Article Courtesy of Goodgame Studios PR Hamburg, 8 January, 2015
Goodgame Studios, the leading developer of gaming software, today laid out what it considers the main trends and challenges for the mobile gaming industry in 2016.
The company entered the mobile market with the MMO building and strategy game Empire: Four Kingdoms, the world’s most successful German-made app since 2013, and is currently producing a multitude of mobile titles from various genres such as puzzle and simulation. Patrik Wilkens, renowned industry expert and product manager for the mobile version of Goodgame Studios’ upcoming match-3-game, shares his predictions for the mobile gaming industry in the coming year.
“Mobile is no longer an option for publishers, but a necessity. The market is evolving very quickly, with only a handful of big publishers hitting the lists of top titles and smaller studios having to get really innovative to stand a chance. It will be very exciting to see what they come up with,” said Patrik Wilkens.
In order to stand out in a crowded market, publishers will continue to customise their games to target various demographics, which opens the door to new players and will also foster the creation of new, innovative game genres.
“We are currently working on a new puzzle game. Since the genre attracts a large proportion of female gamers we have emphasized a USP of highly relatable and interactive cute creatures that will help the player solve puzzles while appealing to their emotional intelligence,” said Patrik Wilkens.
As Cost Per Install will continue to increase with big brands spending more on mobile campaigns, studios will need to continue investing in advanced marketing methods to better target their users. An example for this is “deep linking”, which allows to link to specific contents within an app. For instance, a user can be asked to invite his friends to play the game using a specific link, in return for which he will receive an in-game reward. Upon opening the link, the friend will be lead to a welcome screen within the app that is tailor-made for him. Another ongoing challenge for publishers will be to keep users in their ecosystem and have them try out another game in their portfolio instead of churning out of reach. For example, as cross platform gaming is becoming more popular, cross-channel marketing strategies are also gaining significance.
“User acquisition will be tough for smaller developers and presumably fewer games will make it past soft-launch stage. I think that the key to success here is to not only focus on a low CPI, but on getting quality users and to analyse thoroughly in order to improve KPIs,” said Patrik Wilkens.
Low Impact of VR for Mobile
2016 will see major developments in making Virtual Reality (VR) more accessible and available, however products like Rift from Oculus are behind a payment-wall too high to reach a mainstream audience. Tying VR to mobile will lower the entrance barrier for millions, allowing users to play on a device that they are already familiar with. Companies offering an advanced VR experience will have an easier time to capitalize on the developments in this field.
“I think that this year will be used to show that VR is a viable business model, but that it will still take some time until mature products and the best monetization strategies will have been developed,” said Patrik Wilkens.
Limited Potential of E-Sports for Mobile
In comparison to e-sports on PC, mobile versions of the games are not met with the same recognition. Although the audience for e-sports on mobile will continue to grow, the majority is following PC and console games, where revenues will also carry on increasing. Further considering the limits of touchscreen for e-sports, in contrast to the complexity of PC, it is likely that brands will continue to invest in that segment.
“Generally speaking, before e-sports can compete on mobile, input methods need to allow for skill gaming, studios need to take the risks of longer and more expensive development cycles, and audience on PC has to saturate,” said Patrik Wilkens.
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