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MrMaker

PC vs. Mobile in Terms of Success

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I have always liked the idea of Mobile Game development. PC is a very huge platform and a slim. I think that with mobile you can have higher success of your game getting popularity.  Because if someone just make a 2D sidescroller on the PC would it ever see the light of day 'cause there are more advanced and creative games, also about what distribution method you are going to use. I think it is hard to get your game on steam, so instead you have alternatives to distribute your game. But on mobile, specifically Android, it is open to put your app on Google Play, just pay a developer account for $25 and distribute. Also on android, you see more 2D games and some 3D games. Some very simple games like doodle jump are big. But what would happen if a game like Angry Birds was on the PC than mobile. Do you think a game like Angry Birds would be popular as if it was released  for mobiles? Post your thoughts. I am not saying it is easy to get a game popular, but in terms of success would making a game for mobile get more success than making a game for pc?

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The only evidence I have is anecdotal, so not worth mentioning (regarding 'success' of PC games vs mobile games)...

 

However, one of the major benefits of mobile games is that publishing is very easy...  As you mentioned with Android, just get an acct and send it to Google Play.  The same is true of iOS/Apple.

 

Getting stuff published on PC is easier than it has ever been (Steam, Desura, self publish, etc), but it's still quite a bit more work (including convincing people) than mobile.

 

Also, mobile lends itself well to smaller, simpler projects, so getting something complete is quicker, and for so many junior/hobby game developers, getting that stuff on your resume is going to be great for future prospects.

 

-Alamar

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Definition of terms is very important.

 

What is "popular"?  Popular can mean 10,000 people have downloaded it.  Popular can mean 10,000,000 people have downloaded it.  Popular is relative, and it needs to be a measurable value.  The term "popular" in business more often mean actual numbers like DAU, MAU, and Attach Rate.

 

What is "successful"?  In business the usual terms are RP$ and RP%.  RP$ is basically the profit in dollars (or your currency of choice).  RP% is the same thing expressed as a ratio.  If you invested $75 in your product and had $100 in revenue, your RP$ would be $25 and your RP% would be 33%.  Usually you want to define one or both of these terms in order to define "successful".  An emerging product might see 10% RP as successful, an established brand could consider 40% RP as a failure.

 

 

That said:

 

Because if someone just make a 2D sidescroller on the PC would it ever see the light of day 'cause there are more advanced and creative games

I strongly disagree with this.

 

There are many profitable 2D side scrollers that are released on the PC, even today.

 

They represent a small segment of the market, but there is absolutely a market for them and there are games that take in a reasonable profit margin within that market.

 

I think it is hard to get your game on steam, so instead you have alternatives to distribute your game.

If your game is sufficient quality it can make it on the distribution platform.  There are also many more distribution platforms than just Steam.  Any game that limits itself to only Steam and does not consider any other distribution method has already set itself up for failure.

 

I am not saying it is easy to get a game popular, but in terms of success would making a game for mobile get more success than making a game for pc?

This is entirely subjective.  It depends on the costs of making the game, the costs of marketing the game, the costs of distributing the game.  It depends on the reception of the game.  It depends on luck and external factors.

 

What may be a financial success to a developer in Chile or Peru may be a financial disaster for someone living in London or LA.

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Hai,

for me, the mobile platform such as android and ios is the best choice now days for small studio.

I enjoy the fact that I can spend less in dev and make more profit as Im located in Malaysia where 5000 game copies sales 0.99$  each enough to sustain me for another year.

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I think there is more scope for popularity still on mobile platforms like Android, but some of the differences perhaps aren't always as significant as one might think:

I think it is hard to get your game on steam, so instead you have alternatives to distribute your game. But on mobile, specifically Android, it is open to put your app on Google Play, just pay a developer account for $25 and distribute.

Well, it's easy to release your game on Windows wherever you like, for free. True, if you want payment options it may not be so simple, but surely there must be options (there were 15 years ago, when I did some shareware stuff, and that was easy to set up). Yes there is the question of exposure, but that applies to Google Play too - and with some much competition, I doubt you'd get anywhere near the exposure that you'd get on Steam (the flip side being, as you say, it's much harder to get onto Steam in the first place).

On non-mobile platforms, you still have same "easy" options for distribution, but you also have the additional choice of more restricted but higher exposure options. On mobile platforms, there's far less choice.

Personally I'd focus on the question on whether you can make something popular or sell at all - if you can't be bothered with any effort in terms of packaging/preparing for a non-mobile release, then chances are it's not going to do great on Google Play either.

A year ago, I found that the downloads for a game on Google Play were less than for Windows just from my own website - interestingly they did jump up significantly around Jan 2013 for no apparent reason (I guess it's worth noting that even in the last year, the Android userbase has more than doubled, with larger size Android tablets also now becoming more popular, but that doesn't explain the sudden jump - perhaps it was a change in the search rankings).

Symbian / Nokia Store still by far gets the most downloads for me, sometimes as much by 100x, despite being there being no new sales now, with the switch to WP. It's the only platform where I've got loads of downloads simply by uploading and forgetting, with no additional effort.

But what would happen if a game like Angry Birds was on the PC than mobile. Do you think a game like Angry Birds would be popular as if it was released for mobiles?

The thing is, most games like Angry Birds released for mobile aren't popular either. It's just that some end up being widly more popular (and they get far more publicity, increasing their popularity). The same happens with non-mobile too, e.g., Minecraft.
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Mobile is a very harsh market, and I think marketing matters a lot more there. On PC, you can get users to drop on your page with relatively little effort. Sales are not exceptional as PC users are very careful about what they'll buy, but at least, you'll get some exposure if you try hard enough.

To me, mobile is more of "all or nothing" type of market. You want a trial version, because you want it to land a spot in the top 100 top free games. That way, people will consider buying your game, because they simply won't purchase a game they haven't heard about.

 

Now consider this. If you are browsing the web, and an interesting game pops up, you can click and see a version of it, browse videos etc.

If you are on mobile, the one REAL approach to a game is to look for it from within the market place, and the easiest way to do that is to look at top games (the same would be true on platforms such as Kongregate and Facebook on PCs though).

 

So, unless you are pretty sure you can land a top 100 top free game, I'd recommend to test the waters on PC first. Otherwise, go Mobile: you'll get a lot more sales from exposure being at the top (and staying there long enough).

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