Is developing games for cell phones a bad idea? study shows that most published mobile games are not as successful as expected, and are quickly forgotten.
Mobile Games Failures
All in all, the outlook for the mobile games industry looks rather bleak. A finding that emerges clearly from the recent study conducted by SuperScale. The study, widely circulated by the specialist media gamesindustry, reveals some worrying statistics: 83% of mobile games launched fail to make their mark on the market, failing within three years of release. Worse still, almost half – 43% – of these games are abandoned mid-development, a notable failure rate that underlines the challenges facing developers.
Struggling For Success
The SuperScale study, based on in-depth interviews with 500 game developers based in the UK and USA, highlights other significant trends in the sector. For example, it shows that 76% of games launched reach their revenue peak in the first year of their existence, while a tiny portion – just 4% – manage to reach this peak in their second year on the market.
Another notable statistic revealed by this study is that only 5% of games enjoy ongoing support seven years after launch, a fact that testifies to the difficulty of maintaining interest and support for mobile games over the long term, especially in a context marked by a high failure rate when launching new titles. The only games that manage to generate interest over the long term are those on which real money can be wagered, such as the slot machines and live roulette tables offered by this online casino.
The study also reveals developers’ attitudes and preferences in the face of these challenges. Over a third of them admit that the omnipresent uncertainty in the sector is preventing them from embarking on the development of new titles.
This difficult situation is also having an impact on the studios themselves, with two-thirds of studios surveyed having had to make redundancies, downsize or cut budgets to cope with these challenges. The findings of this study sound a wake-up call for the industry, but they also offer a source of inspiration and actionable data. Ivan Trancik, CEO of SuperScale, stresses that this information is crucial for developers and publishers, enabling them to understand how to maximze revenues from their portfolio of games, both new and existing titles.”
Yet a significant majority of developers – around 78% – express a strong preference for devoting themselves to the development of new mobile games, despite the challenges and uncertainties of the market. This trend reveals a deep commitment and passion for innovation and creation in the mobile game industry. However, this aspiration comes up against a complex and often discouraging reality.
Indeed, more than a third of the developers questioned in the study admit that uncertainty, a constant and omnipresent factor in the mobile games sector, hampers their ability to embark on the development of new projects. This uncertainty takes many forms, from market fluctuations to rapidly changing technological trends and user preferences, making it particularly difficult to plan and forecast future success.
A Wake-Up Call
This situation not only affects individual developers, but also has significant repercussions on the game studios themselves. The data collected indicates that two-thirds of the studios participating in the study have been forced to take drastic measures to adapt to these unstable market conditions.
These measures include layoffs, downsizing and, in some cases, severe budget cuts. These decisions, though difficult, are often taken with the aim of preserving the studios’ financial viability and adapting to an ever-changing economic environment. These adjustments reflect the complex reality of mobile game development, where the balance between pursuing exciting projects and carefully managing resources is a constant concern for studios.
The findings are a wake-up call for the industry, a source of inspiration with actionable data; they help developers and publishers know how to maximize revenue from their portfolio – for new and old games alike – Ivan Trancik, CEO of SuperScale.
More Players On The Market
If the data relayed makes most developers swoon, in recent years we’ve seen both large and small studios attempt to invest heavily in mobile. Just last year, Activision-Blizzard announced Warcraft Arclight Zumble, a Clash Royale-style mobile game that follows the release of another adaptation: Diablo Immortal. We were also treated to a mobile version of Call of Duty or Crash Bandicoot. In fact, after the colossal success of Pokémon GO in 2016, a host of other licenses found their way to mobile: Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp or even Mario Kart Tour, Metal Slug X, The Witcher: Monster Slayer, Fortnite Mobile, PUBG Mobile, etc. The reasons for this evolution on small screens are obvious:
In 2020, DFC Intelligence told us that out of 3 billion gamers, 44% were primarily mobile gamers. And by 2021, the mobile gaming sector was worth 82 billion euros, according to Newzoo. And that’s just as well, since mobile games are generally less expensive to develop and easier to monetize. But it’s hard to get a foothold in this prized field: last year, AppAnnie revealed a study of the mobile gaming market, according to which the Chinese market is totally controlled by Tencent and Alibaba Games. In South Korea, Netmarble has a virtual monopoly on the mobile gaming sector.