The Essential Steps For Mobile Games Success

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Todd Marks started growing Mindgrub in 2007 from his basement when the iPhone was first released. Since that time Mindgrub has grown to 50+ employees, made over 75 apps, and has learned a tremendous amount along the way. Last year, Mindgrub officially launched their Games division, and now has five titles available in the AppStore and Google Play.

In the early years, putting a cool game in the store was all you needed to do. Today, with millions of apps and games available for download, Mindgrub has found that there are six key ingredients to rising above the noise and creating a successful mobile game. In this presentation Todd Marks will discuss the steps taken when releasing a game in order to drive downloads, increase popularity, and get a ROI.

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  • Mid 70’s to Mid 80’s: Golden Age of Arcade games1980’s: Genre Action adventure, fighting games, interactive movies, Role playing games, scrolling platformers, scrolling shooters, light gun shooters, maze etc.1983 Nintendo1990- 4th generation consoles 16 bit1990- handhelds come of age1993 Fifth Generation consoles 64 bit1998-2000- 6th generation consoles2004-2011- 7th gen consoles2007 Nintendo Wii Capitalizes on casual gaming + iPhone comes out2011- present 8th gen consoles- Nintendo 3DS playstation vitaMobile handhelds like the PSP and DS were highly anticipated and then crushed by the low barriers and popularity of smartphone gaming.
  • Cheap to play- profitable to make
  • Whale and scrooge are indicative of the mobile gaming audience- Mobile games are becoming better because they’re becoming smarter with how they make money. Depending on quality of game- gamers are 3-6% likely to spend make an in-app purchase in a game. Since the mobile gamer class tend to be affluent, tying in app purchases with game progress can yield higher returns among the whales- while recouping costs among the minnows.
  • While casualgames become better in general (graphics, competitiveness, overall fun) they are also getting simpler not just to play- but to pick up and play on the go- there’s a difference and we’ll try to tackle that when talking about game design cues.
  • 3G connectivity makes it easier to start games with others, share games with others, or even play games with others in real time.
  • Similar to the early 80’s and 90’s with 8-bit and 16-bit games, we’re seeing genre innovation in Casual gaming. Due to new control mechanics and the democratization of game development (they’ve gotten easier to publish and program- iTunes) so there’s a constant evolution of new game ideas and concepts to advance upon.
  • Todd wanted me to talk a little about mobile game engines- I’m the wrong person to do it but can give some feedback on integrating designs  talk to our developers in the audience.
  • The Essential Steps For Mobile Games Success

    1. 1. The Essential Steps For Mobile Games Success Todd Marks CEO Todd.Marks@mindgrub.com @mindgrub
    2. 2. 2 6 Key Steps To A Successful App
    3. 3. Brief History
    4. 4. 4 Growth of the Gadget http://conmoz.org/mobile-trends/mobile-devices-3g/?lang=en
    5. 5. 5 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Genre Innovation Gaming Timeline
    6. 6. 6 Trends in Console Gaming • Graphics, Graphics Graphics • Deep Rich Storylines • Connectivity  MMO Massive Multiplayer Online Games • Life Beyond the Story: Unlocks, Replayability, Network Game play • Appeal to Hardcore Gamers
    7. 7. 7 Trends in Console Gaming • Graphics • Deep, Rich Storylines • Connectivity  MMO Massive Multiplayer Online Games • Life Beyond the Story: Unlocks, Replayability, Network Game play • Appeal to Hardcore Gamers
    8. 8. 8 Casual Gaming – Online Social Games
    9. 9. 9 Casual Gaming – Widening Demographics
    10. 10. 10 Casual Gaming – Socializing & Competition
    11. 11. 11 Mobile Gaming Explosion Low Barriers • Cheap- $1.07 and decreasing with freemium model • Freemium Model- roughly 3% spending on in-app purchases
    12. 12. 12 Mobile Gaming Explosion
    13. 13. 13 Mobile Gaming Explosion Simplicity • Game story • Controls/ Intuitive Play • Time & Length of levels
    14. 14. 14 Mobile Gaming Explosion Connectivity • 3G Connectivity- share or download a new game any time!
    15. 15. 15 Mobile Genre Innovation- Fragmentation?
    16. 16. 16 Mobile Genre Innovation- Fragmentation?
    17. 17. Production: What Makes a Good Mobile Game?
    18. 18. 18 Game Design and Mechanics Games tell a story • What is the setting? • Who is the hero? • Who is the villain? • What are the hero's desires?
    19. 19. 19 Game Design and Mechanics Cues • Visual • Audio • Dynamic
    20. 20. 20 Addicting Game Components • Make the game easy and fun • Lots of short levels • More content they can unlock • Depth- building up from a simple to difficult game play
    21. 21. 21 Appropriate Game Controls Controlsntrols • One touch/swipe controls • Multi touch controls • Gyroscopic Games
    22. 22. Popular Games
    23. 23. 23 Top Games as comment "M5" all on one scree • One touch controls • Virtual Currency • Great Graphics • Unlocks and power-ups
    24. 24. 24 Fruit Ninja • Simplicity • One touch control • Not many short levels but one continuous
    25. 25. 25 Where’s My Water Where’s My Water • Simple controls • Physics based interactions • Many short levels- increasing difficulty makes more interesting over time • Fantastic Character and level design
    26. 26. 26 Words with Friends Where’s My Water • 3G connectivity • Socialization • Human Connection- Drives Competition, Emotional Investment
    27. 27. 27 Temple Run • Continuous level-stats • Very easy controls that use smartphones well-swipe/touch accelerometer • Easy, Simple & Fast!
    28. 28. 28 Summary of Current Landscape
    29. 29. Mobile Game Engines
    30. 30. 30 Game Engines Corona SDK • Fast development time • Affordable when compared with a tool such as Game Salad • No Objective-C • Good support • No access to native API
    31. 31. 31 Game Engines Cocos2d • Ease of use • Speed through the use of OpenGL ES • Flexibility and simple integrations such as Box2D- and Chipmunk- based physics • Support from a large, friendly community
    32. 32. 32 Game Engines Unity for 3D • Open Source • Supports nearly all console and mobile platforms • Deferred Rendering- Creates rich 3D environments while saving maximum space
    33. 33. Monetization
    34. 34. 34 Mobile Gaming :: Scuba Adventures
    35. 35. 35 Download Cost
    36. 36. 36 Why Pay? – Clickz Stats • Expanded features and capabilities (77 percent) • Remove ads (44 percent) • Trial expired (35 percent) • To support the developer (22 percent) • Curiosity (16 percent)
    37. 37. 37 Mobile Ad Frameworks Google AdSense Millennial Media iAd AdMob Brightroll Greystripe InMobi Jumptap MdotMSAY Media ZestADZ
    38. 38. 38 “Freemium” • Free To Play. Costs to unlock additional content • Apple, Android and Amazon all Keep 30% • Barnes and Noble most likely will do the same
    39. 39. 39 Subscription • Similar to Freemium which uses and In-App Purchase • Apple, Android and Amazon all Keep 30%
    40. 40. Distribution
    41. 41. 41 Distribution • iOS Apps Must go into the App store • Amazon and Kindle Apps must go into their respective stores • Google Apps can be distributed a number of different ways including Email, posting on website and several 3rd Party distribution channels. • 3rd Party Distribution Channels include: Amazon, GetJar, AppBrain, Appsfire
    42. 42. User Acquisition
    43. 43. 43 iPad Applications : GEICO Glovebox
    44. 44. 44 Case Study :: Escape From Detention
    45. 45. 45 User Acquisition • Can no longer just stick it in the store • Good SEO practice with Social Media Marketing • Dark Art of “App Store Optimization.”
    46. 46. 46 Submission To The Store
    47. 47. 47 Mobile Marketing Steps to Measure ROI 1) Establish - a Baseline to measure results 2) Create an Activity Timeline Activites, Social Data, Web Data, Transactions 3) Monitor – Sales Revenue How often customers make transactions. How many customers you are reaching. How much customers are spending. ROI = Cost of Investment (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment)
    48. 48. 48 How Do They Find It – Clickz Stats • Categories (57 percent) • Search (57 percent) • Featured - new (52 percent) • Top 25 overall (52 percent) • Features - what's hot (48 percent) • Featured - personalized recommendations (e.g., Apple's Genius) (18 percent) • Ads in other apps (12 percent)
    49. 49. Engagement & Retention
    50. 50. 50 Engagement & Retention
    51. 51. 51 Analysis • Flurry • Google Analytics • Appboy
    52. 52. The Future of Games
    53. 53. 53 Last Month- Convergence
    54. 54. 54 Convergence- Bigger, Better, Faster, Social • Social/Network game play • Upgrades in hardware • Network Upgrades
    55. 55. 55 Convergence- Location Based Mobile Social
    56. 56. 56 Convergence- AR Games
    57. 57. 57 App Gear- “Amplified Reality”
    58. 58. Questions? Todd Marks President & CEO todd.marks@mindgrub.com @mindgrub

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