Mihir Sanchala is assistant vice president, technology at PlayerzPot
The digital gaming industry in the west has been leapfrogging to exceptional advancements. In India, however, it is still a burgeoning space.
As the world entered a pandemic-induced lockdown, users migrated to the digital realm for all intents and purposes. For many, the casual online gaming and fantasy sports segment emerged as the preferred choice of entertainment and, for the first time, the online gaming industry had something to offer to every member of the family in an Indian household.
The focus given to the AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) sector in the Union Budget 2022 is a frank acknowledgement that fostering the growth of India's mobile gaming industry can only lead to great things.
The importance of design
We are in a golden era of the digital gaming industry in India and across the world, and the wide acceptance of casual gaming and fantasy sports has opened up immense opportunities to inculcate innovative technologies. For the creators, and the gamers – casual and hardcore – now is the time to experiment with formats, genres, captivating graphics, and engaging interfaces.
It is also the time when your one game is simultaneously catering to different demographics of gamers. Take for instance, the Ludo phenomenon: at the onset of pandemic, this simple game became the biggest unifier of our times. Locked up in their homes, people felt closer to their families, friends, and well-wishers just by playing a game of Ludo.
In the same vein, as a creator, one needs to expand the potential target audience. Identifying this aspect with research-backed pointers will aid in understanding the core element and the basic concepts of the look and feel of the game. Referring to similar products and analysing the basic component will help to differentiate them with a unique selling proposition.
Fundamentally, the initial design idea should be generated from this research and our understanding of what we want the user to experience.
Ease of app functionality
Avoid ambiguity by providing clear options from which the user can choose, and a seamless flow of these functions will improve the call to action, thus leading to revenue generation.
First up, the login page. This is the first interface with the user, and the more hassle-free the sign-up, the easier to attract users and enhance KPIs. Initially, the prevailing form of verification was through a user’s Google account, whereas now this has shifted to OTP verification. These changes are usually made from insights we get from third-party user research.
On a typical casual gaming and fantasy sports app, after registration, users reach a landing/home page provides the core avenues to various features of the app: starting the game, profile and usability options, etc. Ensuring visibility for your unique propositions, how your game differentiates from others, is important. Also, highlight various categories and rewards on the main screen to reach the users easily.
Provide the best features and utility options is the prime objective of a designer. Providing maximum game time for the user and allowing them to explore their chances of winning, trying out various options of gaming, exploring upcoming events, and thereby staying a loyal user of the application.
Understanding the user
Understanding how to keep the app relevant for users means updates, features, and offers will be better tailored. Keeping a regular track of the user journey will help us to understand the hurdles faced by the user which make them opt-out. Modifying the app to reduce the number of clicks, avoiding waiting time, and increasing their gaming time are a few factors to prioritize while designing an online gaming app. Creating a hassle-free user interface (UI) is a crucial aspect while designing, which also leads to more registrations and new sign-ups into the application.
Providing a wholesome and memorable user experience (UX) is another important responsibility for designers. Retaining gamers through sharp design elements will help them to get the real look and feel of the original game. Designing their game assets and colour combination, which should also connect the application with the user and convey the mood of the game.
Considering diverse users, like how iOS and android users engagement may differ. It is important to define proper design elements suiting their system to ensure smooth navigation through the application.
Revisiting the design components as per user’s behaviour
Design elements are something that visually connects with the user and helps them recall the application. However, updating the design is important to keep the application relevant to the changing scenario, various tournaments, upcoming events, or significant days.
For example, for Indian players, cricket is by far the most popular game, and 85 per cent of users engage in this sport. Therefore, making design shifts during a cricket world cup or an Indial Premier League is important to retain the customer’s enthusiasm and game spirit. This will also give them the feel of being a part of the original tournament while playing it online.
Back to the fundamentals
The future of online gaming looks bright in India. In a highly cluttered market, one must constantly innovate and understand the users’ changing demands to stay at the top of their game. Defining the target audience and understanding their requirements are the basic mechanisms for any gaming organisation to survive.
However, for consistent growth, it is necessary to track the customer journey and evaluate their user satisfaction. When it comes to an online application, an straightforward experience with minimum hindrances will result in more downloads and consistent re-visits, which ensures revenue generation.