Children are generally the first to adopt new technologies. With $21 billion in worldwide sales in 2014, game developers, brand holders, as well as toy companies are avidly trying to connect with this tech savvy and lucrative deomographic. Director of Research and Consumer Insights for SuperData Research, Stephanie Llamas spoke at Casual Connect USA about the current landscape for mobile games for kids. She identified the most important drivers of change in this market and also deciphered the early signs of what’s to come. One example she shared was that kids make up almost 8% of the worldwide mobile market. She explained, “We see that the kids games are fueled by developed markets like the US . . . We expect in maturing markets to see slow and steady growth in the kids realm.”
Recent fundings have shown the HTML5 games market is booming. At Casual Connect USA, Alexander Krug, CEO of Softgames, presented the latest trends and untapped opportunities in HTML5 games. He observed, “HTML5 is some very incredible technology. It is changing the way our users can consume games or content in general . . . They can play it basically everywhere, anytime that they want . . . In the HTML5 ecosystem, casual games are very dominant right now.” To hear more about HTML5 market, tune in below.
Using examples from the development of Halfbrick’s Bears vs. Art, Layton Hawkes, former Game Designer for Halfbrick Studios, explored the tension between the logic driven and the chance-based, randomized elements in puzzle design. Halfbrick found these elements influenced a player’s perception of difficulty, critical decision-making, and their experience of frustration and achievement. Tune in to his talk from Casual Connect USA and find out how to create more compelling puzzles by balancing logic and chance effectively. One of the ways to do that that Layton described during his talk was in understanding some psychology. “Frustration and aggression increase in what (psychologists) call the attribution of blame. Simply, this is where the blame lies when someone is obstructed or prevented in their efforts to attain a goal.” He advices to find the frustration your users are having and reduce the unexpected failures they often encounter. To learn more, tune in below.
There are thousands of work for hire studios that account for more than 30% of the games in the app stores. By observing hundreds of studios in our community, CEO of SOOMLA, Yaniv Nizan, was able to find one key element that differentiates the successful ones from the struggling ones. In this video from Casual Connect USA, learn how to build demand for your services and get high margin projects for your studio. One of his suggestions for a work for hire studio is to create leaderboards to promote competition. He explained, “We are not talking about game leaderboards. We are talking about rating other things in the ecosystem, creating top 10 this, top 10 that.” As an example, “Our top 10 Unity Games blog post drives about 10% of the traffic into our blog and we just did this by researching the web, aggregating the results, doing a survey on reddit and posting it.”
So, you’ve just finished your casual game. Spent 6 months of development, setup social media channels, and gathered contacts. It’s going to be awesome! Your head is buzzing: acquisition, discoverability, monetization, retention rates. Yet, you’re stuck with a limited budget and the challenge to find and attract players. You need this to be a hit! Yup. I’ve been there. What if you could get valuable insight from players after only one day of development? Bart van den Berg, Co-founder and CEO of Blue Giraffe presented a postmortem at Casual Connect USA on how they use focus testing, play testing and bonded with players over prototypes. He advised,”Start playtesting from concept. Players love the connection, give great feedback and evangelize your game!”
In a continuation of his talk from Casual Connect’s conference in Asia earlier this year, Dr. Serkan Toto, Founder and CEO of Kantan Games spoke at Casual Connect USA about the possibilities the world’s largest mobile gaming market offers to foreign developers. He highlighted the size and structure of the Japanese game landscape, key differences to the West, efficient modes of entry for foreign game makers, and successful case studies from the past. “If you are a foreign game developer, the first thing you need to understand is that it’s an extremely mature and sophisticated market already”, he said.
My N. Tran is a San Francisco Bay Area-based game designer who currently works for Storm8. My also conceived and launched the24bit.com, a site which celebrates the game developer lifestyle. In a recent talk at Casual Connect USA, My gave a talk entitled Retention! Retention! Retention! She highlighted ways to get players to come back again and again. She stressed, “Without our users, what’s the point? Retention is everything within our industry.” She also added, “I know empirically when you convert a nonpaying user into a paying user, you increase their lifetime retention by four times.”
Have you ever wondered what gives the top 50 that edge in the app store? At Casual Connect USA, Amazon’s Developer Evangelist Mike Hines revealed the how and the what the top 50 do differently than other developers. Amazon has collected data about how users engage with IAP in games, and we have reviewed how the most profitable apps are using IAP to monetize successfully. Among many insights derived from this data, Mike shared, “We found that users who have been with your app for 30 days are likely to spend 60% more on each in app purchase than they were on day zero. This is a great reason to care about all those users who stay with your apps after day seven.” For more actionable data from his session, tune in below.
Join the CEO & Co-founder of Playlab Jakob Lykkegaard as he spoke at Casual Connect USA last August. He talked about how Playlab manages their internal teams in Bangkok and Manila with data and how they have created an internal economy to give game teams and producers freedom to pick while still keeping accountability and high creativity alive. He also touched on how Playlab is scaling this way with help from external game teams. He iterated, “Vietnam and Malaysia are South-East Asia’s fastest growing markets for mobile gaming and revenue.”
The mobile business has grown up. It’s no longer about great ideas and innovation, but about establishing real business. Investors and shareholders have to invest much more in order to scale up the business and as a result, their due diligence is much more extensive. A great game with a superb user experience is critical but it’s only the first milestone. In Itay Rokni’s lecture, Apponomics delivered at Casual Connect USA, you can learn the answers to questions like: What should the mobile players present to the market? Should you go after venture capital or private investor? How to establish a concrete business model? Remember: “Mobile users get bored all the time. What works now may be working now is not ensured to be working 6 months from now. Always keep innovating.”