Tips for Creating Engaging Mobile App Games

Easy access to smart devices, especially smartphones, and many technological and socio-economic trends over the past decade have pushed mobile gaming to become the fastest-growing industry. The light touches of the fingers, the convenience of enjoying portable entertainment and many other factors make mobile games more popular than on-site console and computer games. Among the vast collection of games available on different platforms, it is critical for mobile app game development companies to make their apps appealing enough and attract a loyal player base. The monotonous gameplay and interactive difficulties certainly make players put down their phones and instantly delete your game apps from their devices forever. Some of the tips outlined in the article below will help you create a mobile game that engages users throughout the experience and motivates them to keep playing.

What makes people love mobile games?

Before diving deeper into the reasons users love mobile games, let’s take a look at the staggering numbers about mobile games.

In 2020, about 2.8 billion players chose mobile games, while this number with PC and console games decreased significantly. In 2020 alone, mobile games hit 80 billion downloads across platforms. The revenue of the mobile games segment is predicted by 2024 to be $220 billion approximately, accounting for nearly 60% of the worldwide game market.

The results of a recent small survey recently indicated that some user motivations for choosing mobile games include:

  • Compared to other entertainment mediums, mobile games are the perfect way to kill time and relieve stress.
  • Socially connecting with a community of like-minded people is more fun than regular non-targeted social interactions.
  • The feeling of success when conquering different challenges of the game, for example passing a difficult level or completing a milestone to unlock new features.
  • Feelings of satisfaction and pride when being praised and recognized on leaderboards or receiving badges.
  • Curiosity for newly updated content and features and expectation of a fresher experience.

What is an “engaging” game supposed to be?

There are many factors that make a game compelling or not. However, to be eligible, that element must trigger a measurable response from the user. With mobile games, two metrics are important and by which any game development company measures user satisfaction: engagement and retention rate.

Engagement is determined by the frequency and duration of interaction with your game, while retention indicates the number of users that return and stay loyal to your game over time. A few key performance indicators have been devised to reflect these two key metrics.

Daily active users (DAU) and monthly users (MAU) indicate the total number of users accessing and using the game application for 24 hours and a month respectively. Session duration and session frequency are considered to show the average of how long and how many times a day a participant really plays.

The numbers that have more depth in measuring users’ behavior and have development implications for game developers include ARPU, churn rate, and CLTV. ARPU allows businesses to calculate revenue earned on a user account over a given period of time, while CLTV is the total amount of money businesses expect to earn during their user lifetime on a game app. The churn rate illustrates the percentage of users who stopped using the game and did not continue to engage.

As such, an engaging game means it attracts high traffic and downloads with long average sessions, longer user account lifecycles, and low churn. These metrics and the correlation between them are what businesses can base on and take evaluation to come up with strategies to increase the attractiveness to their target customers.

How to create an engaging mobile app game?

Creating a game that is highly appealing to users requires developers to understand factors related to what target customers like as well as industry trends in game types, characters, gameplays, and so on. The following suggestions can be applied to attract customers and motivate them to interact more with the game:

1. Understand market segments and target platforms

Not only with mobile games, but with any product or service, you can only capture the market when you understand who your customers are, what they want, and their behavior. Before developing a game, you should carefully study the market trends and the audiences to choose the type of game that is likely to attract them. You should also be clear about the technical platform you’re going to deliver the game, to because no matter how interesting your game is, if it won’t work on the customer base you want to reach, it will never be used or interacted with.

2. A beautiful game interface

Hardly any player can resist downloading a game with excellent graphics with amazing effects. At least to try. So, depending on the type of game you choose to develop, invest in a good engine to support the appropriate graphics and animation.

3. Engaging storyline and gameplay

One of the most critical factors that determine how long players stay with your game lies in the story you create. As the virtual world in the game is a place where players can role-play and immerse themselves in it, there is no doubt that they keep coming back and playing.

4. Build a reasonable and detailed schedule

Your game should be designed with a detailed character roadmap by level, by chapter of the plot, and of course, you should display it intelligently. It’s like you allow players to set goals and encourage them to unlock the next stages. Make sure the challenges are well designed with the features offered at that level. However, that doesn’t mean that higher levels always have to be harder, and not too easy. For example, Candy Crush chooses a very smart solution when alternating tasks that are not too complicated before the player has to go through a difficult challenge.

5. Bonus, ranking, and badges

Create bonus points, trophies, and leaderboards to inspire players. No one refuses a compliment or a free benefit. Think about giving them vouchers to buy game accessories or unlocking boosters to increase their chances of winning.

6. Provide playable instructions

When designing a game, a set of player guides can be very handy. Usually, many players ignore instructions, but when they need it and you can’t provide it, it’s a disaster. Many games now offer basic instruction in a set of Guides in the catalog or tutorial videos while some other games integrate guidelines in gameplay and follow the flow of the story that will be displayed at each milestone or when a new feature is unlocked.

7. Social network integration

Social networks and forums are always great tools to connect players and let them interact with each other and share. Give your players the option to share with friends or chat and make connections right in the game. In addition, communities like fan pages will be a great connection channel between developers and players, to analyze behavior and offer motivational measures such as challenges, competition, etc.

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