Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 – Past, Present and Future of Mobile Games

Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 – Past, Present and Future of Mobile Games


This panel was presented by Kick 9 mobile. Their presenter let us know this was normally a bit longer presentation and done more in a business style setting. Still, it was an interesting presentation to attend. This presentation focused on core concepts for mobile games to have, what has worked in the past, and what is presently being used within the mobile market.


First, it was important to understand how saturated the Online Mobile market place had become. The games that were popular a year ago have largely changed from what is popular today. There were a few exceptions, like Minecraft and Angry Birds, but most of the top games were something completely different. Because of this, there were a few core concepts that each successful or surviving Mobile game needed.


The key aspects to any Mobile Game were: IP, Content, Budget and Community. For a game to stand up against time, it needed to develop with all 4 of those concepts. The IP gives the game recognition. This is the biggest thing that the player would first see. Budget help keeps the game alive and spreads the word about the game. Content and Community though are the true keys to how a game will survive.


First, fresh content will keep a game interesting. This can take the form of “Gatcha Events”, daily missions, weekly challenges and timed special events. The more the content can vary, the better. While it does not need to be all available at once, giving timed access to events does keep things interesting


“Gatcha Events” are something not very common here in the Western market. They are one of a table of rewards that are can only be acquired by completing specific actions. This can be unique cards, characters, items or equipment that cannot be acquired any other any. It was liken to going to a chance machine and popping your quarters to get the prize you were after.


Giving unique rewards for this can help a lot to keep the players engaged. These can be from “Gatcha Events,” doing the daily missions or weekly challenge. Perhaps it is from completing a larger activity. All these give players an incentive to try out the activity and engage with the game more. This can help build the community if it should involve more people needing to work together. Keep a budget in mind with these because it can be very easy to over-produce.


It is important to keep rewards balanced between the kinds of players that exist within the game. Remember that some people are simply there for the experience the game offers and want to explore the world and lore of it. Some people are there to top the leader board and compete against other players. Both these styles of play should get unique rewards that make it easier for people to enjoy the experience that they want.


To give incentive to log in, Kick 9 will generally off Daily Log-in rewards. This gives something back to the player simply for engaging with the game regularly. These can be just little things like in-game currency or points that can be redeemed for a larger prize if they player logs in continuously throughout the week. This can also be applied to in-game purchases. Depending on the package offered, this can have a number of rewards associated with it. This does help encourage the usage of the in-game purchases.


One thing that is still somewhat overlooked is Facebook integration. Many games do use this feature but most do not. This allows people to share about the game, potentially building the community and spreading the word about it.


A key point that the presenter made was that players should rate the app. He encouraged us to let the developers know what was working for the game. He said it is much easier to complain than it is to compliment. Both positive and negative feedback helps the developers further refine the game. Rating the game also lets others know about the game. It full well could be a review you post that can get someone interested in the game or pass it over.


When it comes to the game itself, it depends on what kind of experience the studio wants to provide. With some games, it is about management, others it is strictly about competition. Some games have turned based play while other happen in real time. There are lore heavy games and some with minimal to almost no lore in them at all. On top of all that there are games meant to be easily picked up and others that have very deep controls that take time and experimentation to master. All these influence a number of factors about how the game can be done profitably. For a more intense game, micro-transactions may work better than ads. The more involved the screen is, the simpler things should be kept. A game like “Candy Crush” does much better with ads than a game like most of Kick 9's content. Kick 9 favors more interact screens and adding in adds is just too much on the screen at once. So, they favor micro-transactions. It really depends on the game and the kind of content it has.


This brought up the question of the concept of “Pay to Win”. This is a questionable practice that is presently found in the gaming market. There was no clear answer. It is really the consumers, who influence the market with their chosen purchases, that will determine whether or not this practice will remain. It is hard to say where this will go. This does depend on the game and what kind of experience it offers as well.


The final topic of the panel was the timing of a game. The sooner a game can go through its development cycle, the better. This does not mean cut corners. Work build a sturdy framework for the game. Expect the first few to go poorly. If you are marketing a new method of play, the sooner that the IP is brought to all available market places, the better. Delay can be costly in a number of ways with titles that have seen any form of launch. While it is internal, take your time. Once it sees any kind of release, attempt to bring things forward at a measured pace and keep to deadlines.


It was clear from the presentation just what works for any given mobile is gained by looking back at successful practices. Many of these cases and idea are universal and something that should be kept in mind if you want to develop a mobile game.


This panel/presentation was very informative toward good practices found within the mobile gaming market. The ideas and concepts were presented in a very orderly fashion and the presenter worked very well with their audience to ensure that all questions were answered thoroughly.

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