As smartphones have continued to improve, a new niche within the gaming industry has been growing rapidly. Mobile gaming is expected to bring in around $29 billion in 2015 with a prediction to grow to $45 billion by 2018. Many larger console and PC gaming companies are starting to branch out to the mobile app gaming field because of its enormous potential for revenue growth. Here are a few things to think about if you hope to break into the industry.
Your Options for Revenue
Some mobile games must be purchased, but many are free to download and play. Currently, one of the highest grossing mobile games in the app market is available for free, but offers in-app purchases. Offering a game free of charge gives players the ability to test out as many games as they want without being restricted by the cost. Players can then invest as much time and money as they want on the games they enjoy, and remove the ones they don't like without the regret of money wasted.
Most free games follow two different methods for revenue: ads and in-app purchases, which can include booster items or extra lives. Developers can select to use one or both these options for their game. In-app purchases are the more expensive option to incorporate when developing an app, and may scare some customers away. On the other hand, in-game ads can be annoying and sometimes drives users away. Both options have their ups and downs, but if combined properly, they can be incorporated into an app without much of an issue.
Choosing Your Audience
When initially brainstorming and conceptualizing your mobile game, always keep your target audience in mind. With a clear idea of who you want to play this game, you can make the right decisions about your app design, including color palette, background music, and even revenue model. For example, if you are building an app to target a middle school-aged audience, in-game ads would be a more appropriate revenue model than in-app purchases due to this age group's lack of purchase power.
Once you are in the developing stages, continue to focus on your intended audience. If you're aiming for that middle school set, for example, make sure to avoid violence or inappropriate language. But if your target is a young adult in their early 20s, dark humor may be appropriate.
Marketing Your Mobile App
Last but not least is the marketing aspect of your mobile app. You already know who you want to play your game, it is now time to identify where they seek out information. A great place to start is social media such as Facebook and Twitter -- not just via ads, but also with dedicated pages where you can post game updates and interact with fans. For example, you might offer a "booster pack" or an in-game item to the winner of a fan art contest. You'll also want to consider web ads or marketing within other games that have a similar audience to yours. Some game developers even film commercials for TV streaming sites like Hulu.
Regardless of the kind of game you plan to develop, if you want to be successful, the planning stage is critical. Even if you have an idea for a game in mind, if you get started without plans for your audience, marketing and revenue model, you may have to redo countless hours of work. Researching and planning these things might seem boring, but it's a vital ingredient to a successful game, and will save you a lot of wasted time and energy.
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