Mobile monetization is terrible! Or is it?

VentureBeat has a few sound bytes from Interpret’s forthcoming Gamebyte syndicated research report. A first read would have you believe that the sky is falling. Most notably, they cite lower monthly ARPU for mobile games and the fact that only 21% convert on in-app purchases. OMG – mobile monetization is terrible!¬†

But there’s a shiny silver lining. Free-to-play games are much more broadly penetrated: ~50 million people in the US play games on their phones, twice as many as play MMOs on PCs. And those 50 million people already generate as much revenue as MMOs, despite the fact that

  1. Smartphones aren’t fully penetrated
  2. The Android monetization experience is a hot mess and it’s the fastest growing smartphone OS.
  3. In-app purchase revenue is a new phenomenon where most game developers have a lot of work to optimize in-app pricing and positioning 

Our take? Yes, it’s early. And, yes, there’s lots of work to be done. But this rocket ship appears to be gathering steam in a way that portends very significant future growth.

Long live mobile monetization!