PapayaMobile Reaches 25M Users On Android; Reveals Weakness In Mobage’s Model

By Azam Khan 

Social mobile gaming network PapayaMobile announced an array of compelling stats today. It’s most notable accomplishment is that it has hit the 25M user point, indicating 940% growth since January 2010. With Android controlling 52 percent of the market, can PapayaMobile maintain its lead against upcoming competitors’ platforms like Mobage? More after the jump.

PapayaMobile has been at the forefront of the gaming community on Android since the get go. Having a solo focus on Android, PapayaMobile has released a variety of products to date including an offer sdk, a social sdk. They also released a game engine for developers – the same one they used to release their own titles such as PapayaFarm earlier on. Papay engine is an openGL run-time script written in C and allowing coders to use python or flash-like script languages. In addition it had built in tie-ins with Android API and other Papaya solutions such as billing.

Papaya has also proven that its social network can propel games to the top of the Android Market charts using its viral marketing features like newsfeeds, pMail and the Papaya Free application which is the most popular games SNS application reviewed at 4.3 stars on the Android Market.  Through its viral marketing features, the recently launched X-City from Aidi was boosted into sixth place in the casual games category with no marketing outside of the Papaya network.  In X-City’s first weekend, 90% of its traffic came from the Papaya Social Network.

Some of its released stats include:

  • More than 11 million paid transactions have occurred using Papaya’s virtual currency.
  • ARPPU on the Papaya network is $22.60/month.
  • ARPPU is more than $10.00 per month in social games that were built using the Papaya Game Engine.
  • Popular titles earn on average over $20,000/month.
  • The most spent by a single user on the Papaya network is $4,440.
  • Regionally, the fastest growing market for Papaya is China which has experienced over 500% growth since January 2011. Europe is close behind at 224% and then the United States at 222%.

Competitors include Mobage, DeNA and ngmoco’s recently launched Android-based SNS which is still in beta. According to Paul Chen, Head of BD for PapayaMobile, traction of apps working with Mobage has been less than stellar. The following is some of the data regarding 25 of the recently launched apps on Mobage’s platform:

  • Pocket Frogs for Mobage: 10,000-50,000 installs with rating of 3.6 stars
  • We Rule for Mobage: 5,000-10,000 installs with rating of 3.7 stars
  • Paper Toss for Mobage: 1,000-5,000 installs with rating of 2.4 stars
  • Ninja Royale for Mobage: 1,000-5,000 installs with rating of 3.7 stars
  • Haypi Kingdom for Mobage: 1,000-5,000 installs with rating of 3.2 stars
  • Paradise Island for Mobage: 1,000-5,000 installs with rating of 3.5 stars

Paul attributes the lack of performance to the fact one must download the Mobage SNS application in addition to the game if they wish to play it. This barrier to adoption can be a big deterrent and prevent games seeing the same growth PapayaMobile-enabled titles have seen such as X City by Aida Games which was launched on July 15th and has been ranked as high as #15 in the Casual game category, receiving over 280K installs.

That’s just one example however and Mobage has not been around on Android as long as PapayaMobile – so I can see why there will be a curve. With 50M+ users on Mobage’s network, we are bound to see some kind of growth but Mobage, especially with DeNA’s spending power and will require some time to bring quality content and really push its partner titles to success to have a more compelling offering than what PapayaMobile is showing.

Android OS has been growing extremely fast and continues to sit at the top with iOS. According to a recent NPD study, Android commands 52 percent of the US smartphone market. With Google taking a semi-verticalized approach and launching its gaming networks, wouldn’t PapayaMobile be an attractive acquisition for Google? After all they did buy Slide and others and PapayaMobile could help jump start its own network on Android.

Papaya, headquartered in Beijing, has three years of experience in China and runs a dedicated server for Chinese developers.  It also offers the “Gateway to China” program where developers outside of China can launch their games through Papaya, who have numerous relationships with handset manufacturers, app stores and carriers. To learn more, visit their site here.