According to Newzoo, the top 100 countries in the world by game revenue includes:

  • 1.7 billion gamers
  • $81.5 billion in revenue for 2014 this year
  • The US is the top country for game revenue in 2014 at $20.5 billion
  • Japan monetizes the most per person online at $120.20

I ran the numbers differently than they did. You can see the ranks of game revenue by country on the left, but I chose to look at it differently. I divided the revenue by the online population of each country. This gave me the RPPO (Revenue Per Person Online) – since I figure this is a good gauge of technology and that these people are also likely playing on mobile devices. Then I ran the ARPD (Average Revenue Per Day) based on that number divided by 365. It results in some interesting data.

For me, this is most interesting for geographic (soft) launches of mobile games. If we can look at how a game monetizes in specific country or two, we can make a more educated guess about how it might monetize given the propensity to spend per country. Of course it isn’t flawless, but it sure does give an interesting set of benchmarks to measure against. Here’s the full list.

RANK COUNTRY POP INTERNET POP REVENUE RPPO ARPD
3 Japan 126,999,808 101,663,346  $       12,219,552,000  $    120.20  $    0.3293
6 Korea 49,512,026 42,629,854  $         3,356,202,000  $      78.73  $    0.2157
1 USA 322,583,006 274,292,330  $       20,484,628,000  $      74.68  $    0.2046
5 United Kingdom 63,489,234 55,476,893  $         3,426,259,000  $      61.76  $    0.1692
13 Australia 23,630,169 20,806,364  $         1,143,044,000  $      54.94  $    0.1505
8 Canada 35,524,732 31,890,552  $         1,717,991,000  $      53.87  $    0.1476
4 Germany 82,652,256 71,080,940  $         3,528,196,000  $      49.64  $    0.1360
20 Switzerland 8,157,896 6,950,527  $            325,731,000  $      46.86  $    0.1284
7 France 64,641,279 56,237,913  $         2,608,818,000  $      46.39  $    0.1271
30 Ireland 4,677,340 3,899,031  $            179,576,000  $      46.06  $    0.1262
25 Norway 5,091,924 4,888,247  $            223,430,000  $      45.71  $    0.1252
21 Austria 8,526,429 7,111,042  $            310,340,000  $      43.64  $    0.1196
9 Italy 61,070,224 36,886,415  $         1,514,067,000  $      41.05  $    0.1125
19 Sweden 9,631,261 9,053,385  $            370,406,000  $      40.91  $    0.1121
88 Iceland 333,135 323,141  $              13,121,000  $      40.60  $    0.1112
71 Luxembourg 536,761 505,736  $              20,535,000  $      40.60  $    0.1112
26 Denmark 5,640,184 5,470,978  $            221,460,000  $      40.48  $    0.1109
29 Finland 5,443,497 5,096,746  $            205,745,000  $      40.37  $    0.1106
10 Spain 47,066,402 37,370,723  $         1,489,366,000  $      39.85  $    0.1092
34 New Zealand 4,551,349 4,164,939  $            140,004,000  $      33.61  $    0.0921
15 Taiwan 23,532,713 19,292,118  $            643,417,000  $      33.35  $    0.0914
97 Malta 430,146 307,812  $                9,872,000  $      32.07  $    0.0879
22 Belgium 11,144,420 9,807,090  $            293,560,000  $      29.93  $    0.0820
17 Netherlands 16,802,463 15,861,525  $            433,195,000  $      27.31  $    0.0748
27 Portugal 10,610,304 7,983,193  $            214,519,000  $      26.87  $    0.0736
2 China 1,393,783,836 701,073,270  $       17,866,677,000  $      25.48  $    0.0698
46 Singapore 5,517,102 4,378,372  $              81,606,000  $      18.64  $    0.0511
14 Mexico 123,799,215 56,130,564  $         1,006,072,000  $      17.92  $    0.0491
92 Cyprus 1,153,058 779,928  $              11,722,000  $      15.03  $    0.0412
67 Slovenia 2,075,592 1,494,426  $              21,206,000  $      14.19  $    0.0389
40 Czech Republic 10,740,468 8,491,414  $            117,774,000  $      13.87  $    0.0380
83 Estonia 1,283,771 1,078,368  $              14,508,000  $      13.45  $    0.0369
50 Hong Kong 7,259,569 5,372,081  $              70,797,000  $      13.18  $    0.0361
12 Russian 142,467,651 88,059,255  $         1,143,197,000  $      12.98  $    0.0356
53 Slovakia 5,454,154 4,830,199  $              60,760,000  $      12.58  $    0.0345
65 Qatar 2,267,916 2,084,215  $              25,549,000  $      12.26  $    0.0336
64 Lithuania 3,008,287 2,223,124  $              27,068,000  $      12.18  $    0.0334
49 Greece 11,128,404 6,899,610  $              79,699,000  $      11.55  $    0.0316
11 Brazil 202,033,670 118,593,764  $         1,339,375,000  $      11.29  $    0.0309
69 Panama 3,926,017 1,970,861  $              20,980,000  $      10.65  $    0.0292
48 Hungary 9,933,173 7,549,211  $              80,322,000  $      10.64  $    0.0292
23 Poland 38,220,543 26,372,175  $            279,656,000  $      10.60  $    0.0291
18 Turkey 75,837,020 37,349,732  $            375,039,000  $      10.04  $    0.0275
80 Latvia 2,041,111 1,605,130  $              15,915,000  $        9.92  $    0.0272
36 Chile 17,772,871 13,789,971  $            132,225,000  $        9.59  $    0.0263
63 Croatia 4,272,044 2,978,469  $              28,209,000  $        9.47  $    0.0259
55 Belarus 9,307,609 5,511,966  $              51,472,000  $        9.34  $    0.0256
38 Romania 21,640,168 13,196,174  $            122,354,000  $        9.27  $    0.0254
58 Bulgaria 7,167,998 4,548,095  $              41,977,000  $        9.23  $    0.0253
73 Uruguay 3,418,694 2,137,709  $              19,473,000  $        9.11  $    0.0250
24 Argentina 41,803,125 27,004,819  $            243,946,000  $        9.03  $    0.0247
86 TFYR Macedonia 2,108,434 1,572,892  $              13,238,000  $        8.42  $    0.0231
57 Serbia 9,468,378 5,586,343  $              46,297,000  $        8.29  $    0.0227
56 Israel 7,822,107 6,323,391  $              47,912,000  $        7.58  $    0.0208
33 Saudi Arabia 29,369,428 19,677,517  $            143,522,000  $        7.29  $    0.0200
99 Bahrain 1,344,111 1,236,582  $                8,872,000  $        7.17  $    0.0197
72 Costa Rica 4,937,755 2,876,736  $              20,216,000  $        7.03  $    0.0193
52 United Arab Emirates 9,445,624 8,973,343  $              62,819,000  $        7.00  $    0.0192
43 Peru 30,769,077 13,107,627  $              88,903,000  $        6.78  $    0.0186
82 Puerto Rico 3,683,601 2,144,961  $              14,535,000  $        6.78  $    0.0186
28 Colombia 48,929,706 31,589,018  $            209,041,000  $        6.62  $    0.0181
70 Oman 3,926,492 3,121,561  $              20,618,000  $        6.61  $    0.0181
74 Kuwait 3,479,371 2,963,728  $              18,644,000  $        6.29  $    0.0172
90 Albania 3,185,413 2,048,858  $              12,481,000  $        6.09  $    0.0167
39 Ukraine 44,941,303 19,630,361  $            118,604,000  $        6.04  $    0.0166
59 Ecuador 15,982,551 6,806,968  $              40,869,000  $        6.00  $    0.0164
42 Venezuela 30,851,343 15,953,229  $              89,000,000  $        5.58  $    0.0153
93 Libya 6,253,452 1,974,840  $              10,981,000  $        5.56  $    0.0152
81 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,824,746 2,857,850  $              15,627,000  $        5.47  $    0.0150
60 Dominican Republic 10,528,954 6,089,947  $              33,063,000  $        5.43  $    0.0149
98 Jamaica 2,798,837 1,749,553  $                9,327,000  $        5.33  $    0.0146
78 Lebanon 4,965,914 3,749,265  $              16,933,000  $        4.52  $    0.0124
95 Paraguay 6,917,579 2,313,238  $              10,200,000  $        4.41  $    0.0121
96 El Salvador 6,383,752 2,470,512  $              10,043,000  $        4.07  $    0.0111
87 Cuba 11,258,597 3,429,369  $              13,208,000  $        3.85  $    0.0106
45 Malaysia 30,187,896 22,520,170  $              81,861,000  $        3.64  $    0.0100
91 Guatemala 15,859,714 3,711,173  $              12,433,000  $        3.35  $    0.0092
62 Kazakhstan 16,606,878 9,758,202  $              30,491,000  $        3.12  $    0.0086
44 South Africa 53,139,528 28,179,892  $              85,101,000  $        3.02  $    0.0083
84 Bolivia 10,847,664 4,617,851  $              13,622,000  $        2.95  $    0.0081
51 Thailand 67,222,972 21,578,574  $              63,628,000  $        2.95  $    0.0081
35 Vietnam 92,547,959 44,728,429  $            131,242,000  $        2.93  $    0.0080
76 Syrian Arab Republic 21,986,615 6,134,266  $              17,524,000  $        2.86  $    0.0078
47 Iran 78,470,222 28,249,280  $              80,384,000  $        2.85  $    0.0078
37 Egypt 83,386,739 43,819,731  $            122,434,000  $        2.79  $    0.0077
79 Azerbaijan 9,514,887 5,956,319  $              16,110,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
54 Morocco 33,492,909 19,760,816  $              53,322,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
32 Indonesia 252,812,245 54,405,195  $            146,684,000  $        2.70  $    0.0074
16 India 1,267,401,849 223,062,725  $            582,853,000  $        2.61  $    0.0072
85 Tunisia 11,116,899 5,127,114  $              13,302,000  $        2.59  $    0.0071
75 Algeria 39,928,947 7,063,431  $              17,836,000  $        2.53  $    0.0069
41 Philippines 100,096,496 48,526,781  $            115,611,000  $        2.38  $    0.0065
94 Angola 22,137,261 4,706,382  $              10,667,000  $        2.27  $    0.0062
31 Nigeria 178,516,904 74,584,362  $            152,824,000  $        2.05  $    0.0056
100 Sri Lanka 21,445,775 5,333,564  $                8,857,000  $        1.66  $    0.0045
66 Uzbekistan 29,324,920 14,416,131  $              21,900,000  $        1.52  $    0.0042
61 Pakistan 185,132,926 21,993,792  $              30,505,000  $        1.39  $    0.0038
89 Sudan 38,764,090 9,691,023  $              12,692,000  $        1.31  $    0.0036
77 Bangladesh 158,512,570 14,107,619  $              17,555,000  $        1.24  $    0.0034
68 Kenya 45,545,980 18,355,030  $              21,151,000  $        1.15  $    0.0032

I was looking for some data on Cost Per Install (CPI) for games in Japan and a friend of mine who runs a large studio there sent me this link, a blog post by InMobi that I missed in January. It basically sets out the relative cost of mobile installs worldwide. While it isn’t exclusive to games, we can use it to decipher regional costs. To get started, I went over to one of my favorite CPI sites, MobPartner, to check out their scrolling list of live CPI transactions. If you like to watch CPI bidding, it’s the best place to watch the action. Here are a couple pics to illustrate the CPIs today:

CCSE4KE4K UK

As you can see, Empire: Four Kingdoms is buying a lot of installs and they are ranging in the U.S. between $1.90 and $2.40 and hitting $3.05 in the U.K. I would guess the higher priced acquisition in the U.S. is on a better performing network, or more proven ad channel that provides players that either convert a bit higher, or have a higher Lifetime Value (LTV). You need to balance cost with volume in any acquisition campaign, but that’s probably obvious.

So now let’s dig into the InMobi data. We know that their numbers are not just games, so we need to create a reference point.

U.K. 174 $3.31 3.05
U.S. 100 $1.90 $1.75
       
160.5      

The 174 is a number from InMobi on the relative cost per install in the U.K. related to the U.S. Since we know what Goodgame Studios is paying for their users we know the numbers in bold to be true. The InMobi numbers don’t quite match up yet. The difference is 160.5 instead of 174, which is roughly 92.2 percent of the difference. I broke down the numbers with the Relative CPI (R CPI), the Adjusted Relative CPI (AR CPI) and came up with the Actual Game CPI (AG CPI) below. It looks about right to me in terms of acquisition costs. I hope it’s helpful for you too.

Country R CPI AR CPI AG CPI
U.K. 174 160  $  3.05
Australia 127 117  $  2.22
U.S. 100 92  $  1.90
New Zealand 95 88  $  1.66
Malaysia 87 80  $  1.52
South Korea 84 77  $  1.47
Vietnam 84 77  $  1.47
Japan 81 75  $  1.42
Hong Kong 77 71  $  1.35
France 75 69  $  1.31
Singapore 71 65  $  1.24
China 60 55  $  1.05
Germany 56 52  $  0.98
India 40 37  $  0.70

 

 

 

According to the Interactive Skills Integration Scheme (ISIS), which is funded by Australia’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia has:

  • 931 full-time developers
  • 126 studios around the country

This is a major decline from 2008 when the country had more than 2,000 game developers working in the industry. ISIS project director Justin Brow attributed part of the decline to the work for hire market drying up and projects going internal at most of the publishers.

The country had focused on very few original IPs on console platforms, but has had success on iPhone with Firemint and Half Brick leading the pack.

Countries looking to get their fair share of the market need to consider a few things:

1) If you compete on price for work-for-hire projects, it should be a transitional period to build skill sets and experience towards developing original IPs. Most countries have rising labor costs as skills are acquired and experience gained among the workforce. This advantage is lost as the next country competes on price as it builds its workers’ skills.

2) Canada, with its tax incentive programs, is the #1 competitor to all countries with a trained and skilled workforce in the creative media industries. When the price is subsidized and the geographical location is more favorable, it’s impossible to compete. You can’t move geographically, but you can subsidize a worthwhile industry that will bring in tax revenues in excess of the incentives. The long-term training of the indigenous workforce is also a major benefit of these programs.

3) The barrier to creating a game and commercializing it is almost non-existent today. The barriers to getting a wide audience are making a quality game and finding the channels for distribution and awareness building. Marketing tends to be a black art among many developers, but it really needs to be a consideration early in the development process. Governments can support their creative industries by providing training on marketing and distribution, as well as general business administration and economics skills. These are essential for any business and don’t have to be industry specific.

4) A healthy games industry means more skilled knowledge workers which boosts tax revenues and average household income. These reflect positively upon a government when it is creating and supporting higher paid jobs and building a larger tax base. The most successful example of this is of course Canada. Everyone should follow Canada’s lead to some degree.

The Canadian province of Ontario just announced new tax credits and incentives that will make developing game in the region even more attractive. Details include:

Increasing the digital media tax credit for large game developers from 25% to 40% for original IP development

The tax credit was also raised to 35% for studios doing work-for-hire projects for international clients.

Ontario will also allow game developers that spend more than$1 million per year on labor costs in the province to benefit from a new 35% Ontario interactive digital media tax credit.

All of this makes development in Canada more attractive and will likely mean less projects going to Australia and Europe unless similar incentives can be added in those regions.