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Keval Padia

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  1. Mobile games still represent the highest growing niche among apps. The mobile game market worldwide is supposed to touch $46 billion in the present year. In spite of this staggering growth, just 10% of the game apps can actually be called commercially successful as per the growth and ROI they achieved. Naturally, rethinking the strategy and planning for something effective to market mobile games will continue. Based on the experience of the near past, what are the key marketing tips for mobile games we can consider in 2018? Let us have a look. 1) Localization will be key To make your game connect its audience in different parts of the world your game needs to speak the language of your audience in different local markets. There are many markets that are far from dominated by any single language, and often these markets offer the bigger untapped potential for new game apps. While localising the game language is crucial, there are other considerations as well. Localisation should also be offered through a selection of payment methods. The selection of payment methods should be made available as per the penetration of such methods in respective markets. For instance, markets having lower credit card penetration should be given other methods of payment for the game players. In some markets, third-party payment solution or third party publishing rights may be good solutions while in others they may not. 2) Consider the latest In-app purchase (IAPs) trends Throughout 2017 In-app purchase has dominated the mobile app marketing space, and it has been the most effective and revenue earning strategy. In-app purchases have earned $37 billion in app revenue in 2017 alone. In spite of the fact that just 5% of game players actually end up spending money through IAPs, this monetisation avenue is credited for 2000% more profit compared to other avenues. In the months to come, In-app purchase (IAP) will be more specific in targeting game players with new tools and tweaks like limited period events, behavioral incentives and dynamic pricing. We can also expect more games to adopt several different types of virtual currency for payment. Specially targeted offers for some game playing audience will also be a key trend. 3) Consider these social media hacks Social media will continue to feature more prominently in the mobile game marketing. There will be a few effective social media hacks and effective strategies that will dominate mobile game marketing in 2018 and beyond. When planning marketing for your new game apps on social media, you need to prioritise social platforms based on the type of user your game app will be entitled for. There are plenty of social platforms, but the app that can work on Facebook may not work well on Pinterest. It obviously depends on the audience. When it comes to marketing your game on Facebook, you need to build up excitement for the game for several months prior to your launch and based on the reaction of your launch should launch the game app to generate maximum buzz. Pinterest can be a great medium if you can register various screenshots and app related images in an appealing manner to the visual database of the platform. Pinterest works great if you have a separate website for the app to draw and engage traffic. Reddit, on the other hand, can be a good platform to track information and spot marketing opportunities of your game app. Lastly, make use of social analytics to track and monitor your game playing audience and activities. 4) Paid games You may have discarded paid apps already as a monetisation strategy, but in the last year only there have been several highest grossing paid mobile games. In fact, there has been $ 29 billion revenue from the paid apps alone. Yes, we know that nearly 98% of paid apps in Play Store are free apps, but to your surprise, many of these apps are now coming with a mix of strategies by offering paid sister apps. Often value additions like new graphic contents with these paid sister apps can actually boost engagement from the audience. 5) Game ads rewarding players Mobile game players are more habituated with promotional contents compared to other app users. With the traction and engagement for in-app ads to garner any substantial revenue often a game needs a huge audience or players to earn a substantial value. This is why game ads need to be thought in a completely new light. Rewarding game players for watching game ads have come up with a really effective strategy. Around 80% of game players prefer watching video ads for game rewards. 6) In-game sponsorship Sponsored contents within mobile games continued to remain another popular aspect of many mobile games in the recent years. It started way back in 2015 when Angry Birds players were allowed to kill the awful pigs by Honey Nut Cheerios as long as for 2 whole weeks and thus promoting another game app. Soon, several other games followed this trend which incorporated elements of other game apps in the gaming actions for the purpose of sponsorship. It works great specially for developers who have multiple game apps with a few successful ones across the board. In the present year, we can see mobile game developers to reduce dependence on the in-app purchase by embracing these rewarded and sponsored ads. 7) Merchandising game products Merchandising your game-related products to the game players is still effective for too many mobile games. But it needs at least a certain level of commercial success for the game app. Only when your game has a widespread following and enjoys a niche branding, you can come up with the marketing of in-game characters shaped into real life products like t-shirts, stuffed toys, game-inspired cars, and even notebooks or coffee mugs. In conclusion All these strategies and avenues seem to have one thing in common, and it is more about connecting audience more specifically and in a targeted manner. In 2018, we can expect these strategies evolve further.
  2. A successful game is recognised by the way it enjoys popularity among players coming back to the game time and again. How can you make your players return to the game frequently? How can you make them feel addicted to your game? Undoubtedly, you need to have a solid retention strategy for your game to achieve this. Let us introduce here some of the most tested and tried rules of boosting retention that a game development company should take care of. 1. You are not targeting the right market The first principle that a game developer should keep in mind is to target the right audience and market. For example, you can target teen audience or say, a female game playing audience aged beyond 30 years. Now, you need to consider how many similar games are there presently in the market for the respective audience group. You need to build games only with the respective target audience age and other demographic aspects in mind. For instance, if you are going to unleash a puzzle game for toddlers and there are plenty of such games already in the market for that audience, your chances of getting over the top of competition is very low. The bottom line is simple. You need to develop games with a precise target audience market in mind that can find your game app lucrative. You still have competition when unleashing for a less competitive niche, but you can make your presence felt and reap benefits with such feeble competition. 2. Creating a stunning and lasting impression The key to retaining players in a game is to make them come back to the game frequently. This requires impressing them at the first gameplay and maintaining that throughout the game playing experience. According to 2015 figures published by Localytics, close to 60% of app users including game players just become inactive within the first month of the use. Often a stunning first experience with the game prevents a game app from losing on player engagement. Ensure intuitive game learning that requires the least time to get started. Secondly, try to give them a sense of achievement as early as possible and make them feel what rich reserve of game playing experience you have in store for future sessions. 3. Distribute the difficulty level and challenges evenly Just consider playing a game in which you just get knocked out at the very first game playing session and find it hard to get to the next level in spite of several efforts. Moreover, you find yourself in a clueless position without nobody to help you really getting over the challenges and enjoy the game by securing some small feats. In most such cases you stop playing such games, and after a few dumb efforts, you are likely to dump it into oblivion or delete it. Just consider a different scenario when playing a game you win every time. When you realise winning every level of a game is practically effortless and does not involve any real challenge, you are likely to consider it dull, and you can stop playing such childish crap. To prevent such pulling factors, you need to balance your game playing experience with the appropriate acceleration of challenges and difficulties from one level to another. The point is to train the players with the game playing skills by gradually accelerating challenges from one level to another. With properly balanced levels players keep enjoying the game while securing a sense of achievement every time they pass on to the next level. 4. Session time not stretching too far We modern human beings continuously live within a whirlwind of activities, and this gives us an impression that we always have too many things left to do. Naturally, mobile games just grab our attention temporarily between activities. This is why we are likely to engage in games for a short stint instead of games that require long sessions of play lasting for hours. Typically, games with few minutes of session length get more steady engagement than games with long session length. Only experienced players can cope up with extended hours of gameplay, and they are a minority engaged mostly with big titles while the majority of games is mostly having the engagement of casual game players. 5. Take care of bugs and test early Yes, these days even big titles in mobile games come with a lot of bugs. Bugs became a plague now for the vast majority of games including most successful and little-heard games. But, whenever bugs undermine the user experience it can lose game players and engagement terribly. But since every bug cannot be found by the developers and at later stage addressing them becomes problematic, a mobile game development company needs to make it tested from the early stage. 6. Boost engagement with rewards and recognition Most players leave a game and fell less impetus to return to the game because of game fatigue. Game fatigue mostly develops when the player misses the sense of achievement and does not get enough impetus with in-game rewards and recognition. On the other hand, recognising every small in-game achievement with some kind of reward or title can deliver immense satisfaction for the players to return to stay engaged. 7. Utilise push notifications effectively Push notification is one of the most powerful tools to remain in touch with the players and it helps a game to push players for taking certain steps that can position a game better. From reminding players about the pending game move to notifying players about new features to telling players about their fellow player’s arrival, notifications often can boost player engagement more meaningfully. But the benefit of keeping in constant touch with the players apart, push notifications can also undermine the user experience terribly if you push it really extra hard. Send notifications only when you have something relevant and important to tell for the player. 8. Social gaming These days most games give you option to invite players from your social contacts. It is one of the most effective ways to push more downloads and acquisition. But it is also one of the most effective ways to boost player engagement. Over time social game playing and other tools like in-game chat options and friend list can help create a community of game players. Such community gaming creates new ways to feel the heat of competition and this results in higher retention and engagement for the game players. In closing The key to retaining game players for most games remained the same, and it is continuous engagement, frequent gaming sessions and smooth gaming experience with appropriate challenges and befitting rewards. If you can ensure these ground rules for your game, your retention is likely to be higher.
  3. Unity is considered as one of the most versatile and robust game development platforms worldwide. Unity took over the gaming industry principally thanks to its versatility in building a diverse array of games. It started only as a cross-platform game building tool and over the years having been used by thousands of most successful mobile game development companies became a robust and feature rich multi platform gaming language ideal for both easy to play 2D and immersive 3D games. Unity by popularity easily surpasses all other game engines. But what makes it so unique and stood apart from the rest of the gaming engines? In trying to get the answer, we have come across a few attributes and qualities that make Unity lead the way. Here are some of the qualities that give Unity an edge over others. C# programming language Unity game engine works basically with C# programming language. This language has been one of the most common and easy to learn coding language helps aspiring developers get an easy welcome into game development. C# as a language is known for lower learning curve while allowing most versatile programming for unique and feature rich apps across the niches including game apps. Multiple platform development Unity is not just a mobile cross-platform development engine as envisaged by many. It is now a robust multi-platform development engine having a simultaneous presence across all mobile platforms, Windows PC, Mac, game consoles and web. One unity game built by a developer can easily be deployed across all these platforms allowing bigger reach to game playing audience. Unity has Multiplatform Solutions Framework or MSF which is known for easy administrative features to take care of all your game development issues while creating games for several platforms. From taking care of features that allow receiving web contents through servers to storage of game files, integration of the game across social channels, the robust multi-platform support through MSF eases the process of game development to a great extent. Huge community support For game development industry community support proves to be crucial to allow help in building new games and to solve development problems quickly. Gaming is a kind of industry that requires constant experiments and tweaking with elements to ensure quality. Naturally, whenever a new game feature or game playing function needs to be incorporated, a developer may require advice and support from other fellow minded developers. This is where Unity as a platform offers an unmatched advantage with a huge support team. Unmatched creative freedom Creative freedom in game development means a lot of things. Not only the creative ease and freedom of building a lot of custom tools help to deliver a different and standout game playing experience but such unique and custom tools also allow the developers enjoy a competitive edge in respect of lower development cost. Unity as a very flexible platform allows you quickly iterating ideas for prototyping compared to most other ready to use tools in the market. Faster prototyping to try different game ideas give developers the ease of experimenting with new game ideas resulting in the creation of unmatched and never-before game apps. Many game development companies even while building games with their own in-house engines use Unity for the ease and creative freedom of prototyping. AAA rated game quality Even if you are a beginner or just a small aspiring game developer without much to say on your credit, with Unity game development you can build big games comparable with AAA rated games. There are several examples of small development companies achieving big feats by utilising Unity to come up with a robust AAA quality game. From animation heavy 3D games to easy to play simple mobile games, you can build the broadest range of games across the niches by using Unity. Unity’s strength in building 3D games Unity’s crucial strength lies in building sophisticated 3D games with relative ease compared to all other platforms. In creating great 3D games, it supports an array of sophisticated character building software like Adobe Photoshop, blender and 3D max. With an unmatched graphic engine and flexibility to utilise all these rendering software, Unity makes it easier to build shimmeringly immersive and engaging 3D games quickly. Unity is affordable as well When it comes to the rate and expenses on the license fee of a game engine, most developers and small development firms go on the back foot. In that respect, Unity proves itself awesomely affordable, especially for the small development forms and aspiring game developers. By giving the logo of Unity a place in your game, you can actually use the engine for free until the total revenue of the game does not exceed $ 100,000 per annum. As and when you can afford to go for the Unity Pro license you need to shell out just $ 1,500 per person plus tax. Certainly, Unity Pro is a bit feature rich and allows using the engine on two computers by the same person, but if you want to make a footing with a successful game even regular and free Unity version seems good enough. Only when you grow sufficiently big Unity Pro seems a credible option with multiple licenses packed together. Asset store If you are a Unity game developer already, you must have wondered why we are mentioning this big Unity attribute at last. Hold your breath for a minute. We really know Unity Asset Store is really unique and unmatched in many respects and that is precisely why we rather decide to focus on it at last. Unity Asset Store can be enriched with third-party inclusions. Unity Asset Store is rich with codes of popular gaming technologies like Cocos2D, Flash, Marmalade, etc. The asset store allows you finding ready to use 3D models UI, Photoshopped characters, physical engines, animated characters, all types of scripts, etc. With the use of ready to use assets available in the Unity asset store, you can reduce the development time and cost further. The power of Unity with so many rich attributes, challenges and costs are literally luring for any would be a game developer. Unsurprisingly, most aspiring developers when considering to build a new game invariably think of Unity.
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