PapayaMobile Reaches 25M Registered Users, Takes Jabs At DeNA’s Mobage

PapayaMobile, the Android-focused mobile-social gaming network, said today that it passed 25 million registered users and released a host of statistics to show developers that it can help them monetize and distribute their titles.

As Android’s momentum in activations and recently launched in-app billing system make it a more financially viable platform for developers, we’re in a landgrab period where PapayaMobile, DeNA’s Mobage, GREE’s OpenFeint and others are trying to sign up gaming companies as quickly as possible to create network effects.

More games means more power to drive installs, sell virtual currency and earn more revenue. But there are also giants lurking in the background too. It’s not clear how Google intends to integrate Google+ into Android or how well Facebook’s HTML5 platform efforts will fare.

Here’s the simple rundown of statistics Papaya released today. Our extra notes are italicized. We still have a few questions so we’ll update as we get more detail:

  • More than 11 million paid transactions have occurred using Papaya’s virtual currency.
  • On average, 1 in 5 users purchase Papaya’s virtual currency in social games that use Papaya’s Game Engine.
  • ARPPU (average revenue per paying user) on the Papaya network is $22.60/month.
  • ARPPU across all Papaya Game Engine games is more than $10.00 per month.
  • Popular titles earn on average over $20,000/month. “Popular” means the game is in the top 100 in gaming categories like Casual or Arcade & Action on Android.
  • The most spent by a single user on the Papaya network is $4,440.
  • 93 million pMails have been sent to users across the Papaya network.
  • Users have engaged in over 874 million game sessions.
  • 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%. Papaya didn’t break out how ARPPU, ARPU or the paid conversion rate differs in China from the rest of the world.

PapayaMobile also pointed out an example of how it drove installs for a developer. It said it launched X-City from Aidi and was able to get it into sixth place in Android Market’s casual games category without use of any other paid channels. The game received 90 percent of its traffic from the Papaya Social Network.

The Mobage-Papaya Rivalry Heats Up in The U.S. and China

The company’s head of developer relations Paul Chen also took an unusually pointed jab at rival DeNA, which recently launched its competing Mobage platform in Papaya’s core markets of China and the U.S. He said that four weeks after launch, Mobage wasn’t driving meaningful numbers of installs for developers on its network.  He said that Mobage has poor design, requiring users to install the network’s app before installing the game they want.

He pointed out that apps like NimbleBit’s Pocket Frogs, Backflip’s Paper Toss and Haypi Kingdom — which are all hits on iOS — are not seeing more than 50,000 installs from the Mobage network, as evidenced by Android Market’s public statistics. Some of the apps he sampled include:

  • 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

The thing to point out though is that DeNA has the ability to spend capital in a way that a venture-backed company like PapayaMobile, which recently closed an $18 million round, does not. DeNA is trying to grow outside of the saturated Japanese market and has pledged to investors that it will become the biggest mobile social gaming platform in the world. With its high-rolling Japanese consumer base (which produces an ARPU of $12.06 on Mobage), the company had 50.9 billion yen ($665 million) in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet at the end of the last quarter.

That said, PapayaMobile has early mover advantage on Android with its 25 million registered users and know-how in the Chinese market where chief executive Si Shen was a product manager at Google for four years in Mountain View and China. DeNA has had to buy, rather than build, to enter the U.S. market where it bought ngmoco:) for up to $403 million last year. It also has historically held a dual role as a game developer and platform provider, which isn’t the predominant model in English-speaking markets.

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