The last few months of mobile gaming activity will no doubt go down in the pages of the mCommerce history books as a time when the foreseen explosion of mobile started to become self evident. Future generations of gamers will be able to remember with nostalgia this time when a new breed of titles hit their mobiles and tablets. Companies competing for the top 100 found in your local friendly app store are pouring increasing amounts of resources into mobile. Titles like War Dragons and Empire & Allies are making up what could be seen as a new wave of mobile game development with more complexity than seen before.
At the top Clash of the Titans has been reported to be making about $80 million a month and they are not alone. Your friend who you thought had gone missing?… don’t worry she is alive and well playing something called Candy Crush Saga. A game that is said to slowly take over your own free will and eventually your ‘spare’ cash. Available to play for free, the player is allocated a certain amount of time until you have to wait for your next free ration. Eventually this is never enough and you quite simply have to have more and will be happy to pay for it. The lions share of mobile gaming revenue is generated with similar ‘paying for extra access’ models.
From an mCommerce point of view this is quite interesting. This model is about delivering a quality of content that a customer can interact with for free, which is so good, in the case of Candy Crush the user will start paying for it within about 15 hours of face time. This has to be the king of all freemium models. In most cases the buy now button is a single tap for loose change, very much like in the games themselves where you are tapping buttons for more resources and energy. To quickly tap something to buy more access feels just like another part of the game play itself.
With games that you might have to pay £2.99 for upfront, they are so accessible with a minimum of commitment that someone with a casual interest will have a go. And now with a new generation of games coming through like Vainglory and the eventual launch of Zynga’s Dawn of Titans, there will be more choice for a much wider audience. Built on the foundations of serious gamers, mobile games now offer the uninitiated masses a chance to slip through the net and enjoy the fun. One of the biggest blocks to new users entering the game arena was spending a few hundred quid to get started and then having to practice for hours until you could get a decent game out of it. Almost like taking up a new sport from scratch…yeah, looks ok but meh. Today I downloaded Monument Valley on my iPhone with no idea what to expect. Within seconds I was enjoying the experience to the point of where I thought, my Mum would probably like this. I never thought that I would be able to describe a mobile game as ‘immersive’ or with a ‘beautiful design’.
On an industry level Konami has recently decided to focus all their energy on mobile and have pulled some of their PC and console classic titles. Many are worried that this trend is damaging traditional gaming where we can see the best of what digital can offer in terms of complexity and large scale development projects. The culture of the committed gamer is so strong I cant see this happening, gaming is just getting bigger. Where ever a platform appears so will games. The integration of these platforms is what will make it even more fun with tribes of players competing with each another, creating their own rules and far reaching trends. Mean while I look forward to the look on my Mums face when I insist she has a go on a ‘computer game’ that I have on my phone. Whether I can persuade her to use my headphones at the same time is uncertain, though the audio on Monument Valley is so good.
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Freelance Copywriter (tech) and Content Strategist