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A Look at Mobile Game Design and Innovation for Engagement

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Mobile gaming and online gaming have become exceptionally popular in the last few years. Take the US, which was the biggest mobile gaming market and was responsible for 28% of global spending  on mobile gaming in 2020.

Right now, there are an estimated 1 billion gamers worldwide. That figure is expected to grow past 1.3 billion in 2025. So mobile gaming and online gaming is popular, very popular, and a big reason has been advances in technology that have made gaming more accessible.

Below is a look at ways mobile game app makers improve games so that they’re more enjoyable and engaging, plus discussion about the competition on the market and the pressures game makers face because of it.

Capturing and retaining gaming fans

Games app manufacturers have a variety of different ways to keep mobile gaming fans coming back for more:

Free-to-play games

Perhaps one of the simplest but most effective ways to engage mobile game players is through the freemium model. Free-to-play games give players a taste of the game but offer premium elements for which players can pay to get the whole experience.

An example of a gaming niche who has successfully implemented this feature is the online casino industry. To attract new players as well as existing players back to their site, casino providers tend to offer bonuses and promotions including free credits to play casino games with. Casino providers typically have a promotion where players earn free credits by signing-up and in most cases not even depositing any money meaning they can try the games out for free! This way, players can get a feel for the site and experience with free versions before using their own money.

Keep games challenging, but not excessively challenging

Gamer players like a challenge but don’t want to feel frustrated when playing. If the game is too taxing, they’ll give up.

Games with different difficulty levels for players too choose from are a bonus, that way players can opt for which level they think best suits them.

Responding to consumer demands

Players want constant content, so companies respond to these demands, keeping the players engaged and letting them know that the makers are listening to them. New updates and themes based on seasonal holidays such as Halloween and Christmas make gaming content more engaging.

Constant updates

Today, games are something of a service and players want constant updates… large updates, which can place pressure on games makers, who work hard to meet this demand. They know, just as the players do, that updates enhance the gaming experience and create extra enjoyment.

Use of algorithms

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is making gaming more engaging and leading to better games. As well as helping companies to learn about players, the AI is enabling games to respond to player’s inputs more and improving the gaming experience.

The impact on gamers

Methods like this up the engagement of players with mobile games. The games create an element of escapism. Players’ perception of time changes while they’re playing… they feel so relaxed and at ease while playing that time just flies by.

Some games really ramp up this feeling with their sounds and colors and constant change, which makes them harder to put down. If a player is more the competitive type, they can also get an immense dopamine hit from feeling successful while playing the game.

Getting players spending

According to recent research by consultancy Deloitte, despite all the downloads by US respondents who were regular mobile gamers, these gamers spend less than $10 per month on new mobile games. Don’t misinterpret this to mean they’re not spending, however.

For it then turns out that 48% of the regular mobile gamers were spending on in-app purchases for a better gaming experience. Personalization, new capabilities and the option to unlock new levels are all possible in-app purchases in this regard. The average spend was around $20 per month.

Operating in an extremely competitive market

The gargantuan success of gaming means anyone operating in the market, whether a designer, manufacturer or other entity in the industry, is under immense pressure. Players have so much choice that the slightest glitch in a game, hiccup in design or failure to keep up with other operators can see them switch from one game to another.

As a result, games makers must come up with new innovations frequently to stay ahead of the very large pack (or at least to keep near the front and not fall behind).

The demands on them are becoming potentially too heavy, however. It’s not just a question of large, flashy updates that hit the headlines, either; it’s all about the many regular, smaller tweaks that keep the games operating and engaging for the many fans.

The monstrously popular “Fortnite” is one game that commentators have pointed out could be placing some of the people that work on it under a lot of strain. “Fortnite” receives regular patches and updates. Some of the patches can require application instantly, which puts the people involved in the fix under a heavy amount of stress.

Other observers have called for gamers to wait patiently for the games to come out. They suggest that in the rush to bring games out, companies and developers may be releasing titles onto the market that are still buggy, and that if fans can be patient and wait a little longer, games can be much less glitchy when they do come out.

Gaming is incredibly popular, with makers making a variety of tweaks to maintain and increase player engagement. However, they’re also having to endure a high amount of pressure to innovate. It’s a sign of success, but some fans are seeing it could be a good idea to wait patiently and give the makers some breathing room so they can release better games onto the market.

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