Recently, Super Mario Run set a new record. With 40 million downloads, it was the most downloaded game on the App Store in 24 hours. But in a recent interview, Nintendo's CEO revealed that the game was a $$ disappointment. What is going on with the mobile gaming industry?
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Over the years, mobile game developers have faced quite a challenge: keeping their game on users' mobile phones. There are several factors to consider. While the Freemium business model has made it easier to acquire games, market saturation has killed consumer interest.
Adobe's latest report found that mobile games are the most “abandoned” (deleted) type of app by users after just a few weeks.
This revelation did not come in isolation. Another report from another company, App Annie, concluded that a game loses 90% of its download potential after 17 weeks. In other words, after the novelty wears off, few people download the game.
The life cycle of a mobile game began to shorten, and the window of opportunity to gain users became smaller and smaller. Couple that with the quick abandon (uninstall) of a free game, the level of concern for a mobile release has never been higher.
To make things even more complicated for developers, Google announced a system to test games and apps without having to download, which would make downloading games even more difficult. But there's a bright side to that, we'll get to that soon.
– Who is in charge of this change?
To understand this change, it is necessary to know who is in charge of the market: consumers. Generation Z (born around 1990 and 2000) has a much lower attention span than the previous generation.
Research commissioned by Microsoft suggests that the attention span of ultra-connected humans is already shorter than that of goldfish.
The survey was conducted in Canada and involved 2 people. They answered questions and played online games to assess their ability to concentrate.
In the year 2000, the human attention span was, on average, 12 seconds. In 2013, this capacity dropped to eight seconds – one second behind the average attention span estimated by scientists of a goldfish (!!!).
“Canadians with a more digital lifestyle (those who consume more media, consult multiple screens at once, social media enthusiasts, and those who adopt technology earlier) have difficulty focusing in environments where prolonged attention is required. Because? Due to the adrenaline of what is new”, the researchers suggest.
In this context, a novelty (a new free game), when downloaded, is seen as a test for the user. Taking this study into account, a game has exactly eight seconds to convince the consumer. If it fails, the game is uninstalled to free up the increasingly limited space on our smartphones.
People download the free games of the moment for fear of losing the “vibe”. But after testing, the game is uninstalled within a few weeks. Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run were mega download successes, but they were uninstalled at the same speed. Both are examples that the viralization of a game does not guarantee the expected profit.
– Technical and behavioral aspects of this change
Saying exactly what is causing people to uninstall games is difficult, but it is possible to enumerate (kick) a few things that are easily noticeable. Although no studies verify the scenarios below, we see these situations daily.
- Greater amount of basic and intermediate devices.
- The overwhelming majority of devices have little storage space for downloads.
- Messaging apps consume more and more space (Whats for example, can become a voracious consumer of internal space).
- It has become a common consensus that downloading many games (they are running in the background) can slow down your cell phone.
– The positive side of the story: the maturing of the market
There is a positive side to this story, you know what it is? Consumers are more demanding. It's no use for producers to rape the gameplay of a title or segment it as much as possible. Gamers will realize that that design decision was made solely to limit gameplay and favor in-app purchases.
This new type of gamer, more mature and more demanding, is the one who won't even install a game at launch. And even if you install it, in a few seconds it will realize if the game is playable or just another bloodsucker freemium.
“Gamers will realize that that design decision was made solely to limit gameplay and favor in-app purchases.”
Users, even children, will uninstall games they don't like. And the reasons for this were enumerated above. They will do this either because of hardware limitations or by choice.
The producers are left with the mission of creating more engaged games with better gameplay and cycle. So as to keep players' interest for a long time.
With information from Venture Beat and G1.