The news that Line — a messaging and communications application based in Japan — is the world’s most profitable non-game app has struck a chord with app developers and those in communications tech worldwide. Line is comparable to Skype in that it provides free messaging and voice calls, but it climbed to the number one spot on the world’s list of top-earning apps outside of gaming. Its topping of the charts indicates the massive revenue still to be made across mobile messaging apps that have become the silent cash cows of the app arena.
Although Line is based in Japan, it is available in over 200 countries, and signed up over 260 million users within the two years since its launch. The App Annie index — a global report that tracks mobile app revenue and usage — reported that Line was the top-earning non-game app of 2013. As already-popular apps like Twitter and Facebook sweat to make money (although Facebook’s recent quarterly earnings were the first heartening ones for investors in some time), Line is raking in the dough. App Annie’s index reported such:
LINE has held top spot in the Google Play publisher revenue rankings in the Apps Index since April 2013. In December, they went one better by taking top spot for publisher revenue in both Google Play and the iOS App Store. This ended a phenomenal run for Pandora, who held the top position in the iOS App Store since April 2013.
The market for messaging applications is still thriving, and likely will be so for many years as mobile device saturation continues to proliferate around the globe. Indeed, a mobile messaging app out of the Philippines seeks to enter the highly competitive arena: Babble Messenger is a product of Voyager Innovations, and has one-on-one chat as well as group chat features available much in the same vein as Line and other successful applications. Whether or not up-and-coming messaging apps can survive in a world dominated by the entrenched ones remains to be seen.