The Secret of Making Money in the Mobile Industry

by John Onorato


These days, you’re hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have at least one mobile device in their pocket. Odds are that they have at least one game on that phone, music player, or whatever it might be. True, that game might have been preinstalled – remember the iThings that had Maze, where you would tilt the device around, causing the accelerometer to move the ball through the game?

More often than not, though, games that people have on their devices far transcend the paltry OEM offerings like Maze, Vortex and Klondike, which are Apple’s current out-of-the-box offerings. We use the iTunes Store and the Android Play Store to download better and more popular games. And as phones get more and more powerful, we now have games on those phones that rival offerings on dedicated devices such as the Playstation Vita or the Nintendo WiiU.

Turns out that so many people are playing mobile games these days, it’s beginning to look like the landscape of the living room will soon be changing forever, at least in terms of game consoles changing. Let’s face it: Smartphones and tablets are still changing rapidly, whereas the Xbox One is pretty much just an incremental upgrade from the 360. Same for the PlayStation 4.

And let’s not forget the mobility factor. You take your phone with you wherever you go; your tablet gets tucked in your bag when you dash. At the same time, though, your console is more or less permanently tethered to your television set. That mobility counts for a lot, especially in urban areas, say, on a long commute, where there’s ostensibly nothing to do.

Just don’t get me started on how the rise of mobile technology is contributing to the separation and fracturing of humans who would rather have their noses in a phone, and not making friends with their neighbors. End rant.

Three out of four top money-making iOS apps are games

Interested in where the money is going?  There’s an awful lot of it in mobile gaming.  According to Gartner, a leading information technology research firm, mobile gaming alone is expected to take up at least 20 percent of the market by 2015. Purchases made for mobile platforms are expected to amount to roughly $112 billion by 2015.  And as reported by Flurry Analytics, a leading mobile analysis provider, upwards of 80 percent of all proceeds generated last year by mobile applications were – you guessed it – games. And very recently, of the top 100 money-making iOS apps, more than three out of every four were games.

$112 billion? Really. Better start working on your app now, huh?

And for the largest slice of that pie, get cracking on the next version of Flappy Bird. Because mobile gaming is huge. Huger than huge. You think Texas is big? Texas ain’t got nothin’ on gaming, which overshadows pretty much every other activity. That eclipses activities that might seem to be universal among smartphone owners, like checking email, texting, reading news, or even actually calling people. Gaming is capturing the eyeballs of about 60 percent of tablet owners, as well.

You might think users would be more engaged with friends on Facebook or other social networks, but interestingly, they’re spending more time playing games on their tablets and phones. Perhaps more dramatically said, add up the time that users spend reading books and magazines, listening to music, and watching videos. That time doesn’t even approach, much less equal the total time spent playing games.

Like it or not, we’ve got miniature computers in our pockets and backpacks. Small wonder that they’ve become gaming platforms, as well as being taking on the tasks that they were originally designed for. They just happen to be able to do a lot of other things as well. Sure, we can read news, watch videos, talk to friends, whatever. We’re human, after all, and we just love our games.

Just get working on that Flappy Angry Maze Klondike Bird game if you want your slice of that mobile pie.

What You Can Expect Here

I’ve run blogs a few times before — here, for one, under a different name that I’ll tell you if you’re nice to me.  I have a Facebook page where I do more micro-writing than sharing, too.  Does that even count, though?

I also maintained a page on for a very long time.  I’m not sure why I quit that.  Maybe it got too clique-y, maybe I didn’t have time for it, maybe it was because the Russians bought it.  It would have been then that I felt the rushing water around me and I started wondering why I was in a bloody basket.

You’re welcome to try and find me any of these places.  It shouldn’t be hard.  And if you do, I’d love to know what you think of the old me.

As for what you can expect from this, the new me:  This blog is meant to be a showcase for my writing.  So the things I’ll be putting on here will be:

  • Short stories
  • Essays
  • Poetry (if I can get the formatting right)
  • Articles I’ve written about the:
    • Computer Graphics World
    • Telecommunications Industry
    • Relationships
    • Personal Networking
    • Other things that I might have forgotten
  • And pieces of my memoir project, or how I fared in my life after my traumatic brain injury.

Pictures?  Maybe.  I did those in my last WP journal, but I found them to be a pain in the ass.  And I’ll be honest:  I prefer the purity of text.

Movies?  Not bloody likely.

So if you want a whiz-bang fix … you’re welcome to visit someone else’s blog.  But then again, if you were, you likely wouldn’t have read this far.  So please be welcome here.

And please also feel free to offer comments.  I’m always looking to become a better writer:  He who thinks he knows everything knows nothing at all.

About Me

It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new beginning.  So here’s the spin on me.

My life began when I was hit by the car.

I really don’t remember much of what came before that.  If you’ve ever coated glass with Vaseline and tried to look through it — that’s what my former life looks like to me.  There are a few moments I do recall, holes in the jelly, but those are rare.

Even now, that grease remains.  I don’t miss it much, what came before.  I had a pretty miserable childhood, from what I do remember.

My brain injury was so many years ago.  31, as of two days ago.  Gratefully, or not, depending on how you look at it, I was high-functioning at the time.  The best one in the rehab hospital.  I wanted to get out of there, and they kicked me out two days after I walked my first steps out of the wheelchair.  As if gross motor function was the best indicator of brain activity.  As if.

What else could I do?  I was missing my teenage years — the other kids in high school were drinking, fucking, driving, fighting and having a great time.  Granted, I never fit in very well with them in the first place, but I was learning how to feed myself.  I still needed to get the mashed potatoes in the right hole on a consistent basis.

I worked so hard to get out of that damned rehab hospital.  I wanted to get on with my life.  And it worked.  I got out in four months or so.  But at the same time, I fooled myself.  I thought I could fake being normal (and by that I mean not brain injured).  I also thought that I could do anything.  That was likely teenage hubris talking as well, but still.

When I got home, there were no other survivors to talk to.  There was no community.  There was no post-acute care.  And I was bordering on normal enough at the time.  And I quickly figured out that people didn’t understand, really didn’t care how different I was from them, weren’t interested in what I had gone through, and quite honestly, didn’t want to know the first thing about it in the first place.  People don’t want to learn about how others are different from them.  And they would rather assume that others are just like themselves, and not think too much about making exceptions.

So I decided, albeit unconsciously, to suck it up, ignore my injury, and be as normal as I could.  This mode of thinking I have carried with me for about 24 years.  It’s only been within the last six or seven years that I’ve started to accept my injury and work with it.

Of course, getting fired from 90% of all the jobs I’ve ever had might have had something to do with that realization, too.  But I’m too stubborn for that.

So somehow I got through high school, despite my anger issues, and losing what few friends I had.  I got through college, too, even though I got a severe case of senior-itis about halfway through my sophomore year.  I ended up not getting particularly good marks in either institution.  But my father is an academic.  Education is the only way to go, and I was having difficulty enough finding my shoes in the morning, much less finding my own way in life. So I was only too happy to follow his direction.  This seemed to fly somewhat in the face of the non-advice he gave me earlier, just after I’d gotten out of the rehab hospital. “What do you want from me, Dad?” I’d asked. “What do you want me to make of myself?” I was desperate for assistance, fatherly guidance, a push in the right direction. “You’re alive, son,” he’d said. “That’s enough for me.”

That was very nice and kind, on one level, but it was not at all what I needed, or what I was looking for. It left me feeling hollow and empty inside, and I didn’t know how to tell him that. Dad has always had this way of talking at you, and not really being able to listen to what you’re saying.

Since then, I’ve found that I’m quite capable of getting a job, but I’m not nearly as capable of keeping that job, for a variety of reasons.  So here I am, having a go at doing the freelance writing thing in an effort to keep my family and I afloat whilst I’m waiting for my disability to kick in.

I am no longer high-functioning.  I can’t drive a car.  I can’t shop for my own groceries.  I can’t go into a busy restaurant without tweaking out.  Put me in a big-box store like your local supermarket or Wal-Mart and I’ll be a quivering mass of jelly within 10 minutes.  I have peculiar sensitivities that preclude me from taking entry-level jobs.  If I could get my own office with an environment that I could control, that would be great, but who’s going to do that?  Who’s going to work with me?  So I stay at home and write.  I’m good at writing.  At least I can put that to work.