Guest post from Sonja A – Ed.
Social networking has dramatically changed the way mobile games are being designed, played and discovered. Less than ten years ago, the shift from asynchronous messaging and stable home pages to instant status updates and socially engaging interactive experiences on social networks pushed the rise of the web 2.0. The same change is currently ongoing in games. For game developers, this means new possibilities to gain better retail presence to drive downloads and revenue.
Whether it be fighting alongside your friends in Clash of Clans or sharing tips how to reach three stars on all levels of Angry Birds, gaming is more social than even. Mobile has brought games to the fingertips of everyone. The gamer is no longer just you and me; it can be your mom, a business traveler waiting for the next flight, grandma, or the little kid next door. Along the expansion of gaming audiences, game developers are facing the problem of all the time rising user acquisition costs and very limited retail presence for their games.
It doesn’t help at all that mobile application stores are full of high-quality games but only a fragment of those get featured. Instead of trying to beg and bribe the platform owners, or putting your money to banner ads, mobile video, cross promotion, community marketing, in-game advertising, free-app-a-day campaigns and similar, you might want to think of ways to leverage the crowd.
Emotions drive discoverability
Casual gamers do not queue outside game stores overnight to get the latest Call of Duty or read articles from gamer magazines. Casual gamers are the same rankers and raters that populate Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook. They stumble upon new games by learning from friends. They play only for seconds at a time and often do not even remember the title of the game, not to mention the developer.
According to this Nielsen study, Xbox gamers spend 84 hours on gaming per month. Mobile gamers spend only a little over 7 hours a month. It is much more difficult to get a mobile gamer to become engaged with a brand. That’s where emotions come in. Gaming is about emotions, and emotions are fuel for sharing. People share funny cat videos, engaging game play footage, victory moments and ridiculous jokes. These same basic motivational factors apply to games – when reaching a high score or passing a game on Veteran level, we want to share our achievements with the world. Emotions are instant. This means new marketing opportunities for game developers without paying big buck for it.
Games app drives discoverability for social games
Social games get additional visibility through the Games application on BlackBerry 10. This top 50 grossing games list is heavily populated by socially enabled games like 10 Pin Shuffle, World of Goo or Wacky Rapids. What’s even more interesting is that currently, nearly all socially enabled games are on the top grossing games list. That’s because every time a user reaches high score, achievement or completes a challenge, it will be posted to the timeline of the Games application and to the Popular games list for other gamers to see. Remember long tail?
Social has been the game-changer that the gaming industry was looking for. People who never played anything get hooked with fast-paced driving of Beach Buggy Blitz or flashy Fruit Blitz and start inviting their real-life friends, who then start playing too.
So, how do you leverage the crowd? The Games application on BlackBerry 10 is the social store window for all social games. All a developer needs to do is to integrate the social features provided by BlackBerry (Scoreloop SDK). That’s it. Check out the getting started guide for how to build Scoreloop into your BlackBerry 10 game.