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Top 8 Trends That Will Shape Mobile Game Development in 2018

Keval Padia

2343 views

For the past few years in a row, mobile games dominated the app stores regarding revenue, download number and engagement. No other app niche has shown such huge level of activities and soaring numbers as the mobile games. Naturally, mobile games also have been the most happening niche in respect of new technologies and innovations. From Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality games to wearable gaming, new technologies are continuing to shape gaming experience.

Mobile game marketing has also come of age and now has become more mature than ever before. The era of so-called ‘freemium’ games, gated features and in-app monetisation tactics look common, and every game marketer is on the lookout for a new way to market and generate revenue.

Considering all these evolving attributes, 2018 has really been a happening year for mobile games. Let us introduce here some of the key trends that will shape mobile game development in 2018.

5a0bc2c5241da_MobileGameDevelopmentTrends2018.thumb.png.834806b5623425d0a04a3a86917bb2ba.png

1. VR and AR Gaming

When Pokémon GO was released and literally took the world by storm with its never-before gaming experience in 2016, many experts just didn't think twice to mark that year with the rise of VR and AR games. But that was just the beginning of the kind of mobile games which will continue to dominate the gaming scene for the mobile and wearable users in the years to come.

The success of Pokemon Go actually became a motivating factor for game developers worldwide, and such reality defining games continued to come making the scene even more competitive. Though 2017 has not seen any new era defining AR or VR games like Pokemon Go, both the technologies have been consolidated and became mainstream as the gaming technologies of the future.

2. Mobile games for the elderly

Certainly, we no longer consider mobile games to be the child's plaything. It is equally for the elderly people, grownup youths, matured ladies and people of all ages. For the past several years we have seen hordes of game apps to come up targeted for elderly population or people outside of common game-playing demographics. In 2017, there have been hundreds of games for elderly, working men and women and all other age groups. With many games enjoying the favour of an addicted game playing audience, this trend is going to stay dormant in the time to come.

3. Wearable gaming

If we are not terribly wrong, wearable devices can easily be predicted as the next mass mobilising device platform after the smartphones. Naturally, mobile gaming is also supposed to shift its load to the wearable gaming apps. Even if the mobile games are to remain popular because of their large screen gaming experience, the quick to play gaming experience of the smartwatches will continue to remain popular. Moreover, offering an extended gaming experience from the mobile device to the smart wearables, they will help people stay engaged with a game irrespective of the device.

4. Social gaming

Social gaming is already a hot trend as most of the mobile games are keen to promote the gaming experience by allowing players to invite their players onboard for a gameplay. From a game of pool to most complex and strategy games, most games these days allow players inviting their friends on social media. Moreover, quick social registration for mobile games is already helping games garner access to more people through the social contacts of the player. By incentivising social gaming in many ways,  a game app can further push players to engage their friends on social media.

5. Game consoles getting outdated

Game consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox are still there, and it is not a coincidence that they are actually getting better with the rise of mobile gaming. In spite of getting better and richer to compete the mobile games, gaming consoles because of their expensive price tag and difficulty of handling will only attract less and less people like the game playing audience.

Mobile gaming with high-end sophisticated experience and extreme ease of use will continue to hold the charm that no other gaming devices really can. With the unprecedented rise of mobile gaming in recent times, game consoles are only becoming less competitive options for the gaming audience.

6. Custom game features

We are already aware of the power of customisation for the engaging audience. Custom features make a player feel important, and it is something everyone likes almost invariably. It is no different when it comes to mobile games. Mobile games allowing players to choose features that they find enjoyable for their game playing experience, will obviously give them more reasons to stick to a particular game. The custom game features allowing players shaping their own gaming experience have been very popular with mobile games this year.

7. Multichannel access

Average smartphone users have access to several gaming devices simultaneously, and this is why allowing unperturbed game play across multiple devices and platforms became very important. Game developers also find it helpful to build a cross-platform game to boost the chances of getting discovered easily across app stores. While engaging game players continuously irrespective of the device in use is one of the most important considerations for the marketing success of a game, allowing unperturbed streaming of the game across devices is crucial.

8. A renewed interest in retro games

There has been a renewed interest in the old style mobile games, at least for their look and feel. Dubbed as retro games the new breed of games are introducing the look and feel of older mobile games. This new approach allowing young players having gaming experience of a different generation became quite popular throughout this year.

In summation

To conclude, in 2017 we have seen several definitive game trends to unfurl allowing new scopes for marketers and developers. Among these trends, the above-mentioned ones seem to have a far-reaching echo than the rest.



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      We want to make sure we set the Addressables RemoteLoadPath field to the correct URL.
      We form the RemoteLoadPath URL by concatenating our S3 Bucket URL with the Unity variable [BuildTarget], like below:
      https://YOUR-BUCKET-NAME.s3.YOUR-REGION-NAME.amazonaws.com/[BuildTarget] E.g. https://thegamedevguru.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/[BuildTarget] The [BuildTarget] variable is left on purpose so Unity fetches in run-time the right assets for each of the platforms we build for. Android assets will be packed differently from Standalone, so each of these platforms will require a different directory.
      The way I found my S3 Bucket URL is by uploading a random file; if you then navigate to its details, you'll see the base URL of your file and hence your bucket.
      B. Addressable Asset Groups Configuration
      So, we just told Unity where to load the remote assets from through the RemoteLoadPath variable.
      Great. What is left is to tell which assets should be loaded remotely. Easy.
      Go over the heavy assets you want to be downloaded remotely and mark these Assets as Addressable. In our case, it's the skybox materials. Open the Unity Addressables Window and assign these assets to Addressable Asset Groups. If you are just starting with Addressables, assign them to a single group for now; e.g. Skyboxes. Eventually, you'll want them to be grouped in a way that makes sense (check my Level-3 guide on Unity Addressables Tutorial for more info). Navigate to the Addressables Group inspector settings by clicking on the group and make the following adjustments: BuildPath is set to RemoteBuildPath LoadPath is set to RemoteLoadPath You can see a graphical breakdown of this entire process below.

      Asset Groups for Unity Addressables Hosting

      Unity Addressable Asset Group Settings for Network Delivery
      We now have our skybox content assigned to a group that will be downloaded by your players in run-time.
       Summary 
      Set RemoteLoadPath to the base URL of your web hosting provider Append the [BuildTarget] variable into RemoteLoadPath  to differentiate multiple platforms Assign your Unity Addressable Assets to a group and tweak its settings to use the remote paths so it'll be downloaded from your web hosting provider  

      3. Uploading Content to Amazon S3
      All our settings are now in place. What about uploading our content to S3?
      This is a simple two-step process:
      Build player content. Upload it to S3. Building Addressables Player Content is straightforward. Open the Addressables main window and press the button that does just that. This will cook the assets for the current platform your editor is in. 

      Unity Addressables: Build Player Content
      The output content will be stored in the path dictated by the RemoteBuildPath variable you happened to see early in the Unity Addressables Profile Settings. If you didn't modify it, it's likely to be in a subfolder of your project called ServerData.
      The second step involves navigating to that directory and dropping its contents into the website of your S3 bucket, as you can see just below:

      Unity-Addressable Assets - Upload to S3
      There you have it, it's that simple.
      However, this can quickly become tedious. It's a very manual task that could easily be automated. I did just that so now uploading all my assets takes the press of a button inside Unity Editor.
      To upload your Unity Addressable Assets directly from the Unity Editor, check my Unity Addressables Hosting Resource Pack at the end of the article.

      4. Downloading Assets from Amazon S3
      This is the part we all were waiting for. You now have a game you can distribute that is significantly smaller. The remaining part is launching it and watching it download the assets on demand!
      If you want to make sure these assets are being effectively downloaded, delete the data from your S3 Bucket, disable the caching option in your Addressable Asset Group Settings, rebuild the content and your player. If you launch it, you should see a few error messages pop up, as you can see below.

      Unity Addressable Assets Download Error
      If you followed this tutorial on Unity Addressables Hosting, chances are, you will be totally alright
      By now, the asset groups you marked to be remotely downloaded are hosted in S3 and Unity knows how to fetch them.
       

      The Gamedev Guru's S3 Upload Tool
      Level 3 Developer: Unity Addressables Hosting Resource Pack
      By now you should have your first Unity Addressables Hosting experiment up and running.
      You learned how to build player content specifically to target downloadable content.
      That's great, but there's more than just the basics. To help you further, I prepared a Free Unity Addressables Hosting Resource Pack just for you.  This bundle contains:
      A spreadsheet comparing different hosting alternatives to the pricey S3 An extension to upload your Unity Addressable Asset to Amazon S3 directly from the Editor The source code of this project; see it for yourself Newsletter access with exclusive free content Level up your skills. Download your free Resource Pack now.

       
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