The demand for high-quality, addictive HTML5 games is on the rise, but how are game developers keeping up with it? Let’s take a look at some of the significant hurdles faced by game developers in 2020.
As the golden age of smartphones has dawned upon us, the industry of mobile app development has seen some groundbreaking changes. From the maturing of programming languages to modifying the deployment, marketing, and monetizing strategies – the world of mobile games is forever evolving. A quarter of all mobile apps downloaded on Android OS are games, with the global mobile game revenue expected to surpass $102 Billion by the end of 2020.
Apart from being a profitable digital venture, supporting technologies such as augmented reality (AR) has given a significant boost to the industry. Despite seeming like a lucrative venture, the business of mobile game development involves plenty of twists and turns. Right from the point of conceptualizing the idea behind the mobile game to the final delivery and monetizing aspect of it, here’s every challenge mobile game developer must face:
- Targeting the Right Audience
From a developer’s point of view, writing code and developing the mobile app is easy; finding the audience for those apps is the tricky part. The importance of identifying your target audience cannot be understated, whether it is about finding your niche in a segment of gamers or catering to the larger masses.
Performing app analytics is how you get there, by creating user personas and testing how well your mobile game works for them. Tools such as Flurry can help you achieve this feat and tweak aspects of the mobile app to suit your virtual target audience. Additionally, services such as App Annie and Google Trends can be crucial indicators of what demographic is most likely to become your core users.
- Managing User Retention
Getting the initial installs might work with a viral ad campaign, but when you wish to measure your app’s success, it is all about retaining those users. GameAnalytics suggests that a mobile game’s average retention rate is around 35% for less than 15% of all games out there. You cannot expect to make a one-time user a lifelong customer, but you must entice them to stick around long enough.
The age-old issue of user retention can be solved with a combination of surveys and A/B testing and simplifying the user interface of the game itself. The hard truth is you will face thousands of uninstalls every day, but you need to find that sweet spot where the user stays engaged with the app with every passing day, without hitting the Uninstall button before you’ve met your sales requirements.
- Avoiding Feature Creep
The app developer’s mind is plagued by feature creep illness – developing the game so far and extending the project beyond its initial scope. In an attempt to create the masterpiece, developers tend to push the boundaries too far, overcomplicating a game, which eventually either slows down the development process or results in a mobile game that is too complex for the average user.
While there is no easy way to go about this, a tried and tested method to avoid feature creep from taking over is dividing the app into phases. The initial stages must include only the processes and features essential to the users, enabling the marketing team to advertise the core competency of the game first while always leaving room for further development and marketing of the same.
- Optimizing for All Devices
Mobile development has been somewhat streamlined by the duopoly created by Apple and Google through iOS and Android OS. While iOS operates as a limited lineup of devices, Android OS runs billions of devices under the guise of OEM skins and versions. Developing a multi-platform mobile game and optimized for different screen sizes and resolutions is not a simple task to achieve.
Fortunately, mobile development has come a long way and simplified through multi-platform coding platforms such as MoSync, Unity, PhoneGap, etc. Over the years, some of the most popular mobile games have adopted HTML5 as the weapon of choice, and its flexibility has allowed not just the developers but monetization platforms such as AppLixir makes game developers’ lives easy.
- Focusing on the User Experience
Interaction is essential, like a responsive design. The mobile devices available in the current market are loaded with high-tech sensors that offer many opportunities. Developing interactive games is challenging work as it requires next-level creativity, effort, and time, but it is essential to the cause.
The developers must give the best of their efforts to use mobile hardware, such as the screen size, sensors, and gestures, to develop an outstanding user interface. You can add tangible interactive features within the app like shaking, tilting, and flipping, making the app respond as per the phone’s position, environment, and direction.
- Balancing Performance and Battery
Device battery life has to be regarded with utmost sincerity as users don’t want to encounter overheating or overmuch power consumption while using your app. Users who are still running the previous version of Android OS or iOS are often subject to battery life problems. The challenge is usually to design a bug-free, high-performance game that doesn’t gulp excessive power.
Therefore, game developers should always test their app’s battery performance by publishing the Beta version first and checking how the game drains the device battery. Based on the user feedback, developers perform a second check by tweaking the features to ensure the app retains optimal battery performance.
- Dealing with Security Issues
There should always be room for sincerely managing sensitive user data to deliver a more appealing and engaging experience to users with your mobile games. When metrics such as location information and social media handles are in the picture, they qualify any mobile app to face the risk, which may even bar them from qualifying to the App Stores if the security concerns are not met. Developers must take complete ownership and responsibility of the app and develop solutions to resolve such challenges.
For instance, using Encryption when collecting user data can be a great solution in such scenarios and secure the game from unauthorized third-party access, which may have any malicious intent. Implementing a strategic check of all the security challenges and difficulties through a third-party service such as BrainMobi is also recommended.
- Getting the Game Noticed
Mobile game marketing is the key to fostering awareness and visibility for your app in the Play Store and the App Store, which holds, millions of other games in it. Developers need to opt for an extensive marketing and promotion strategy to obtain a heavy response from the target users. However, for developers to jump into the marketer’s role is a big challenge since it requires them to become aware of marketing lingoes such as SEO and ASO principles, along with online affiliate activities.
One of the most straightforward ways to diminish this challenge is to make the game available at an attractive price, along with the Freemium model. Placing the app in an alternative app store such as Amazon App Store, GetJar, 1Mobile , and others can also work, along with cross-promotion to already-successful games on the market.
- Optimizing and Maintenance
The gaming app you are building requires routine maintenance activities for bug fixing, launching upgrades, and improving overall load time. There is also the need to tune up content, external links, database, and the feed.
Opting for end-user development, rolling out a light version of the game, and then let the app grow organically, based on the user’s feedback. Releasing bug fixes regularly, making core improvements, and dealing with small patches over the next few months will consume less time and prove to be less costly if done periodically.
- Monetizing it Right
When it comes down to how you plan to earn from the mobile game, there are plenty of strategies to work with. Some of the common ones include ads, paid subscriptions, in-app purchases, and freemium models too. The data from Statista suggests that 2020 was the golden year for mobile ad spends, crossing the mark of $5 Billion, which shows that users are open to mobile ads, as long as they don’t hinder the user experience.
Since HTML5 is on track to become the face of the mobile gaming industry, partnering up with a service such as AppLixir to incorporate reward video ads is a smart step to take. The impressive success rate of 71% puts reward video ads at the top of the food chain when it comes to successful mobile game monetization, and AppLixir allows you to maximize your payouts.
The greater the demand there is for mobile games, the more competition you’re going to face on the Apple Store and the Play Store. Creating a brilliant mobile game is the initial challenge, but making it a successful one is the real task at hand for any big-name or independent development studio.
While most of the challenges you will face in bringing alive the next viral mobile game is internal, funding the operation is a significant boulder that can crush any innovative venture’s progress. By relying on the monetization value brought in by AppLixir and the reward video ads model it deploys, you can rest assured that further development, support, and your ROI on the mobile game is optimally managed.