The rise of mobile gaming
15 March 2017
Mobile gaming has now surpassed consoles and PC with the highest consumer spend and continues to grow. There are many aspects of mobile gaming that make it so accessible and lucrative. So what can we learn about its success?
Mobile games are now pretty advanced, with detailed graphics, interesting storylines and a captivating game play. They also don’t take long to complete nor do they require great commitment like many video games, and can be played in small breaks.
This is one of the reasons why mobile gaming is so popular, and in some countries, has even become a leading gaming channel. People play on the go to pass the time, while travelling or even watching TV. Developers have added hooks in games that can create a habit of gaming (or gamification) to keep people playing for longer. This means achieving goals or quick wins in a game in a short time, which keeps people engaged and makes them return to reach the next goal.
Gaming companies have realised that gamification really works on mobile and have also started using it to monetise games. For example, you can speed up character upgrades or buy ammunition or coins to progress in the game to reach the next level. Clash of Clans has become one of the most popular games to achieve this.
Gamification has also sieved through to other aspects of our society – many companies implement this method to boost employee efficiency or create brand loyalty for customers through apps. The idea of doing something, spending more to reach the next level (receive a reward or win something) works really well in motivating people and getting them to engage with the company. It’s not a new concept, but works really well on mobile.
Mobile gaming is a lucrative sector and there is a big market for this. Mobile has become another avenue for developers to provide great games and capitalise on this. However, Apple and Google have a tight control over their app stores and have put in place strict guidelines and regulations for developers. It may be harder for new or smaller developers to enter the market without much budget if they want to be as successful as the popular games.
Another caveat is that there are very few games that hit the right note with the users. Some of the biggest and most profitable games are Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, earning millions of downloads and in revenue. However, to successful games like these, there are hundreds of smaller, similar options that are trying to copy their success. Smaller developers may be left unnoticed if their bigger counterparts already own the majority of the gaming market. If the game doesn’t meet the users’ expectations, it will get deleted in no time.
Targeting the right consumers
Mobile phones are always at a hand’s reach for most individuals. People read news, personal messages, engage in social interactions and finance, as well as using mobile for entertainment. This also includes games. In this respect, mobile has become a platform that is very accessible to developers and they can reach their target demographics through such a personal device. Apple and Google provide different analytics that can help app owners target their users. But with a very diverse and competitive market, only those with the biggest budgets or most quality products reach the top. So, it is important to spend some time producing a good and entertaining game that offers something different to the user, but also market it on as many channels as possible.
For example, Candy Crush Saga became very successful shortly after its release. The original game was a browser game, but with the rise in mobile gaming, developers realised the direction they need to take to ensure they didn’t lose their players. It’s become a popular game that is free to play on most levels, but players can make in-app purchases to enhance their game. This is the main revenue for the game’s developer.
Mobile gaming trends
We think, we’ll see a decline in app development, as mobile apps are expensive to produce and maintain. Businesses are concerned about their ROI and need a good enough reason for an app. Despite this, there is still a big market for mobile apps and games, they just need to offer something completely different to what is already out there. Users prefer practical, functional and entertaining apps, but without having much commitment. Simpler goals-based apps work well as they can be easily monetised with in-app purchases.
The UX matters as well, now that consumers are more aware of the good and bad aspects and can be more selective in the types of apps they download. Developers should take example from the most popular apps to learn what makes them so highly regarded - whether it’s the game play, graphics, UX, price or any functionality that attracts the user.