, since it goes on to claim that 10% of worldwide iPhones are jailbroken.

If you take this a step further, it means that only a tiny percent of all users is downloading any individual app. For example, if all jailbroken iPhone users pirate an app (10% of all users) and the ratio above holds, then the entire percentage of users who have downloaded that app is only 12.5%. More realistically, probably way less than half of all jailbroken iPhone users will pirate an individual app, here’s a pie chart of what it’d look like with 50% of jailbroken users downloading an app (using the two original charts on each side).

percent of jailbroken and regular iPhone users to download an app

Assuming these numbers actually hold, it gives some credit to why other approaches—like the radiohead in rainbows album release—can be so successful by making the product easier to adopt for the majority of the market who wouldn’t otherwise pay full price or go through the work to pirate it.

The blog post also goes on to suggest that PC game developers are making bad games—often doing lazy ports of console games—and that’s the main reason they’re seeing declining sales. With the popularity and lower total cost of ownership of console systems/games, they definitely seem to be chipping away at PC games… but I am pretty excited for the massive PC game release in July—Starcraft II.

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Peter Coles

Peter Coles

is a software engineer who lives in NYC, works at Ringly, and blogs here.
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