What’s Next In Mobile Gaming


Gamers rule the world, at least in the world of app downloads.
Gamers rule the world, at least in the world of app downloads.

This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine.

Games make up more than 65 percent of downloads in the App Store and Google Play, and a whopping 90 percent of mobile gaming revenue is generated by a freemium business model, according to Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of App Annie.

These are just two of the insights that came from a trends panel at the Game Developers Conference last month in San Francisco. The panel also included folks from gaming engine Unity and publisher/developer Pocket Gems.

Ben Liu of Pocket Gems said that the next level of gaming innovation will likely be more in the technical arena, as platforms and tools will make games more photo-realistic, 3-D and have better real-time social communication.

The biggest problem in mobile gaming? App discovery. Getting people to find your game is difficult in such a crowded, if profitable, market.

Unity CEO Dave Helgason says that the next move in for helping people get found is sharing video replays on places like Twitch TV, a strategy that console makers like Sony already support.

Although Liu agreed, he still thinks that the best games will still win out over other user acquisition strategies. He said despite all the marketing money, the gaming industry is “still a pure place.”

Chartboost CEO Maria Alegre says that speed of development is also key, citing the amazingly fast appearance of hundreds of Flappy Bird clones so soon after the original game exploded in the scene.

No matter what, it’s surely an exciting time for mobile gaming.

As Pocket Gems’ Liu said, we’re going to start seeing games that aren’t just inspired by games on other platforms, but more games designed directly for the advantages of the touchscreen devices we all carry around.

  • Freemium games are killing the mobile game industry. They are the the bane of the user experience.

    • Rob LeFebvre

      Are they, though? I know they can be poorly implemented, but why are they doing so well? Many users I’ve spoken to say they’d rather not pay for a game up front, and only drop cash later when the game means something to them.

      • I’m all for try it before you buy it style. Maybe the 1st level is free, then buy the game, but for a one time price. The bs freemium model of selling in game currency, upgrades, time limited play unless you pay, creates a never ending spending spree. Sure its great for raking in money on the app developer side, but I want to return to the old of paying once for a game and thats final.

        Freemium games of the style like Real Racing and Dead Trigger 2 are the worst. I’d have gladly paid $10 for either without bs timelimits on repairing my cars etc unless I fork over cash. I never submit to paying anything into these type of models, and eventually no matter how good the game, it drives me away.

        I feel like this style ultimately it pulls in more initial dough, but at what price to the consumer experience and cost?

      • Rob LeFebvre

        Yeah, I totally agree – those things are heinous. But something is working, not just for the developers–more people are playing these games than ever before. There’s something about the model that no matter how annoying the mechanics get, we still keep downloading and trying them. That can’t be too bad a thing, can it?