Our team attended the Casual Connect 2018 conference last May, explored the casual gaming industry and its latest trends and gained some interesting insights. I had a chat with Yonatan Zvik, Ilyon’s Head of Casual Games, who shared the hot topics and tips for mobile game developers.
Building a Supportive Community
One of the main topics discussed at Casual Connect was publishers’ relationship with their users and the importance of building a supportive community around your game, that will grow organically. Many companies have realized that communication with their users is crucial and they often conduct different tests, before starting to work on a big project (surveys, video tests, etc.).
As game developers, it is also important to reach out to all type of players, both paying and non-paying users, and figure out how to maximize their gaming experience. The most important tip I received, was to be attentive to your users and to treat them as part of your family, your community. Be transparent with your users and invest in customer support. Listen to their feedback and implement good ideas suggested by them to strengthen users’ sense of connection with the game further. This way, game developers will be able to build a supportive and engaged community for their game.
Women in Gaming
The mobile market continues to grow, as well as the number of female players. More and more women show interest in gaming, not only as players but also as part of the gaming industry. Women prefer mobile over PC or consoles, as it is a more accessible platform, which enables playing anytime and wherever. Major companies realize that they have to focus on building more inclusive games that will appeal to a diverse audience and to adapt their games for both male and female audience to enjoy. Last but not least, the industry seems to be taking a significant step to support women developers and to incorporate women in key positions in the industry, to broaden their market outreach.
Breaking Into the Asian Market
Many western developers who have tried to enter the Asian market have failed. Although Asian users are now starting to open up to western games and apps, there are certain things developers have to do to ensure a higher chance of success. They need to study the different market and cultural preferences, localize the game so that players can understand the in-game text and build optimal marketing and monetization strategies. Launching a game abroad is undoubtedly a challenge, so in many cases, it can be helpful to cooperate with local companies to better understand the market and learn its requirements and demands.
Facebook Instant Games
Besides the fun element that draws people to mobile games, many players enjoy the social aspect of playing against others, participating in different contests and sending each other lives, invitations, and cool in-game items. Instant Games, Facebook’s new platform that allows people to play games without having to download them from the app stores, provide this extra social element. It is a helpful tool for publishers to build an organic audience and to add a PVP (player vs. player) experience to their games. People can share their scores, play with friends and compete in different contests and challenges. It helps improve user retention and to reach a broader audience on social media platforms.
Live game operations are ways to introduce new content and updates to players. Developers can add time-based challenges, weekly quests, in-game events and sales to keep users engaged and to reach a wider audience. What’s great about it, is that after every update, developers can track all the actions made in the game, analyze the behavior of users and decide how to implement the results and what to improve next.