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Download race: Google Play Store downloads are about even with the App Store

GooglePlayLogo-01Six months ago, Google Play was making a fourth of the revenue as Apple’s iOS App Store. Now? After a 25 percent boost over last quarter, it’s nearly cut that figure in half, and is just about neck-and-neck on downloads.

It’s not like Apple’s slumping – despite a momentary slip in the market this morning, its business has been in a perpetual state of growth since the launch of the first-gen iPod. The issue here is Google Play, and how much faster it’s growing right now than the App Store. It grew 311 percent between last January and October alone, and then grew another 90 percent between then and now, reports App Annie

Interestingly, while the App Store is led in both downloads and revenue by the U.S., Japan and South Korea lead Google Play’s revenue, with the U.S. in third place. Also, while it leads in revenue, Japan is sitting in fifth on Google Play’s top countries by downloads.

This might be chalked up, at least in part, to the huge number of free or very cheap games available on Google Play – especially when the service’s games make up 40 percent of its downloads and 80 percent of its revenue.

The steps forward in mobile gaming over the last year have been impressive on their own, both in terms of ingenuity and raw processing power. At the end of the day, though, it’s a business, and business is a’ boomin’ – digital game sales alone made up an astounding $875 million, up $157 million from February. With that kind of growth, you can expect mobile gaming to be a billion-dollar-a-month industry within the next few months, or weeks. Whether or not the business model can sustain those kinds of figures is still uncertain, but given the gaming industry’s economic resilience over the last few years, it’s a pretty safe bet.