13 Jul The Future of Mobile Games
Mobile games continues to grow in popularity with an expected industry target of $90 billion by 2020. How will the mobile game companies continue to create a new gaming industry that will generate $90 billion in just the next 3.5-4 years without spending just as much? The rate at which games fall in and out of favor can be exhausting. User boredom and market competition increasingly shorten the lifecycle of a games ability to achieve a healthy return on investment (ROI).
Relying on customers to pay for digital assets while games fall in and out of favor makes continuously producing blockbuster games a must. It is no surprise, those that are able to pay for games are adults, not children. And, unlike games for PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo, parents don’t know what they are buying for their kids when purchasing virtual digital assets. Therefore, mobile freedium games designed for children are more difficult to monetize. But, how many slot and poker games can be made? Gaming companies must become more creative in spite of financial pressures to perform well. Replicating like-kind games to capture marketshare demonstrates a lack of creativity and is a poor long-term strategy. For example, King Digital’s Candy Crush was such a smash hit, Bizzard Activition (ATVI) purchased the company for $5.9 billion. Now, all kind of Candy Crush like games are being launched into the market. It appears none of them are nearly as popular as Candy Crush. Similar to a blockbuster movie, rarely do the sequels do nearly as well.
A completely new business and gaming strategy is required to create better user retention and monetization in a freemium environment.
- If you make a game with killer graphics, don’t ruin it with network advertisements that have games with much less quality graphics. This cheapens your game. Advertise relevant games with like-kind quality, or offer things that actually interest the users of the game.
- Don’t develop like-kind games based on other current popular games. By the time you launch your game, the popularity for that game will be fading. Develop games based on your company’s core competencies. Electronic Arts (EA) and Supercell have regularly demonstrated this approach. Another company that has demonstrated this important discipline is Zynga’s (ZNGA) NaturalMotion, a subsidiary company that has recently launched CSR 2 Racing game. It is unique and its popularity is unprecedented as it already ranks #9 on Top Grossing Games (est. $173,352 per day) & #3 on Top Free Games (est. 137,702 users per day) as of July 12, 2016. With the launch of CSR 2 on June 30th, 2016, NaturalMotion greatly enhanced and improved upon what they do well, car games.
What is the future of mobile games?
I would strongly suggest the future of mobile games is to integrate real-time data such as the stock market, political poles, and current events into the gaming environment. One of my favorite games as a b-school student were business simulators. These games would have been 10 times better if they used actual and real data. Mobile game companies have the opportunity to utilize real data into their games. Integrating live data with social gaming has significant promise. By using live data, greater stickiness is achievable. The user will be engaged more because real people and real data will keep the game continuously fresh. Adding real data will extend the longevity of the game exponentially. The real data automatically makes the game evolve on its own.
To improve monetization, native advertising and real rewards is the future. For example, within a car racing game, car manufactures and car related products are the perfect advertisers. People interested in cars are playing car racing games. Points for redeeming car related promotions makes buying virtual digital assets much more attractive to the user.