Google says “the best game experiences emerge from insight-based innovations” and they’re not wrong, bar a few exceptions here and there. The mobile games continue to grow and evolve; the ACGR for the market is quite high despite some solid setbacks.
Google believes mobile game developers need the right insights to work with in order to grow their business and make gamers happy with great experiences. At this point comes “The 2022 Mobile Insights Reports” from Google for Games. This is the first report in a series of four, so keep an eye out for the upcoming report from Google to grow your business to the next level.
You can find the full report here, but we’ll drop a summary with key takeaways, you know if you don’t have all the time in the world to read through the whole report.
Design your game
Google says in order to scale up and grow your mobile game business, you need a strong but agile foundation, and this is built on up-to-date and reliable insights. The report had 23,364 participants voicing their opinions on various queries.
Mobile players usually start playing games when they feel bored (56%), have spare time at hand (53%), or when they want to relax (53%). Needing a break from school or work also stands out with 39%, one may combine this stat with wanting to relax, but it’s up to you to make use of these stats however you can.
Mobile gamers tend to play up to three different games at any given time, but most of them play two games at most. One interesting detail is, that playing three games at any given time has a larger base with 24% compared to just one game (21%), however, we don’t have data for previous terms, meaning it’s hard to come to any conclusion solely based on what we see here.
Quality localization is important
Mobile games designed with a local context in mind do better in specific markets, especially in the APAC region and Brazil. For instance, ZIMAD developers had to optimize their game specifically for the Chinese market to have a strong launch.
The report suggests over 50% of mobile gamers think localization is either extremely important (26%) or very important (32%). This is, of course, just one of the key factors to keep in mind and doesn’t reflect the whole picture.
Google’s report suggests there’s a significantly increased interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion. In fact, having wide accessibility options is becoming more and more important for mobile players without disabilities.
Launch your game
Having a successful launch is quite critical, in fact, it’s probably the most critical junction in regard to pushing out a successful title. Not a mobile game perhaps, but CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 strongly underperformed despite breaking pre-order records and is a great example of this case.
The launch is the moment when a player first comes across your game (unless you had an early access period or open alpha or beta stages) and here you have to deliver. Knowing how players discover your game and why they continue to play is crucial.
Per the report and to no one’s surprise Apple App Store and Google Play stand out as the main way how players discover new or upcoming mobile games with 37%, followed by ads on social media (35%) and ads in mobile games (34%). Friends of family recommendations also play a strong part in being discovered by mobile players (34%), closely followed by YouTube videos (33%).
Mobile players tend to look for games in the genres they’re already acquainted with (48%), but they tend to give something new a try if the game looks fun to play in the videos they come across (42%). An interesting story/narrative is another eye-catcher (41%). Friends and family recommendations (41%) play a key role again, and somewhat surprisingly good reviews come after all of the above with 39%.
Grow Your Business
According to the report, mobile game players prioritize spending their money on in-game currencies (34%) and unlocking special items (%30) or characters (%29). Customizing the appearance of an in-game avatar (29%) is also important to players.
All the data above can somewhat be considered under the in-game currencies (of course, not fully), given how most of the games use the in-game currency as a medium to allow players to obtain new items, characters, or cosmetics.
Players also show the tendency to make in-game purchases in order to progress more quickly, reach a personal goal, or have access to higher-quality content.
The interest in NFT-based games is low
Mobile gamers currently prefer interacting with games that offer cross-platform gameplay (32%) and cloud games (26%), meanwhile, there’s is a recognizable interest for games in VR and AR (22%). NFT-based games have a 19% interaction rate, ranking near the bottom of the table. It’ll be interesting to see how these games will rank come the next report.
Mobile players have a strong interest in Metaverse (39%) and they want to interact/engage with it the most compared to all the other types of games in the future. VR games follow the Metaverse with 30% and AR ranks third with 21%. The interest for NFT games is only at 16% for the time being.
Retain your community
Google approaches the player retention segment with two key insights: “What keeps mobile players interested in continuing to play a game?” and “What causes mobile players to quit playing a game?”
In both cases, the game being “fun” is the main takeaway. If the game is fun players stay loyal to the title in most cases, meanwhile if the game isn’t fun or stops being fun shortly after, the player leaves the game behind and seeks out new adventures.
Other key factors to keep a player invested in your game are having an engaging narrative, well-adjusted difficulty/challenges, and having the option to play with friends and family. Game-breaking bugs and too many ads scare mobile players away.
Social media and other types of socializing features also help build a loyal community. New events and keeping up with real-world trends also help retain your community immensely.