Why alternative app stores and emerging markets are good for developers

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With huge mobile game revenues on iOS and Android, it isn’t second nature to think about alternatives. But Ravi Belwal, head strategic partner manager for games at Samsung, reminded us that developers can make money with alternative app stores and emerging markets.

Belwal is a walking contradiction, as he works at Samsung, one of the biggest mobile device companies in the world, and yet he is also an advocate for its Samsung Galaxy Apps Store, which is far smaller than Apple’s App Store and Google Play. He’s also an evangelist for Tizen, Samsung’s mobile operating system that is debuting on inexpensive smartphones in countries such as India.

While those markets aren’t generating a lot of revenue now, they are exploding in terms of user growth, and they have huge potential for the future, Belwal said. Samsung recently said that its Galaxy App Store has 24 million monthly active users, compared to 6 million in 2015.

Belwal noted that big games such as Temple Run have made it into the Indian market. Such games haven’t generated a lot of revenue yet. But the outlook is promising. Belwal noted that Moonfrog Games, led by game developer Mark Skaggs, co-creator of FarmVille, had big success in India with the launch of Baahubali: The Game, which was based on a popular India movie series by director S.S. Rajamouli.

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That’s why Belwal considers India to be a “sleeping giant.”

Over time, Belwal said Samsung wants to increase its traffic from 24 million MAU to 50 million and it also wants to improve its revenues.

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