Mobile Game Prototype: Tactical Changes & Mobile Revenue Research
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Hello hello and welcome to the second post in the mobile game dev log series!
Continuing from the last post, I showed a sneak peak into one of our ideas that had the most grounding at the time, however following further discussions with both the lecturer and the team, the game concept may not hit all the right targets. Therefore, we have decided to shelve it for now and instead take a new approach to the project. Bit of a pointless teaser in the end... sooo, sorry if you were super excited to learn more about it!
The New Approach
The new tactic we have decided upon is...
The fact is, one of the main focuses of this project is meant to be on the business side of mobile game development. In fact, it's probably fair to say it's more important than the game itself when taking everything into account.
I would say that our team did throw out some interesting or fun game ideas over the past couple of weeks, but unfortunately we kept hitting the same wall: how would we generate income if this app was complete? You would've seen my detailing about mobile app monetization in the previous post, and sadly no matter how good the ideas were, we kept struggling to think of ways to effectively monetize them. I think this may have been, in part, due to us being used to coming up with ideas from a pure "how good is this game idea" direction, whereas we now need to have a "how good is the game at creating profit" approach.
So, after taking some time to consider things, we had a team meeting over the weekend in which I tried to help give us all a bit of a clearer sense of direction. On our current course, we would probably keep tripping under our own feet for a while which will cost us time. A few of the main points I wanted to highlight are that:
We have somewhere between 6-7 weeks before we hit December.
If we assume that December will be when we finish doing the programming and start doing the QA testing and debugging, we have this much time left to build the mobile game. Given that we are still in the idea stage, we likely won't start building the game for a week or two. We also need to consider factors that are beyond our control; one such factor is that our best coder has a broken arm, and so will struggle to write code at their usual pace.
The focus is about the business side.
This means we may have to accept that the game we make won't be truly original or unique under the circumstances. One of our goals is to be able to show that we understand how to create a profitable business model out of a mobile game. We'll also need to think about the psychology of the mobile gaming market; how can we get players hooked to the game and encourage them to make IAPs without making it a pay-to-win (P2W) game or detract from the fun?
We need ideas that we feel could get us the best marks possible.
When all is said and done, we are still undergrads in our final year of our degree and we all want to achieve maximum marks to stand us in good stead for whatever comes next. It's the same drive that encourages employees to perform to a high standard in the real world, so if we must make some sacrifices along the way to help us do the best we can, then so be it.
These key points, along with some others, are why I suggested that we each went away and tried brainstorming some ideas that we can ensure tick all the boxes. Given how the module has been conducted over the previous weeks, my suggestion to the team is that we each come up with 2 ideas by Wednesday that we feel would cover as many points as possible. Ideas that we could each look at and quickly understand how you could monetize it.
Wednesday felt like a reasonable target in terms of time, and the 2 ideas are essentially plans A and B. We can reconvene to see what we felt are each member's best ideas, then present 3 ideas to our lecturer for feedback. We would then cross the next bridge then and consider our plan.
My Next Steps
In truth, the previous week has been quite chaotic in terms of finding time to get work done. I've lost a couple of days from needing to travel a lot for both business and recreation to see people while I am in Surrey before I make my return to Cornwall this week, and have also been struggling to kick up motivation to get stuff done.
I have, fortunately, had some ideas come to mind that I have made a note of and will present to the team when we next conduct a meeting. I also did a bit of quick research since I wanted to get my mind to focus on the monetary aspect of the mobile gaming market again, and to potentially find inspiration for ideas.
Did you know that the top grossing mobile game by worldwide revenue in May 2020 was PUBG with $226 million in user spending? Neither did I!
Did you know that the second game is Honor of Kings at $204.5 million in gross revenue in May 2020? Me neither! You can see more from the table below from SensorTower, and if you'd like to read more from their article, click the image and it will take you to it!
Something interesting to note is that both of these titles are owned by the Chinese conglomerate Tencent, with 95% of the income from Honor of Kings being made in China. This caught my eye, but when you stop to think about it, it makes sense. It is well known that space in China is a rare commodity and living spaces are usually confined to quite small rooms, which means that there isn't much space for games consoles or a complete computer desk setup. China's main gaming source comes in the form of mobile games; almost everyone already has a phone and it doesn't require much space to keep it, so playing games on them is pretty logical.
What I'm getting at is we must go after the Chinese market!
Alright so maybe we won't actually do that, but taking a closer look into these popular games might help give rise to some inspiration for either a game idea or for a way to monetize the game. If I get the chance, I'll take a look at some of these games for additional research to benefit our group project, and will get back to you with how that went in the next post!
I think that about wraps it up for today's blog, so with that, I thank you all again for reading, and I will see you in the next post :)