Creating a successful and profitable mobile phone application can be a daunting prospect, owing to the sheer magnitude and vastness of this market, with a choice of over 900,000 apps now available on iOS alone. This collection, which ranges from the downright silliness of the juvenile iFart to the sublime concept of sophisticated to-do-list, Clear, certainly validates Apple’s now infamous claim (recently appropriated and mocked in Android’s marketing scheme for its forthcoming operating system update, KitKat) that ‘there’s an app for that.’ So, how can your app survive and thrive in such an over-subscribed market? Simply stick to the subsequent formula to remove the threat of your brainchild plummeting into obscurity:
Candy Crush Saga, King.com’s casual gaming juggernaut is sweetly simplistic. Borrowing its style from the iconic Tetris and other similar games such as Bejewelled, Candy Crush is so popular because anybody (yes, even your mum) can pick up and play, its rudimentary mechanics and infinite levels able to keep users enthralled for either half an hour or several months. Don’t reinvent the wheel but put a spin (for example, a variation of theme or colour) on an old classic.
Without wishing to bang the Candy Crush drum any louder; it is hard not to become overwhelmed by its astonishing daily revenue of $850,000, a figure which should be music to the ears of every Freemium game developer. Yes, you didn’t misread that, Candy Crush is free to download and play but recoups finance from players resorting to any measure to beat the often infuriating game, and perhaps, more importantly, their friends. Whilst it may be available to play on smartphones, King’s wildly successful app built its popularity on Facebook with a delicious mixture of friend invitations, leader boards and friend donations that ignited rivalries and incessantly challenged users to wipe the smug grin of that office colleague who proudly resided 20 levels above them. Offer occasional in-app purchases to speed up player progression and get your app recognised in social media and, as evident, hungry gamers will spend their hard-earned cash in the name of competing with, and out-doing, their closest friends and fiercest enemies.
The way in which a developer connects with the player is perhaps more important than ever before, as, due to the virtual nature of the gaming industry, players often miss and crave the warmth and energy of human contact. This need is now being embraced by developers from all areas and adopted by Apple and Google in their respective intelligent automated personal assistants, iOS7’s iBeacons and Google Now. Establishing a more personal bond with the user, these helpful touches are ensuring that an owner’s smartphone is forever in sync with the individual. Specific gaming application examples include the humorous download error featured in the ‘Spice Up Your Words’ section of this article or indeed, Dojit’s own Notify service, both of which focus on generating engaging, relevant and vibrant messages to keep players and app users entertained and increase chances of retention. If you want players to invest in your app, make sure that you speak their language!
As a hefty number of mobile games on the App Store employ this model, it is hard to argue with the credentials of Freemium. Although placing an app on the market for free could be viewed as a major risk, if your game is founded on simplicity (in terms of content and accessibility), community (to inspire competition and rivalry) and features language and notifications that really speak to the needs of your user, in-app purchases and the monetisation of the casual player are virtually guaranteed. Constructing a profitable free app is a fine art but by following the recipe above, your chances will be maximised, the statistic that Freemium apps account for 75% of Android app revenue speaks for itself.
Prioritising simplicity and encouraging player-to-player interaction will prove integral to the establishment of a diverse and optimised consumer base for your application. Ensure to use incisive and witty language, in addition to high-quality graphics, to earn the loyalty, trust and appreciation of your players. Not every game will be prove to a Candy Crush or Farmville but these four basic rules will sweeten your customers and allow your consumership to blossom.