More Revenues For Windows Phone 7 Developers

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we believe we have a great platform for developers.  The canvas we have delivered is enabling amazing creativity to flourish.  Some developers, however, have taken a wait and see approach to developing for Windows Phone.  For those who have taken the plunge, some developers are making more money on Windows Phone 7 than Android, even though we have less handsets in market.

Yes, this is a data point of one, but it’s a public data point about which we can talk.  There are many more stories like this on the horizon, but this is the first one that is verified by a third party.

Fruit Ninja has made 7x more money on Windows Phone 7 than Android.

That is the claim of the article.  Why is this?  There are many potential reasons, and I don’t want to venture into what could quickly devolve into a discussion based on opinions.  What we can say is that the data shows that the Windows Phone Marketplace works for developers.  It shows that customers of Windows Phone are spending money to buy apps.  It shows that that Windows Phone has great potential.

UPDATE (03/09/11 11:20A): The Xylogic data is what it is.  I won’t vouch for it, so short of taking this post down, I can only say that I cannot verify their Android data.  Is it a fair assumption that any overstatement/understatement they make for Windows Phone is same for Android?  Maybe.  I am not going to surface Fruit Ninja numbers as that’s not my place.  Unless Xylogic made a mistake in our favor (overstating $$ on Windows Phone) and against Android (understating $$ on Android), the ratio will hold.

Besides, and here’s the point that everyone seems to be missing – we have sold way fewer phones and Android.  Way.  Even if we were at parity on revenues, which platform is more appealing?  Don’t let the source of the data get in the way of the undeniable fact: the dynamics and structure of the marketplace on Android creates a challenge for developers to make money.  When Angry Birds can’t make money with per unit sales, that’s a sign. [END UPDATE]

We are still learning, and will continue to share what we learn with our developer community about what apps are working, how to market their apps, get noticed, etc.  However, the fact remains that for this developer, Windows Phone 7 has been well worth their time.

The smart money is to bet on the train that is leaving the station, not the one that’s gone.  Again, public data point of one, but this train is picking up steam.  As CNet noted, our mobile fortunes are tied to app developers.  Getting developers info like this is incredibly important to demonstrating that Windows Phone is a viable, credible, profitable platform for developers.  We will turn ourselves inside out to get developers whatever they need to be successful.

Still on the fence?  If you are an Android developer, and looking for a switch, reach out to us.  For developers committed to building on Windows Phone, we will take care of you.  Every developer matters.

  • http://twitter.com/greggnw Nathan Ward Gregg

    So basically this is saying people who buy Windows Phone 7 handsets have money. Way to subtly call out all the children on Android.

  • Brandon Watson

    The dynamics and structure of the Android marketplace make it much harder for devs to make money. That is well known amongst developers, and says nothing about the relative wealth of customers.

  • Anonymous

    lol … “co-marketing” funds ftw!

  • Anonymous

    think your stretching it a bit far if thats what you get from this article…

  • Michael Neel

    You need to either do a better job sourcing your numbers, or presenting the facts. These numbers came off of http://wmpoweruser.com/despite-the-size-of-the-market-developers-can-already-make-more-money-on-wp7-than-android/ which used a third party service to get data, http://www.xyologic.com/

    The numbers in questions are Dec 2010 Android sales of Fruit Ninja, vs Jan 2011 sales on WP7. Given that this was the launch of WP7, 3x the price on Android, and a promoted title, it’s easy to see how sales could be more than one month on Android.

    I think it’s still a little early to hang the “Mission Accomplished” banner.

  • http://www.manyniches.com brandonwatson

    It’s not mission accomplished, but you bring up some interesting points. Is it bad that any app could support a higher price on Windows Phone 7 than on Android? You indicate that as a reason they performed better. Do you think developers care? They want to make money, and if that means less units sold, but at a higher price, that’s not a bad deal.

    I clearly indicate that the data is a set of one. I obviously have access to marketplace data, but will not and cannot share it here.

  • http://twitter.com/adamUCF Adam

    Where’s NoDo?

  • Guest

    I realize that you are the developer evangelist for WP7, but this is a data point of 1. I can’t comment about Fruit Ninja as I don’t know its quality on any platform. My concern is the lack of users of the devices, as shown by http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/weinschenk/comscore-android-soars-windows-phone-7-doesnt/?cs=45883. Basically, no users in the marketplace, except for us developers. That’s not a good thing to see. ComScore’s numbers show that things continue to drop, when the promise was that wP7 would stop the slide. So far, it hasn’t. I realize its early still, but the comscore numbers are not encouraging at all. I’m currently staying on iPhone and Android until the numbers and WP7 OS justify a change.

  • Michael Neel

    It’s not just a one point, it’s a bad data point. You are implying Fruit Ninja made 7x *total* sales, when the source data is comparing one month of Android to one month of WP7. You are also using the month WP7 launched – when everyone got a new phone and wanted to buy a game, and “hey look – Fruit Ninja” is in the featured list.

    The Android Marketplace states the game has sold > 250,000 copies in it’s lifetime. Being conservative and saying that’s 250001 at $.99 that’s $247,500.99 – I hope Feb is an amazing month for Fruit Ninja to make up and meet 7x more sales on WP7.

    The point I’m making here is the source data is highly selective and skewed to the launch window of WP7. And while Fruit Ninja sold more in this month, the other two games Need for Speed/pocket God sold 9300/9300 on WP7 versus 68000/17600 in the same selective, skewed month.

    I think a more realistic picture is painted in http://www.zdnetasia.com/windows-phone-7-devs-get-long-awaited-pay-day-62206397.htm – and it also covers how the platform favors publishers over developers. Apple, for all the complaints, at least treats all app/games the same and doesn’t hold back feature APIs from developers.

  • Brandon Watson

    All great points Michael. Comparisons won’t always be perfect. Just like counting all those “lite” apps in the AppStore makes no sense, but they do it.

    Curiosity question for you – have you used a Windows Phone? Are you a dev?

  • http://www.manyniches.com brandonwatson

    All great points Michael. Comparisons won’t always be perfect. Just like counting all those “lite” apps in the AppStore makes no sense, but they do it.

    Curiosity question for you – have you used a Windows Phone? Are you a dev?

  • Michael Neel

    Yes, though my focus in on Xbox. Microsoft’s treatment is so poor of XBLIG I do not trust WP7 will be any better. WP7 development device story is lacking as well and I’m not going to push an app based on the emulator. I was quite eager to jump on WP7 when I first saw it at the MVP summit last year, but even as an MVP I couldn’t get access to a device as Microsoft was more interested in helping publishers over developers. Until Microsoft is willing to create a level platform I think it’s too risky to justify development effort versus an open platform like Android and iOS. Yes, compared to Microsoft, iOS is open.

    The numbers you’ve quoted are total downloads for Fruit Ninja vs sales on Android – http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2011/02/15/windows-paid-downloads/ (read the update). This is beyond what I was saying before, of using selective accounting to make your case. It’s now a false report – Fruit Ninja did not sell that many copies, just had that many downloads.

  • http://twitter.com/jamesashley jamesashley

    Brandon,

    Everythingwm.com has pretty much retracted their story and are blaming the inaccurate numbers on another website. The problem seems to be that the WP7 Fruit Ninja numbers were miscalculated, while the android numbers were pulled out of thin air. One source actually has Fruit Ninja with 150K downloads in its first two weeks on Android.

    I’ll second Michael Neel’s sentiment that it is still too early for declaring Mission Accomplished (great image) but WP7 dev is definitely making progress.

    I think a big problem is we still all have to get our heads around Metro. It’s an easy style to program against, but it isn’t “delightful”, appealing, or worth paying serious money for. That’s part of the reason XNA apps for WP7 do so well — they completely ignore metro. We all need to learn to improve on “black, white and blocky.”

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  • http://twitter.com/whyJoe Joe Zapert

    “I think a big problem is we still all have to get our heads around Metro. It’s an easy style to program against, but it isn’t “delightful”, appealing, or worth paying serious money for. That’s part of the reason XNA apps for WP7 do so well — they completely ignore metro. We all need to learn to improve on “black, white and blocky.”"

    Total b.s.. Just saying.

  • Te

    Please stop bs, almost no more than 1 individual developer over 10000 makes serious money, enough to make a living out of developing WP7 apps. You need to decrease your 30% cut, and add much more users.