Apple and Epic, Huawei, Tencent games are each other, behind the App Store is no longer strong

This year the app store has suffered a lot of doubts, and the incidents have become bigger.

Earlier, "Yuan Shen" announced that it would not be online in the app stores of mainstream mobile phone manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi. Later, Epic hardened Apple and Google, trying to skip the platform fee mechanism, and finally ended up being kicked out of the app store by Apple and Google.

▲ Picture from: Gamerant

In early 2021, Huawei and Tencent also experienced a mutual pinch, the reason for which ultimately pointed to a discord between the platform and the game developer.

Why is the sharing mechanism that has lasted for nearly 10 years been questioned by more and more developers? Is the problem of app stores just about splitting? After experiencing six different mainstream app stores, I found a lot of clues.

App stores, more and more like

Discussing the app store will inevitably involve different camps. Compared with the closed and unified iOS ecosystem, the open-source Android ecosystem and the absence of domestic Google services, various application stores emerge in an endless stream, the most mainstream of which is operated by domestic mobile phone manufacturers.

For this reason, we found the app stores of the four major mobile phone manufacturers of OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, and Huawei, and compared them with Google Play and App Store to see the differences between them and try to find out the problem.

▲ From left to right are vivo, Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi App Store

▲App Store and Google Play Store

An obvious phenomenon is that the app stores of domestic mobile phones are very similar. Most of the columns are arranged like recommendations, apps, games, lists, personal centers, etc. Most apps are arranged in a grid shape. , Relatively crowded.

Although Google Play is divided into different columns, the content layout is similar to that of domestic app stores. It exposes a problem in terms of applications alone. Whether it is the homepage or the ranking page, a large number of applications appearing are high-frequency applications, like shaking There are many well-known applications such as audio, and the homogeneity is serious.

This ranking mechanism is obviously not conducive to the distribution of small and medium-sized apps. There are few emerging high-quality apps that can be found when proactively visiting the store or the level is too deep. Downloading apps often rely on search.

In the process of browsing the app store, I also found a lot of "Shuijun Comments" under the app. The comment texts looked similar, and there were even users with different IDs who posted comments with the same text.

▲ Recommended downloads everywhere

And the way some of the app stores "recommend apps" and games is also easy to be offensive. First of all, it is the on-screen advertisement. During my experience, many times I clicked on the app store and waited for an advertisement. But the built-in application of the system.

The pre-installed applications and recommended applications in the application folder on the desktop are just like the moss advertisement in the Internet era. If you want to close it, you will get the system settings to search over and over again.

The reason why mobile phone manufacturers want users to download more applications is very simple. Whether it is pre-installation or game sharing, it is a lot of money, but if it is too urgent to recommend, it looks like an advertisement.

And such an app store, I am afraid that not many users really want to visit. Techcrunch once quoted App Annie's statistics . In 2019, the number of app downloads reached 204 billion, an increase of 6% compared to 2018, but this part of the increase is large Thanks in part to emerging markets such as India and Brazil, the growth rate of the United States has dropped to 5% since 2016.

People are becoming less and less willing to download new applications. Even if mobile phone manufacturers start with 128GB of mobile phone memory, when 256BGB is the norm, super apps such as WeChat and Douyin occupy more and more memory capacity.

In addition, the distribution method of app stores is relatively single, and the form of classification plus rankings has been maintained for many years, and the distribution efficiency has not been improved. Although some manufacturers have tried to introduce article content, editor recommendations, etc. to improve App distribution efficiency , But the entrance is deeper and the problem still exists.

Originally, the quick application should be able to alleviate this part of the problem. In the application stores operated by Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, etc., you can also see the corresponding quick application area. But the problem is the same as the recommendation of content editors, and it is also a deeper entry, and many users do not have high awareness of fast applications, or even know what it is.

▲ Most of the app stores operated by domestic mobile phone manufacturers have a "quick app" area

The distribution efficiency of small and medium-sized applications is low, the repetitiveness is strong, and the navy in the comment system reduces the experience of visiting the application store.

If a few years ago, this might not be a big problem, app stores can gradually improve, but now the impact of new channels on app store distribution is gradually increasing.

New rivals emerge in endlessly

In the article on the confrontation between Epic and Apple and Google, we pointed out that the value of app stores has experienced inflation and depreciation. The value they provide to app and game developers is not as high as before, especially in When facing the impact of new channels.

Not only the App Store, but also the app stores in the Android ecosystem. Taking game content as an example, content communities such as TapTap, Bilibili, Douyin, etc. all have a certain impact on them.

Compared with the app store, TapTap as a game community has better content and community atmosphere. A better experience can naturally attract the likes of people to gather in it, and it is also better to go shopping. In addition, TapTap does not charge game shares. App stores that charge 30% or even 50% are more attractive.

Another point is that for games from different channels, there may be different game content, that is, channel servers. In the previous article, I mentioned that although the same Android phone, the official server downloaded from the official website and downloaded from the app store For the channel server, there may be data interoperability, inconsistent game progress, and even you and your friends cannot play on the same server.

Bilibili is one of the major gathering points of the two-dimensional pan-culture in China. Many two-dimensional related games will be promoted on station B. In addition to the FGO issued by station B, the content related to "Original God" is also It often appears at station B.

Recently, a special incident has occurred. Tencent game brand "Spark More" launched an on-screen advertisement on Douyin. The two are originally in a competitive relationship and there is relatively little game cooperation between them. The launch of this advertisement proves that new channels such as Douyin are still attractive to developers.

36 Krypton once mentioned in a report that Ma Xiaoyi, head of Tencent Games at the end of 2020, mentioned in a meeting that the popular game "Three Kingdoms Strategy Edition" was a strategic success in buying a game, and an important buying channel for this game It is a new channel including Douyin.

Now you can understand why "Yuan Shen" dare not be listed on the app stores operated by mainstream mobile phone manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiaomi. Since you can also get many game users by buying it on Douyin and other channels, why must you take it out? The profit is shared with the app store.

In particular, the profit of this part of the share is not low. In contrast, "Yuan Shen" chose Douyin instead of the app store, which proves that Douyin and other channels can bring a large number of users to the game, and can even compete with the app market. The resulting traffic is relatively resistant.

Of course, there are also reasons why the game itself has its own traffic, which can attract many users.

The absence of Google has led to the rise of third-party app stores like Pea Pod, but mobile phone manufacturers have still grabbed the largest market by virtue of more direct system pre-installation and deep binding with mobile phones.

But now in front of big developers with their own traffic, the app store is depreciating. You can also buy users through Douyin and other channels, but because the user’s shopping experience has not been greatly improved, the distribution efficiency is low, etc., it has also been further reduced Because of its competitiveness, the 30% or even 50% share ratio has been increasingly impacted.

Deal with multilateral relations

Although they are not weak, the status of app stores is indeed declining under the trend of increasingly fierce competition. This is actually forcing app stores to improve their competitiveness and enhance user experience. It must be for developers and ordinary users, and handle multilateral relations.

For software and game developers, app stores must find ways to improve distribution efficiency and increase distribution volume, so that 30% or even 50% of commissions will be recognized; for ordinary users, the experience of software recommendation or shop shopping To be better, don't always disturb users like the fresh cow ads.

In fact, some app stores are working hard in this regard. Apple has adjusted the App Store arrangement several times. The most perceptive thing for ordinary users is the revision of iOS 11 upgrade.

Apple puts content recommendation and editing screening to a higher position. The recommendation page is more eye-catching and the content richness is higher. There are many application topics or editorial recommendation topics, and it is also used to plant grass for users through content. A way to improve the efficiency of application distribution.

After the revision, according to a data report released by Sensor Tower, an application market research organization, the percentage of users acquiring applications through browsing behavior has increased considerably, from 10% in the previous version to more than 15%.

Coincidentally, Huawei recently announced that it will update the European version of the app store, adding a special card to the homepage, and recommending through editorial planning to reflect "local trends and needs." The UI also focuses more on the discovery of applications and games, also to improve distribution efficiency .

Measures to adjust the share ratio have also been implemented. Apple has previously announced a new plan, the App Store Small Business Plan. Starting from January 1, 2021, developers with annual revenues of less than US$1 million will be selected. The proportion dropped from 30% to 15%.

Many domestic app stores also implement corresponding traffic blessings based on app ratings, such as resource location recommendations.

In the foreseeable future, the reform of app stores will continue to improve the efficiency of app distribution. For users, they can access more high-quality apps by visiting the app store. For example, users who love photography can access more interesting apps. Photography application.

When the application store can provide a better experience, users can browse to more suitable high-quality applications, and downloads increase, the friction between developers and application platforms will decrease.

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