Mobile gaming has come a long way since the days of Nokia 3310’s “Snake”, the first blockbuster mobile game in history. Not only have we gone from monochromatic “dumb” phones to smart ones that work as pocket computers, but technology has allowed game developers to up the ante considerably in terms of graphics, game complexity, user interaction, and even the addition of augmented reality and virtual reality elements to their games, in order to compete in the huge (and hugely competitive) mobile game developing industry.
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Most importantly, unlike the times of Snake when a phone would come with only a couple of pre-installed games you could either choose to play or ignore altogether , modern mobile users now have a practically endless catalogue of “free” mobile games available for download at the touch of a button, many of which are aimed at learning. While this is certainly a perk for players, it does present game developers with a problem that is not particularly easy to tackle: How do you get players to continue playing your game, instead of playing it once and uninstalling/forgetting about it?
Obviously, making sure the game is properly QA’d is important to catch any disruptive flaws with the gameplay, but the true answer lies in User Experience, or UX. UX takes into consideration the insights received from the feedback of first time players, and allows developers to tackle important questions such as what they like and dislike about the game, what usability issues they encountered and what it would take for them to want to play the game again.
This process needs to start out long before the user is even playing the game: From the first impression the game makes on the users in the App store. Making sure the screenshots, videos, and description properly hype up the game is crucial to setting yourself apart from the pack, just as having a good reviews is as well.
Once the user has actually installed the game and tried it out for 10-15 minutes, it’s a good time to get feedback regarding the navigation, game mechanics, goals, and the game economy or point system. It is also important to get feedback on the game’s tutorial, to make sure it properly prepares players for the gameplay.
Finally, it’s important to determine in what environment users see themselves playing this game in, whether the game has a social component where they will enjoy playing with friends, strangers or by themselves, and what it would take for them to recommend other friends to play it too.
Mobile game developers like Blizzard Entertainment have been particularly good at using mobile experience testing in the creation of massive hits like Hearthstone, where they seamlessly took the gameplay of card based strategy games and adapting it to a mobile platform with impeccable style. Providing players with an intuitive gameplay experience, a HUD containing clear key information, and animations and sound effects that elevate the experience beyond anything that the card games could possibly offer, Hearthstone has managed to recruit an astounding 70 million+ players worldwide as of May 1st, 2017.
User experience has not just been a concern mobile gaming developers, but also for iGaming developers as well. iGaming, or online gambling, has been around since the dawn of the internet, but they have really come into their own with the advent of mobile betting. With nearly every major casino developing their own sportsbetting and casino games platform, it is now more important than ever to provide players with a user friendly, instinctive and exciting experience that will keep them coming back for more.
Ninja Casino has proved itself to be a standout player in the mobile betting market, going to great lengths to provide users with the most intuitive and hassle free mobile experience possible. To this end they have introduced a system where players don’t need to register – or even provide an email or phone number! – in order to place their bets. By allowing the option for customers to link directly bank account to transfer funds using a trusted vendor, they can allow customers to deposit with the touch of a button, as well as giving them the unique option to receive cash outs within 15 minutes – some of the fastest in the business.
With gamblers being notoriously private people who dislike providing their information and favor a slick interphase and fast money transfers, these mobile experience innovations have not just set them apart from their competition and won them over countless new clients, but also earned them the 2017 EGR innovation award to show for their efforts.
While the gaming and iGaming industries continuing to grow at exponential rates and the competition getting fiercer by the day, one thing is absolutely clear: Developers must place a focus now more than ever on listening to their clients and adapting to their mobile experience needs if they are to be successful in an already overly crowded industry.