Distimo: Here's what happened once Google Play added three times as many genres

A major change in the categorization of mobile games on Google Play in March means there are now 18 genres, or three times as many as before, notes a new report from Distimo. Just a few days before news broke about its merger with App Annie, the mobile analytics firm released the results of an analysis from an install, revenue and ranking perspective across the Android market.

  • Arcade & action was leading with 30 percent in February, but after the update, games listed in this category moved to different labels. These moves brought the casual genre to the top at 18 percent.
  • Half of the now 18 game genres showed a device install share of less than 4 percent.
  • The casual game genre, which had the highest share in terms of device installs, showed the second-highest revenue share with more than 13 percent.
  • Similar to device installs, the revenue shares were also more spread across the new genres. Ten out of the 18 genres showed a share of less than 5 percent.
  • While most apps (more than 60 percent) continued within the casual genre, the most popular genre to switch to was family.

(Source: Distimo)

"Switching from the old selection of only six game genres to an expanded list of 18 more detailed genres definitely adds a benefit to both Google Play developers and also the users," the report said. "Searching for a specific game type has become easier on the one hand, while on the other hand, visibility has increased for apps that might have been buried under more successful apps in a broader, more general category."

Although Google doesn't tend to go to great length to explain these kinds of decisions, it's possible that refining its app store categories is a way to assist discoverability--not just for developers but for Android device owners. It makes a lot of sense, since "casual" was beginning to look so broad as to have little real meaning.

With a potential difference in terms of revenue share as a result of the changes, developers may now want to rethink the way they market and promote their apps and games to capitalize on the new ways Google is defining the interests of Android users. 

For more:
- download the Distimo report here

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