Although the realm of mobile computer games may seem far removed from most businesses, the fact some 20million UK residents are now using their smartphones as button bashing handheld consoles each month should not be overlooked by anyone. Least of all those looking to make a digital impact.
With 62.74million people living in this country, or thereabouts, any platform that has roughly one third of us engaged, with an almost equal split of men and women, is a powerful medium indeed. Especially with the staggering rate of growth experts are predicting for the future, and the wholesale increase in use already evident (with the population of British mobile gamers doubling since 2011).
According to the same study, which was conducted by comScore, 6.2million of that 20 use a mobile device daily in order to get their video game fix. And- perhaps not quite so relevantly for anyone outside the console development industry, but nonetheless interestingly- the majority of people using phones for this kind of fun do so whilst in their living room (watch out Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo).
Apparently titles dubbed as ‘freemium’, where the game costs nothing to download but charges users for added extras, are fuelling this exponential growth. Whether that proves to be a fad or not, clearly gaming habits are changing with every leap forward in smartphone and tablet technology, and it would be wise to consider how this can be adapted to suit a digital marketing model.
Firstly, it’s vital to get the traditional notion of what a computer game is out of your head. From a business perspective, entertaining, exciting, and engaging applications- which can be developed at a fraction of the cost of an individually coded computer game- are exactly the same thing. And, with the rate of app downloads on iOS, Android, Windows 8 Mobile, and BlackBerry at an all-time high, clearly there’s a captive audience interested in new releases.
But this also means it’s a saturated market, so the most important thing to consider before taking any action is whether or not you can actually add something worthwhile to the equation. Whilst most people with a 3 or 4G connection will be up for trying out a new icon on their mobile home screen, less will be bothered about output that isn’t well crafted, and doesn’t attempt to differentiate itself from the masses.
To put it another way, whilst multiple high-end racing titles can compete at £5, and find favour with different audiences suited to their often subtly unique selling points, companies are trying to create an immediate impact with their apps, and as such can’t wait for reviews. Word of mouth is what’s going to get more people joining the download line, and as such understanding your businesses position in the market, who the app should be aimed at, and what could possibly make it memorable in a marketplace full of similarly promotionally-minded releases is essential.