The Mobile Gaming Mavens on discovery in the digital age
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Dave Vout | 20:48 - 17 October 2013
Outside of paying for users it's all about two things, being featured front page of the store, for example on iOS 'what we are playing' AND a great game as mentioned above. I'm not sure I agree about going the paid route without a lot of luck the game will just die. We've been lucky enough to have been featured a few times both paid and free and in different sections and if you are featured with a paid app the numbers are so, so, so much smaller than free, ok so half the free downloads won't ever open the app but that's still a huge difference...then if you have a great game that's 'sticky' with good social features you're off and running, we've not done this well enough to date but we have experienced some of it, indeed even having a 'get more games' button resulted in a sharp climb in downloads of all the free games in our more games page.
Our games are very niche but we still have seen enough evidence that if you get the game right, the social elements right, good monetisation AND a front page feature you have a chance of that top spot.
Kevin Corti | 16:58 - 14 October 2013
Right now, the app stores don't properly correlate game quality with consumer visibility and are massively influenced - not by a broad variety of marketing approaches - but simply by expensive advertising. Ad costs are expensive and on the increase because ad spending is growing faster than the available space to display them. Credit card, health insurance and car companies can afford a much greater ACPU than any f2p game publisher!
I agree with Harry that having a good game is the core requirement - marketing cant turn a turkey into a success - but there are many good developers out there that are capable of creating and delivering good games but which are not necessarily structured or geared up to make the kinds of returns (by size and %) that would warrant external investment be that on an equity basis or via a publishing deal. Therefore they cant get visibility and don't get revenue.
I don't believe that this means consumers will miss out on the next Clash of Clans but I do believe it will rob them off experiencing tonnes of smaller-scale but still very worthwhile and enjoyable games experiences if discovery does not come from some other viable route.
Phil M | 13:22 - 14 October 2013
Great article, lots of very pertinent information. My 2 cents.
One major change would be if the platform holders stopped paid installs somehow, it might not change things in the short term as the games at the tops of the charts probably have so much cash in reserve now that they can use it to buy "normal" advertising to sustain their position, but it would have a big impact down the line.
"What you need in that instance is more money to spend on development, to buy you the time and expertise to refine the game until it does work."
So publishers are happy to put money into helping developing games then? it appears to me they prefer to sit on the sidelines, wait for the game to show that it's successful and then jump in, right at the point where the developer doesn't need the publishers funds anymore.
"However, you are cutting off a vastly larger audience who simply won't take the risk on paying upfront. You also cap the long term willingness for the players you get to spend money (in most cases)."
Exactly, I think it's easier for perhaps an older generation (myself included) to forget that the audience for games has changed over the last 10 years, whereas games used to have a more "like it or lump it" attitude towards their audience, now it's very much a buffet approach, overall in the market and even inside the games themselves when it comes to available paid content. Players expect to be able to play the game for free, to see if they like it, to see if it's worth their time, to see if it's fun, but all of that before parting with any money, that's the reality of the situation.
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