2016 was an exciting year for the mobile games industry. We saw a lot happening – the incredible supremacy of Augmented Reality (AR) game, Pokemon Go which became a full blown international phenomenon of a kind that we have never seen before. Moreover, we were able to get our hands on VR (virtual reality) technology for mobile. With business models and platforms constantly evolving, we expect 2017 to be as interesting as well.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Last year, we saw the release of VR tech Samsung GearVR, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. In 2017, we will see much more potential for mobile VR. Thanks to Google Daydream. Available across multiple devices, and with global payments and distribution structure to support IAPs within the VR environment, this wonderful VR device from Google is paving the way for mobile VR. AR will also be a focus of noteworthy growth opportunities. Because of the extraordinary success of Pokémon Go, AR got a chance to show its potential. So we will see many more games making use of AR elements.
Ads and IAP
Players are now much easier with ads. Too many IAPs can spoil player pleasure so balancing ads and IAPs in an effective manner while maintaining the player experience will be essential. This year the F2P mobile market will continue to be a tough place to earn. Acquisition costs will stay high so getting a real focus on engagement, monetization and an in-depth understanding of the experience of the player will be indispensable.
IP based games
We will see a continued trend with the IP based games. The days of badly executed IP based games are gone as IP holders see the value of fans first approach so we will see more IP games. User acquisition costs continues to rise as the mobile market matures so marketers will have to focus on finding the right marketing mix for their games.
Games over messaging
Games over messaging, both iMessage and Facebook Instant Games, will be big growth trend in 2017. We’re already seeing a bigger appetite for that from players than we thought, which will only increase as the distribution channels evolve and visibility increases.
Freemium for All
Whenever you load YouTube videos, you will come across with tons of Clash of Clans advertisement videos. Contrary to popular reaction against Clash of Clans, this mobile game is doing very well as it is one of the best examples of the “freemium” gaming model. In the freemium gaming model, you only need to pay for certain in-game content. There are successful stories of these mobile games so we can expect freemium games considering this particular model has been replicated in many different forms.
Despite the potential of mobile gaming, people mostly love to move from one device to another. Rather than pushing the model of mobile gaming to be focused just in strengthening its dominance, the other promising approach is to design and develop multichannel gaming. The attractiveness of cross-platform apps is increasing as more people prefer to stream their mobile games from their smartphones to their laptops and others.
To surge monetization and unlock lucrativeness, the industry will continue to shift towards deep-data analytics solutions that can offer gritty analysis and micro-segmentation, to optimize their game performance and extend tailored experiences as well as monetization pathways based on players’ in-game behaviors.