iPhone and Android mobile games make more money than their console and PC twins. With the online gaming industry continuing to win favor with the masses, let’s look at where mobile games development in Singapore is headed and what developers should keep in mind to design engaging mobile games.
What are the trends fuelling game app development in Singapore?
The Internet of Things (IoT) was instrumental in making video games accessible on mobile phones. Today, you can download any game on the App Store or Google Play Store and enjoy realistic graphics, connect to players across the world, and have a truly immersive gaming experience. On a slightly different note, game app development for mobile can also be credited for encouraging strategic thinking and improving cognitive flexibility. Studies have shown that those who played complex video games performed well on post-game psychological tests.
Since IoT, mobile gaming has kept pace with technological developments. Some of the key mobile game development trends are as follows:
Cryptocurrency-based and NFT games
Mobile games have started integrating crypto into their gaming economies. These are the play to earn (P2E) games that reward players by paying them in cryptocurrency or digital tokens. In other words players can actually gain monetarily through their gaming skills or the extent to which they participate in the games.
When players earn cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by winning at a mobile game, then they become the owners of those digital assets. Some games allow an exchange of in-game digital tokens for stablecoins on cryptocurrency exchanges. They can be converted to fiat currency or traded or sold on online marketplaces.
Games make money through the sales or advertisements of in-game products such as weapons, skins or virtual lands. Games development companies also incentivise players to spend more hours on their games by paying them in NFTs or crypto for completing quests. There are also mobile games that allow players that collect crypto to wager their currency on casino games.
Venture capitalists continue pouring millions into blockchain-based products and services. NFT games development is therefore attractive to developers and mobile app development companies seeking VC funding. NFT games also create an additional revenue source, apart from ad monetisation, in-app purchases and one-time payments – developers may charge players a transaction fee when they sell or exchange an NFT.
Advancements in speech technologies have led to voice-controlled games, which allow players to command characters and interact with other players through voice commands. Voice control is a trend that games development companies are watching keenly. It could be a way to make mobile games more accessible to visually impaired people. Also, some players may prefer the convenience of voice commands to convey information over the sense of touch.
The 2016 smash hit Pokemon Go was an example of the power of augmented reality in delivering an incredibly immersive and interesting mobile gaming experience. Players have a vast variety of AR games for Android and iOS to choose from, and all they need are their smartphone to play within a real-world environment, on the go. The trend of developing AR games for smartphones and tablets will continue unabated in 2023 and beyond.
With mobile VR sets becoming more and more accessible, game app development has also shifted to exploring exhilarating, otherworldly experiences on simple mobile phones. Some of the best VR games out there include BAMF VR, Hidden Temple VR Adventure, VR Noir, Rec Room, and Acron: Attack of the Squirrels.
The incorporation of AI in game development has gained steam because the technology allows developers to build more exciting and challenging games. For example, non-player characters (NPSc) in mobile games can be controlled by artificial intelligence. NPCs can be introduced to advance the storyline or as game functions to save points or health regeneration points. Mobile games development in Singapore can be expected to explore AI to bring a new level of intelligence to gaming.
Increasing social features in mobile games
Mobile games are an outlet for socialisation. Mobile gaming is a community, and players have the opportunity to digitally connect with one another from the comfort of their homes. The other social dimension is competing with friends and sharing your progress. So, it’s not surprising that games development companies are paying attention to the prospect of adding social features to their games.
Gaming socialisation and collaboration can happen in different ways:
- In-game chats
- Guilds, in-game communities in which players can exchange resources, collaborate or compete as a group
- Players can send each other lives/energy, in-game currency, and items or characters
- Leaderboards encourage competition and self-improvement
- Social push notifications
Game app development principles
Engaged mobile app users creates value in many ways – they watch in-app ads, complete surveys, install apps to earn in-game virtual currency awards. What goes into developing an app that has a positive and profound impact on users? Well, it boils down the first principles of game app development. Here’s a brief look at mobile app development principles. A detailed article on the topic can be found here.
1. Achieve the perfect cognitive flow
A number of cognitive skills come into play when playing mobile games. They include visual and auditory processing, logic and reasoning, long-term and short-term memory and attention. Achieving the perfect cognitive flow is about making the user feel one with the activity so that they continue engaging with it. In the mobile gaming context, it has to do with helping the player find a balance between their skill and the tasks at hand, making the game both challenging and rewarding enough for them.
Strategies include having clearly defined goals for the player at every level, mission and task, sticking to the rules or changing them gradually, and offering players timely and relevant feedback, to name some. In the absence of these strategies, players will likely find the game too easy and get bored quickly or too difficult and give up.
2. Create a simple interface
Successful games have a great user interface, which contributes to an engaging user experience. The interactive elements a player will use assume a lot of importance in game app development. In this regard, a fundamental principle is to simplify your interface by ensuring that players don’t have to deal with excessive details and information. If a text or icon adds no meaning or doesn’t help the user in any way, it shouldn’t feature in your app. Any button or detail that can confuse the player and needlessly complicate the game design shouldn’t make it to the final version of the app.
3. Understand complexity and simplicity at a granular level
What is complex for one player is simple for another. Game app developers plan their design with the recognition that every player is unique. An understanding of the game’s target audience is the first step to determine the level of complexity or simplicity required. The length of a mobile game also comes into play. Mobile games are shorter and simpler than their console counterparts. Mobile games have a certain number of minimalist levels before they introduce some measure of complexity. Having vertical levels challenges skillful players. Smart game app development should have simple tasks at early levels to capture attention and then engage the more capable players through global game goals.
4. Give feedback on players’ actions
Mobile games take players into an imaginary world of UI elements. Players’ physical actions such as clicks or taps will lead to a corresponding result on screen. Sometimes, the response may be difficult to decipher. Offering a response as feedback would make things clear. For example, the color of a target changing to green or white to indicate that it has frozen in response to player’s click or tap. A glow, highlight, change in color or vibration can also provide helpful feedback and avoid confusions.
Mobile game developers will have their hands full with opportunities to create the next big game that proves to be a money-maker and attracts legions of fans. An evaluation of mobile gaming trends and technologies impacting the gaming sector will be essential to create successful games. Game app development based on fundamental game design principles will be crucial to convert a fresh idea into a hit title.