Many of the most popular mobile apps are games. While there are apps for practically everything these days, the fact remains that games represent more than 20% of the active ones. However, that’s not to say that games are a sure thing for developers. In fact, game developers face even more competition than those who develop other apps. Because the stakes for game developers are so high, it’s worth looking at some of the most successful examples and learning from them.
There are several qualities that signify that a mobile app game has become successful, and you should be shooting for all of them. You’ll want more than just a high number of installs. You’ll also want to make sure that your users continue to play the game long after they’ve purchased it. A quarter of all mobile apps are abandoned after just one use, which severely limits available revenue from in-app purchases or ads. If you want your app to be a moneymaker, you’ll have to keep people using it. You’ll also want to increase the number of purchases your users make in the app—but only if it doesn’t affect their willingness to use it. Be careful about striking the correct balance.
Good Fundamentals: Engaging User Experience
The place to start is with the reason people play games in the first place: because they’re fun. If you want to make sure people will download and continue to play your game, you have to focus on what makes it worth playing. A great game should have graphics that suck you into its world, elements that underscore its presentation like a catchy soundtrack, and core gameplay mechanics that provide a tight, visceral experience. It should also be innovative enough that it feels new and fresh, but not so different that it creates an exclusionary learning curve.
Reigns is a perfect example. The mechanics are similar to popular hookup app Tinder, with the player swiping right or left to respond to various in-game choices. However, the reason for swiping couldn’t be more different: in Reigns, you’re a ruler using the swipe action to choose or refuse various actions related to your kingdom. Beautiful graphics and a compelling premise engage players, while the simple and familiar gameplay makes it easy for them to keep playing anywhere.
Know What Users Want, and Update Frequently
If you want users to keep playing your game and ultimately guide them towards in-app purchases, it’s important to know what they want more of and offer it. You’ll want to upgrade your game frequently with expansions, bonus items, and other rewards. To do this effectively, developers should use marketing analytics tools to track user behavior and learn their preferences. Marketing analytics tools are implemented using SDKs (Software Development Kits), but writing the code for SDKs can take a long time. To streamline the process and save days of valuable time, use a third-party service like Enhance that lets you write SDK code and the required directories with a few simple clicks.
Creating the perfect mobile game isn’t that different from making a great game for any other platform. In fact, when you use the right tools to learn about your audience, it can be even easier to create games they’ll love playing. Make sure you have all the information you need, and use it to your advantage.