Mobile gaming became tremendously prominent in pop culture and even those who never touched a gamepad in their lives know names such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush well. As in every industry, even in an industry as dynamic and unexpected as this (and don’t tell me you foresaw a flappy bird coming your way), we can identify strong trends. Here below I am describing the major trends I believe we should expect to experience on our precious smartphones in the continuation of 2014 and in 2015.
1) Blurred lines – Remember we used to waste hours on Snake with Nokia 6110? Well, it seems like a lot has happened since 1997. Mobile games have evolved so much that by now many games in the stores are displaying production values and quality almost as good as those AAA titles on the consoles. GTA San Andreas, Republique and the Infinity Blade franchise are great examples of mobile games which look and sound just like console games.
2) Take me under your wing – Lately we can observe a growing trend of small developers looking for big publishers to assist them with the development and marketing of their games. Next year will sure be a great one for big publishers such as Rovio (with their new game publishing program Rovio Starts), Mobage by DeNA, Chillingo, Kongregate and many more.
3) If you love someone, set them free – Although it seems that Apple and Google are showing some love lately for paid apps, and feature them quite a lot, free 2 play (or freemium pricing model) is still the king, and will probably continue to reign next year as well. According to Distimo’s Unveiling the Secrets behind App Store Category Dynamics publication (March 2014), the games category collected more than 90% of its revenue through the freemium business model. My bet is we are going to witness some evolved new ways and systems of the free 2 play model, such as various kinds of in-app monthly or yearly subscriptions for extra content, bonuses and rewards for free apps.
4) A company of two – Another big trend on the rise is the companion apps, or, the second screen apps. These apps are complementary but add features and options to the primary product. Sony and Microsoft just released companion apps for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively which allow the users to connect to the consoles, manage downloads remotely and so forth. In addition the users can use their smartphones as a second screen for console games to show maps in racing games, inventory in RPG games and more, enhancing the next generation experience.
5) I want you here, I want you now – From guessing what your friend just doodled in Draw Something to Candy Crushing your Facebook mates, we were always connected somehow to the world when playing mobile games. Lately this trend seems even more dominant when real-time multiplayer games and multi-player modes are starting to emerge every day. For example, SuperCell has just released Clan Wars, a huge update to their hit Clash of Clans which allows clans to go head-to-head in real-time battles. Even though this trend is not so new to the mobile scene, I believe it will grow significantly in the coming years.
I suggest we meet again next year and see how dead right or how awfully wrong I was with my predictions.
Alon Shen is Mobile Apps Sales Manager At dmg