The chief editor of the British site pocketgamer.biz, which is dedicated to mobile games industry, at the end of the GDC conference shared his view on what is happening in the global mobile industry and what will happen to it in the nearest future.
1. Money is not important
Many developers now test their games without monetization. They release a beta version, polishe gameplay and carefully look at people’s behavior. And they pay special attention to the training mode (training mode in the game – is crucial to the success of the game).
They think that if the project shows a good metric and it is played – it will not be difficult to implement monetization, and earn money from it. By the way, the wisdom of such an approach was proved by the company NimbleBit (authors Tiny Tower), and Imangi (creators of the Temple Run), which have released the free, but highly profitable projects.
2. Long-term investment
Free-2-Play-projects have been presented in the mobile market during last two years. So a lot of developers have understood already that these games should be designed with the long-term expectation: they start earning after a while.
For clarity, a couple of great examples: one of the highest-grossing games in 2011 in the United States was the Tap Zoo (Pocket Gems), which was released in September 2010, the peak of earnings from Diner Dash (PlayFirst), which was released in March 2009, appeared only in January 2012.
So we conclude: LTV – Lifetime Value Team (the total amount a player spends on a particular game for the time of its existence) is becoming more important indicator of game success.
3. Gold rush
Gambling (poker, casino, roulette) may blow up the mobile market in the 2012 year.
At least, the leading market players are confident about it and they buy the developers, which are versed in such amusements: Playtika, which is responsible for the Slotomania development, was bought by Caesars in the end of 2011; Big Fish Games has bought Self Aware Games, known for Card Ace Casino.
Why everybody trying to get into this still free market?
This is simple – it’s all about money. On the average gambler you can earn up to $ 150.
Comparing to $ 20 from LTV player in the mobile farm. Do you see the difference?
4. Problems with Apple
iTunes App Store – is the most promising market. Especially, for those who want to earn a lot. However, in recent years, developers are increasingly criticizing its services. The fact that the guys in Apple are too slow: they solve problems, which are requiring a quick, immediate intervention, for too long.
5. The new iPad – a strike upon the industry?
The fun is this is strike upon iOS-segment. Because of the new device there is no place to outsiders on the market now, but there is a place for fragmentation.
The new features of the tablet will be learned without any problems by developers from Epic (and Fishlabs, MadFinger, NaturalMotion, Revo Solutions and many others). But for smaller companies that do not have such budgets, and therefore opportunities – a new device with a screen Retina – this is not a step forward.
Total: the emergence of a powerful gadget could remove the small developers from the market.