Developing games for any platform involves severalset stages, resource requirements, and time and budget constraints.Regardless of a game’s budget or timeline, developers always have conditions to adhere to. Mobile game development, just like development for PC or consoles, is an intricate process, but with specific factors that other platforms usually don’t need to be concerned with.
The mobile game development space has evolved rapidly in recent years, with modern mobile devices’ ability to produce exceptional visuals and in-depth game mechanics. Despite this, there are important considerations to bear in mind when developing, or indeed porting a title to, mobile platforms.
Mobile Device Capabilities
Compared to modern consoles and PC platforms, mobile devices don’t have the raw power to output graphics on the scale of AAA titles. Mobile games have evolved rapidly since their early days as simple puzzle games, but their sheer processing power can’t compare to modern platforms. Though mobile titles tend to be smaller in scale, ports of acclaimed titles from years past are becoming increasingly popular, such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the ever-popular Fortnite.
When developing mobile titles, it’s crucial to remember how players will be interfacing with your games. Unlike their console and PC counterparts, the vast majority of mobile games need to make use of touchscreens and limited screen space. There are more options than ever to use controllers and other peripherals for mobile games, but they must be developed for touch screens first and foremost. Further to this, mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes, therefore mobile games need to be optimized for a wide range of screen sizes and operating systems.
The usage of screen space becomes important when thinking about UI and interacting with the game. If, for example, it’s a 3D action title, an overlay simulating analog sticks will need to be used for players to control the protagonist. Control schemes for consoles and PC are refined, and there is a tried and tested formula that works for most genres. Still, for mobile game development, there is a further challenge in creating an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing layout.
Advantages of Mobile Game Development
From the development side, through our years of experience working on mobile game titles, we’ve seen that mobile game development can be low-investment. As we previously mentioned, mobile games are limited by the processing power of mobile devices and are generally smaller in scale compared to PC and console games, meaning that they often can be made with smaller budgets. Additionally, mobile game development platforms can be much cheaper to acquire compared to high-end engines like Unreal Engine 5 and Unity.
User expectations of mobile games are something to bear in mind. Shorter gameplay sessions are generally expected from mobile titles, with a few exceptions. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to craft your gameplay mechanics around quick rounds of gameplay. The recent smash hit, Marvel Snap, takes advantage of this with its lightning-quick battles against other players. If your core game idea lends itself to rapid gameplay, players will be more likely to keep engaging with your title
Mobile Game Success and Monetization
Mobile games can present an opportunity for ample return on investment, with relatively low initial costs. The industry has seen enormous growth in recent years and is projected to grow exponentially for years to come. With such a massive potential audience, a well-made mobile title can gain massive exposure and revenue. There’s a risk that mobile games can go unnoticed due to the market being so huge, but there is every chance of success with a great idea that’s well executed.
A large portion of the mobile games industry’s revenue can be attributed to monetization strategies, especially microtransactions. In-game stores selling cosmetic items and power-ups are commonplace in mobile games and have proven to be very successful. Players can use them to help tailor their experience by making the gameplay easier or customizing their characters. Allowing players to meaningfully change their experience with microtransactions can be mutually beneficial for both the player and the game creator.
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