8 Tips for Developing a Successful Mobile Game
Long gone are days when all one needed to launch a successful mobile game was to build it to perfection, submit it to the Appstore, and let users do the rest. Today’s competition is so tough, 80% of apps are ‘Zombies’, never seen by users at all, and 22% of game apps are withdrawn as unprofitable. Learn the 8 mobile game success tips that work.
What’s success and what’s not in gamedev industry
If you want to develop a success strategy, it first makes sense to define what a mobile game success means.
A high App Store position, for example, is a misleading indicator. The ranking position doesn’t matter if the game fails to make money. Unless you have social or charitable objectives in mind, a game has to bring profit, or it's not successful in its economic sense.
Similarly, short-term popularity is more of a trap rather than a success indicator. Plenty of skillful developers put their heart and soul into developing an amusing game to only experience a ‘shark tail’ effect - a sharp rise and fall in popularity upon launch. Only a game that manages to keep users engaged in the long run is truly successful.
So, a mobile game is considered successful if it makes money and boasts long lifetime. That means a modern success is defined by combined efforts of game studio developers and marketing professionals. Let’s have a closer look into both of them.
Building a mobile game
In terms of building a successful mobile game, there are several success patterns:
- 1. Simplicity
It’s important that users can intuitively understand how to play and get engaged within seconds. Having overcome these initial challenges, people are more open to more complex thinking and analyzing tasks, but the first on-boarding steps should be easy.
- 2. Design
Never grudge money on good UX and UI. Any gaming experience is highly visual in the first place. Today, the market is flooded with poorly designed mobile games. A polished game with eye-pleasing graphics has a good chance to stand out and appeal to players.
Minimalism has become a good rule of thumb in recent years. Very few mobile games opt for complexity and win. The reality is such that players are more likely to forgive you a so-so game plot, rather than design abuse.
- 3. Continuity
The launch of a game is just the beginning, not the end of the process. Make sure the game is constantly evolving by getting new updates and extensions. To keep a mobile game fresh and motivate customers to come back, develop new features, content and add characters or levels.
By recent estimates, nearly 40% to 50% of apps get deleted within 45 seconds of being downloaded. Good design is likely to buy your app some extra time.
Wondering where to start from? Pick several high-ranking mobile games and study their UX and UI in detail: from how basic elements and icons are arranged to payment methods to contact forms. Yet, remember to bring something unique to your game as well.
- 4. Urgency
Give up attempts to develop game perfectly before launch. Time is a valuable asset, so build a prototype, introduce it to the world, and gather feedback from actual game players. In most cases, your expectations will fall short of reality. By going public early on you will be able to make updates, plot alterations, add levels, remove features, etc. based on real demand.
Marketing of a Mobile Game
- 1. Elaborate on your brand’s objectives and determine key performance indicators early on. Without a clear vision of why the game is being developed, it is doomed for poor performance upon launch.
- 2. Plan promotion campaign well ahead. Don’t count on a game taking off and going viral naturally, for the simple reason it offers social game tricks. Good marketing efforts are needed to initiate a viral wave. Gather a sufficient group of players at launch, and do some cross-promotion to drive a first pool of players. For user retention, keep the game evolving, introduce new characters, features or levels, and introduce top players’ board to keep users’ interest.
- 3. Set and measure custom KPIs relevant to your game and test constantly to see if those KPIs can be increased. A lot of mobile game development companies narrow themselves by focusing solely on the most widespread KPIs, such as DAU/MAU, or Average Session Length, thus missing valuable insights of minor details. Major KPIs are only able to give a general overview of how the game is doing, but fail to offer a guide to action as to which specific changes can boost the game’s performance. Having set custom KPIs, it makes sense to research what impact various user segments have on them. Different KPIs are affected by some user groups more than the other.
- 4. Search for new markets. Localization of a mobile game makes worldwide distribution affordable and effective. The faster you reach to the international game community, the more chances for success your game gets.
A smart combination of game development mastery and solid marketing skills is the success formula for developing mobile games these days. Check if it can do the magic for your mobile game as well.