Factors which may affect your HTML5 mobile games success.

Factors which may affect your HTML5 mobile games success.

I’ve been wondering what are the reasons that some games are successful, and some are not. Major studios with huge budgets usually prevail, because they have experienced people, better promotion, marketing, and usually known brand. But there are also indie studios which take a huge risk by making an original product, and in some cases it pays off.  There must be something they do, or they avoid. Since we are HTML5 games developers, let’s focus on our area. Even though this niche is still young, we see a growing number of HTML5 mobile games lately. There must be some factors which could help those game to become as appealing as the natives are now, or even more interesting. Is that possible? What should we remember, and what should we avoid? I’ll try to find out below.

The facts, reality, things we should avoid.

According to BGR A company can have a hit one day and then the next day it’s suddenly worth nothing as bored users flee en masse”. This risk is also connected with customers behaviors which can be ” (…) the major nail in the coffin for most social games“. Why? Because for example 85% of social gamers do not return after their first day. Why is that happening? There are simple reasons: boredom, using too much schematic gameplay, repetition of tasks, lack of content updates, bad graphics, or wrong target group. The clearest summary of above are words of John Riccitiello, chief executive of gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts:Consumers won’t pay for crap (..) Bad entertainment ultimately will not prevail (..) great gaming starts with a great gaming experience, and if you lose sight of that, you ultimately will not have a business (..) It’s not a great game mechanic to grind for a half hour and then spam 500 of your best friends to get a shovel. That’s not entertaining”. We are also aware that in this moment many mobile HTML5 games still lack quality of code, they have bad graphics, or are just medicore in all aspects (along with gameplay). But even if we have a good game that would sell, we need to have good source of traffic and promotion, we need to find ways to keep players coming back for more with a feeling of insatiability. Let’s focus on couple things that could help do it better.

Monetize well. There has been many articles explaining best ways to monetize HTML5 games. I’ll just make a short summary of which models may work best now and in a near future:

  • License fee – a simple deal, where a distributor/publisher buys out exclusively, or non-exclusively a license to distribute a game.
  • In-game advertisements – find a network which has in-game adds support, but ensure this network will provide traffic, and good revenues.
  • Freemium (In App Purchases) – still young solution for HTML5 games, but try to experiment, it may work well in future.
  • Subscription based revenues – seems to be very interesting, player pays for time access to games for small fees, and publisher shares revenues with developer.

Distribute wisely. We should find a deal that will bring enough revenues, avoid networks that are sub companies or cooperators of major publishers. If we have a great product – we should reach the biggest networks directly. Showing a quality product will for sure make publishers interested, because major companies are looking only for polished games, which they would review as highly profitable. According to business models shown above we should also have games fitting the publisher networks, and their business approach. Simple example: arcade game without IAP will not work with freemium based network, but if it has nice gameplay, it may give nice traffic, and will work well with ads or subscription systems. Good idea is also building a standalone version of your popular games, of course the pain will be promotion if you do not have budget. But good HTML5 game may be spread quickly on mouths, or through links by many gamers.

Let’s make a good design.

It’s up to us honestly. We could go two ways: make easy, simple and nice looking casual games, or social fun for hardcore experience. Social gamers are more demanding nowadays, and getting game invites won’t be as entertaining as team dungeon exploration. Type of game also depends on budget and resources we have at the moment. Success of game, and financial profits will only depend on how well we will plan our work. I think it is much better to make a prototype, plan all levels, give us some patience and time in production, than just do something almost random in 1-2 days, and add an awful graphics. Let’s be honest, that won’t work. As an example I found a Design Rules For Free To Play Games – they may be really helpful in gaming production.

Ideas for games? We should look everywhere, and get inspired by anything original and interesting. Having something risky, original may pay off much better than another clone of farming game. Example? Check out Artemis, a 6 players game, where you and your friends work together to defend space stations from enemies. Now… we have limitations, but would that be possible in crossplatform HTML5 game? I think yes, and would be a great fun for hardcore gamers. Of course it requires different approach, but gameplay, rules and idea is a fantastic way to go.

That’s why should give gamers better experience and fun. We should motivate them to play, and we should avoid dull schematics.  We have one great advantage over natives – a CROSSPLATFORM gaming experience. I think we should focus on that. Example given above is great base for a good, possibly successful mobile game. It may be much more interesting to have chance to play with friends on various devices, to cooperate and compete/fight with them. Let’s ask ourselves a question: do we want gamers to be happy with our product? Then first of all we should make a game that would give us a lot of fun.

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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