Mobile gaming is a dominating market, and people are starting to take notice.
In the first quarter of 2014, gaming made up 40% of all mobile app downloads, but 74% of mobile app revenue. Mobile usage as a whole grew fivefold in four years, reaching about 20% of media consumption in 2013. Mobile gaming is big… but what kind of gaming reigns supreme?
In a study, the San Francisco-based Flurry examined different genres of games over a 90-day period. The study examined how often players used the game per week and what percentage of players were retained during the 90 days.
The genres with the strongest game loyalty are Management/Simulation, Social Turn-Based, and Slots style games. These games keep the player logging in daily, and engaged over the course of several months.
Strategy games have a smaller group of core users who log in religiously. Endless, Casino/Poker, and Solitaire games have stronger retention rates, but do not have as much weekly interaction with players. Games that are Card-Battle or Action/Adventure, on average, have less weekly interaction and do not retain game loyalty for long.
What makes some genres of games inspire such player loyalty? Game developers have analyzed consumer habits to become experts at optimizing games for loyalty. There are many approaches developers use, but one of the most successful strategies is making games more social.
Nearly every game to reach household name status in app stores in the past two years has had a social component to it. Sometimes the social component is small, but other times it is the main attraction of the game.
Can’t seem to beat that level in Candy Crush, but don’t want to wait for your lives to regenerate? Hop onto Facebook and ask your friends to help you. The developer’s perks in allowing this sort of “cheat” is obvious: free targeted advertising and brand promotion to new customers, and brand reminders to current and old customers.
PvP used to mean beating your little brother in Super Mario or Street Fighter. Nowadays, it is any game that pits player against player, like Words with Friends or Draw Something.
Abbreviated to MMO, these multiplayer games are commonly used in reference to console and computer-based games like Everquest or World of Warcraft. MMOs allow all gamers to play with everyone, at once, in a single shared world. Players can go it alone, but usually find safety in numbers by forming alliances or joining guilds.
Social games are growing, and MMOs are a market with huge untapped potential. Mobile MMOs are an evolving genre, with super successful heavyweights like Clash of Clans and Game of War Fire Age bringing credibility to the idea of investing in the graphics and servers able to support thousands of players at once. Chatrooms and private messaging promote socializing, and create a sense of camaraderie – providing another reason to log back on frequently.
In a comparison between single player and communal gameplay, games that utilize both PvP and PvE styles of gameplay have an average revenue per user that is nearly six times higher than games that are PvP alone, and twelve times higher than single player.
The trend is unmistakable: gaming is integrating both social and mobile aspects to be successful. Game creators would be wise to use these tools to their advantage.
Zco Corporation is a custom software company with headquarters in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA specializing in mobile app development, enterprise software, and 3D animation.
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