APP GUIDE 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES. The Complete Guide To Building Profitable Mobile Games in 2014

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1 APP GUIDE 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES The Complete Guide To Building Profitable Mobile Games in 2014

2 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 2 OVERVIEW This is our most comprehensive mobile game development guide to date and I m excited to show you the secrets used by highly successful mobile game development companies to optimise mobile games for maximum profitability. We re going to uncover monetisation strategies used in apps like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Clash of Clans, as well as marketing techniques used for deploying games on an international scale. All of this without any need for understanding complex computer jargon or programming capability. No Programming At All! We recommend that as you read this document you begin to plan how you re going to implement the individual strategies into YOUR game. Why Mobile Games? Good question. The simple answer is this: Of all apps in the Top 100 Grossing apps, 90% of them are games. That means games are the highest grossing apps on the App Store, period. And the goal here is to help you get into a place where you understand exactly how to take advantage of that opportunity. On a separate note, there is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH and any level of success you wish to achieve is EARNED through work and smart partnerships. If you have any questions please don t hesitate to contact us at Thanks and hope you are inspired by this. Kind regards, Logan Merrick ALL WORKS BUZINGA APP DEVELOPMENT 2013.

3 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 3 1 APPLE APP STORE First off we would like to shed some light on the Smartphone Market, to remove any question of which operating system (Android, ios, Windows, Blackberry, etc.) to develop for. At the end of 2013 Smartphone market share looked like this: MARKET SHARE 18% 6% 76% ANDROID APPLE BLACKBERRY & WINDOWS

4 TOTAL APPS DOWNLOADED ANDROID 50,000,000 APPLE 48,000,000 BLACKBERRY 3,000,000 TOTAL APPS AVAILABLE APPLE 900,000 ANDROID 800,000 BLACKBERRY & WINDOWS 120,000

5 So, is Android the greatest opportunity for mobile app development? Our research suggests otherwise: Canalys Apple s App Store made the largest share of revenue at 74 percent, compared to Android, Microsoft and Blackberry. ABI Research Apple is the top mobile app store, with Google second and Microsoft third. Apple s ranking is based on its market share and its approach to monetization. 5 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

6 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 6 2 What s MONETISATION the best way to make money from mobile apps? That s a great question because there are a few ways, but there s one particular strategy used by leading game developers in Top 10 Mobile Games IN-APP-PURCHASES This is a strategy for getting users to buy virtual goods within the app after downloading it. Big games like Clash Of Clans drive much more revenue from this than from an upfront payment because they are able to attract much more users. Offering packs of VIRTUAL-CURRENCY in your app, like Gems, Coins, Tokens, etc. at different pricepoints ranging from the classic $0.99 to a more ambitious $25.49 (or more!) is a great way to offer in-app-purchases products in your application. The user will buy your packages (e.g. 500 Gems, for $1.99) which helps them unlock content or upgrade characters, etc. within the game.

7 WHY THIS WORKS It s much easier to get users to spend virtual-money that has no real value than it is to get them to spend their actual money. So when users buy in-app-purchase products with real money the app has to get multiple confirmations from the user before the transaction can be made (Apple Developer Guidelines). This gives users plenty of opportunity to opt-out of making an in-app-purchase. But with virtual currency we don t need to get any confirmation at all. We get the users to transfer their real money into in-app-currency by purchasing our packages every now and again, and then we ensure that they have the ability to spend their in-app-currency regularly all by their own choice of course! BE CAREFUL Good in-app-purchases etiquette means that your users should never feel forced into spending their in-app-currency. It s a choice. Of course you can tilt the choice in your favour as much as you want by offering up incentives. 7 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

8 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 8 3 FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD STRATEGY Did you know that the majority of mobile games are FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD. And looking at the Top 100 Grossing Apps on the App Store, nearly every single app is a game, and nearly every single app is FREE-TO-DOWNLOAD. (See FREE-TO- DOWNLOAD-STRATEGY) WHY THIS WORKS By removing the barrier of entry (upfront payment) which weeds out 90%+ of your potential downloads you are able to open up the channel for a higher volume of FREE Social Media and Word of Mouth sharing. And the people who are now using your app who wouldn t normally have wanted to pay for downloading it are getting great benefit from it and may then want to share that with their network and/or give your app a 5-star rating on the App Store. All these actions culminate into higher download numbers which lifts your app in the App Store ranks and ultimately results in more downloads.

9 REMOVE BARRIER OF ENTRY = MORE DOWNLOADS & RATINGS = HIGHER ORGANIC LIFT 9 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

10 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 10 4 APP OPTIMISATION: ENVIRONMENTS, ELEMENTS & VARIABLES App Optimisation is the art of making micro changes to your existing app to increase user engagement/ enjoyment and create a higher conversion rate of certain actions, so that we can make more money. This is a slightly more advanced strategy and will forever change the way you look at mobile games. You will no longer look at the game as series of events, or at a Pause Screen as a simple screen with texts and buttons. You will begin to look at it all as a set of Environments, Elements and Variables. An ENVIRONMENT is a screen. Simple as that. It s a screen that consists of a number of ELEMENTS. A ELEMENT is anything that is located within an ENVIRONMENT. This can be a button, a set of text, a background, an image, etc.

11 A VARIABLE is a possible variation of an ELEMENT. For example, a change of colour, variation in wording, button shape, etc. There are certain actions that users can take within your app that will lead to you making money: A) In-app-purchase. B) Share to Social Media which results in more downloads and eventually leads to (A) In the ENVIRONMENTS where these actions are taken we need to identify the ELEMENTS. Each ELEMENT can be tweaked and changed to find out which VARIABLE produces a higher conversion rate of the ACTION that will make you money. The higher the conversion rate the more money you will make. 11 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

12 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 12 5 CAPITALISING ON HOT SPOTS A HOT SPOT in a mobile game is an environment where the user is at their hottest. It s a place where they are excited about your game. These are the most ideal places to present an in-app purchase, social media sharing option, app rating/review request, etc. A common HOT SPOT is right after a user has just finished a level. Hence why there is almost always a SHARE TO FACEBOOK OPTION in the level summary screen. Another popular way to use hot spots is to anticipate when and where users will need to access your In-App-Purchase options. E.g. if the user fails to complete a level it would be ideal to allow the user to buy an in-app-purchase that helps him pass the level for the next time they play. Try to anticipate where the Hot Spots are going to be.

13 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 13 6 REINVENTING OLD GAMES There s no need for reinventing the wheel by trying to design a new game genre. Look at supersuccessful games like Clash of Clans, Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga These were all games that took a game style that works, redesigned it with their own spin, and made squillions. And since the release of Clash of Clans there are new copy-cats using their exact idea with their own twist, and doing very well for it.

14 CLASH OF CLANS COPY-CATS: KEY TAKE-AWAY Find a popular game-style, ensure the space isn t too competitive by searching for competitors online and on the App Store. Decide on your own spin on the game with variations to graphics, etc. 14 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

15 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 15 7 READING MOBILE ANALYTICS With our ever dwindling sense of focus, it can be damn near impossible to keep a smartphone user engaged with your app But once you understand your users, i.e. what their favourite features are, where they re struggling and where most your downloads are coming from, you can start to make more educated decisions about how to update your app to make it more profitable. That s where Mobile Analytics comes in. ANALYTICS TOOLS In 2014 there s no shortage of mobile analytics tools that can help you identify the changes that will improve your users experience to keep them engaged.

16 16 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

17 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 17 8 APP STORE OPTIMISATION Did you know that 20% of app downloads are contributed directly to the search traffic on the App Store/Google Play? That means if you have an app, or about to develop an app, 20% of your downloads are going to come from organic search. So how can we increase downloads from organic search? APP STORE OPTIMISATION The term was coined by Ian Sefferman from MobileDevHQ to describe the process of optimising your metadata (title, description and keywords) on the App Store/Google Play to make it easier for your target smartphone users to find your application on the store. Click this link for a fantastic write-up by Ian on App Store Optimisation.

18 18 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

19 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES 19 9 ADDICTIVENESS The App Store is absolutely chocked up with all sorts of mobile game apps. Some of them are good, most of them are bad. So what is it that distinguishes a good game from a bad game, or a popular game from the-run-of-the-mill? And how can we harness the same tactics to make our own awesome game apps? Through Addictiveness Here s our 4 tips for building addictiveness into mobile games: 1) Every game should tell a story A mobile game without a story is boring. Pointless. Without a story, your users won t feel connected to your game. 2) It should be easy to use If you do nothing else apart from applying this tip you still have a great chance at developing a fantastic, engaging and profitable mobile game.

20 3) Gamify your game Using badges, titles and other achievements you can gamify your game even further. 4) Test & Tweak your gameplay Test it with several different people to ensure that the gameplay is intuitive. If it s not then you need to tweak it to ensure that it is. 20 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

21 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES SOCIAL CONNECTIVITY In the beginning of 2013 we were introduced to the commercial use of Mobile-Multiplayer which connects players over a WAN (wide area network) with other players from all over the globe. As predicted back then, this would be huge. The technology has been used by PC and console games for over a decade and was introduced to the mobile platform in late It was used by independent development company OMGPOP in the ios app epidemic Draw Something (2013) - which was later acquired by Zynga for $200,000,000. The multiplayer capability enabled Draw Something to expand quickly through their database of raving fans. With the growing demand for Multiplayer capability in suitable mobile games, more of the big players like Rovio (Angry Birds) and HalfBrick (Fruit Ninja) are jumping on board the Multiplayer-wagon with their latest titles. Multiplayer is bound to be one of the biggest opportunities of year 2014.

22 22 APP GUIDE : 10 TIPS TO BUILD PROFITABLE MOBILE GAMES

23 FEATURED IN: HOW BUZINGA CAN HELP YOU BUILD STUNNING MOBILE GAMES We re trusted by leading companies like Bupa Health Insurance, The George Institute, & Bounce Inc. to develop their cutting edge mobile applications and direct their mobile marketing strategy. DO YOU HAVE AN APP IDEA AND NEED SOME ADVICE? Give us a call: us: Logan & the team at Buzinga have been awesome! Buzinga have a real passion to make sure that your new App is a success and focus on everything from the development through to app marketing. Will definitely be back to get more Apps made soon! - DUANE HUNNAM, NT Australia

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