Mobile game development trends, techs, and costs in 2021
There are around 155m mobile game users in the US alone. This niche covers a 57% share of total gaming revenue worldwide, and in the US alone mobile games revenue is approximately $20.45bn. All this combined together makes mobile game development easily one of the most profitable investments.
But it is well known, unfortunately, that not any mobile game will eventually hook the audience. Some will have astounding success at first only to be forgotten after a few years, and some will remain as undying classics.
So, what can you do to leave your mark in the world and not be forgotten? Here are a few simple rules:
- Go with trends but make it last longer;
- Use the best tech and optimize your mobile game;
- Cut costs by being smart, not stingy.
In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets of the rules above and help you see better what the market is expecting from your mobile game development.
Top mobile game development trends in 2021
Mobile games have the largest revenue share in the App Store in 2021 and this number will unlikely go down. According to Forecasts, mobile games will have the same largest share even in 2025. The graph below shows that the popularity of these apps has been staying at the same place for years and it indicates that mobile game development is the safest route you can take for gaining high ROI.
However, we would advise you to look at the trends and make your mobile game development as modern as you possibly can. This will help hook the audience at the very start and after that, you’ll just have to follow the times.
Now, let’s take a look at the trendiest solutions nowadays.
Hyper-Casual mobile game development
Hyper-casual mobile games are easy to play and usually, they are free to download. They’re known for minimalistic and user-friendly UI, and therefore people simply adore them. These types of mobile games became a development trend recently with more people spending their time glued to the screens of smartphones during the pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2020, 49% of all downloads in the mobile gaming section belonged to hyper-casual games. They don’t bring quite as much revenue as AAA games yet, but this can be changed in your favor since the demand for this type of game development is clear.
Hyper-casual mobile game development has a number of pros that may help you succeed with this type of software product.
It is easy to create
Due to the minimalistic design and lightweight of an app, it can be created in the shortest time. It also doesn’t require many resources and you don’t have to spend all of your budgets on development. This frees up the resources for advertising and other types of marketing, leaving you with the possibility to deliver the idea to your target audience.
They are guaranteed to entertain
These types of mobile games are easy to play and some people would say they are addictive. If you’ve ever played in Flappy Bird, Among Us, or Helix Jump, you would agree on this one as well. They are easy to play and an average user would enjoy spending time in an application that doesn’t need them to think a lot.
Hyper-casual mobile games have a wider audience
This type of mobile game development isn’t a classical move. People, who play hyper-casual mobile games don’t identify as gamers so anyone can be a part of your target audience. About 47% of people who play mobile games see them as a time-filler. This leaves you with a higher chance of a bigger ROI after the development. For example, Helix Jump has about 100,000,000+ downloads (Google Play).
Social interaction integrated into mobile game development
Most gamers play multiplayer titles to interact with other players as well. According to Facebook, about 38% of gamers say they prefer to chat with others during the play. Mobile game development really gives you the chance to own every solution you integrate into your software, and in-game chatting may be one of the most proficient ones.
About 80% of adult online gamers report that they’ve got positive social experiences by using in-game chat. This experience includes but is not limited to making new friends, which is reported by 51% of users, and feeling a part of the community (30%).
However, in-game chat in mobile development isn’t flawless. Some users report getting harrassed in online games. For example, 67% of gamers were called offensive names during the chatting.
If you wish to avoid this type of issue, we can recommend you use pre-made voice or text phrases that the character of your mobile game might be saying when a player wants to interact with others. This type of communication is being successfully used by Heartstone Mobile.
Mobile game development monetization
The most popular monetization model for mobile game development is in-app purchases. It holds its position since 2016 and won’t let go even today, in the year 2021.
However, there are more monetization ideas you can draw inspiration from for mobile game development. For example, in-app advertising is even more popular today since you can implement it even in the simplest games and it’ll generate a seamless revenue stream.
You can also use the SaaS form of monetization for mobile gaming. SaaS becomes more and popular nowadays, and considering that about 69% of users prefer mobile devices as a platform for gaming, it seems like a next-gen option. You can use a subscription model to regulate the income from your investment. And, it’s not the most popular solution yet, which gives you some space to be seen as innovative.
Mobile game development process
Mobile game development is a complex process that consists of several steps that need to be executed in the best quality to reach high results. Here you can see how we at RexSoft are working on mobile game development and other custom software projects.
Research and phase of mobile game development
Here we would discover all the necessary information about your business to bring you the best features and ideas we can. Our qualified team will create a product roadmap.
RexSoft has an iterative workflow that includes building, review, and test processes. It helps us analyze the customers’ reviews and implement the most crucial features.
The work will be split into sprints and their process of execution has the following stages:
- Sprint planning
- Sprint build
- User testing
- Sprint review
After this, the product conception building starts. Based on the risks assumption and other data we gathered during the previous stage, our qualified experts will sketch possible solutions. At this stage, we also may create interactive prototypes of the mobile game to give you the feel of how it’s going to be once the development is done.
Desing and build phase of the mobile game development
This is when all magic begins. With all the requirements we’ve gathered, we start the development and design process. Implementing all the features you wanted according to the system requirements specification, we start the mobile game development that will lead you to the top.
Our software specialists can use various platforms and frameworks for mobile development, from Flutter to Unity. Any solution you’ll order will be executed in just the way you wanted it to be.
Launch and maintenance phase of the mobile game development
This is especially important in mobile game development. The launch prepping will help you reach the top position in the chosen game store and free your resources for advertisement. And the maintenance after the release will help your mobile game work seamlessly and without glitches.
Altogether, our services are sure to give you the expected results in the expected times. It doesn’t matter how complex or heavy your idea is, our professional software experts are ready for any type of mobile game development.
Top 3 mobile game development tools in 2021
Mobile game development tools are as important as the trendiness of your application. The different platforms of frameworks may give your application a different feel or help you execute different features.
Here we will take a look at the most popular game development tools in 2021, but before we get into it you can watch the video from our experts: https://youtu.be/InE_FzIbMGE
Unity game development engine is one of the most popular game development software. About 61% of developers are using it in their projects. Various numbers of mobile game development were executed using this engine since it supports the development for different platforms like mobile, web, and even augmented reality. It can be used for both 3D and 2D mobile game development, and make this process easier since you don’t have to alter code a lot to make the game accessible on a different platform. With a built-in code editor and add-on to Visual Studio, the mobile game development on Unity becomes even more convenient, not to mention the wide number of specialists using it across the world. You will never get stuck with one problem since there’ll be people with the same experience to help your developers figure it out.
Spine 2D is one of the best tools for 2D animation of game characters. Using this tool, you will have an opportunity to subsequently animate the so-called skeleton of a character. This gives your game designers more freedom and flexibility since it allows you to control the animation better. The tool creates a skeletal sceme of a character and sets the movements to the whole picture. This way, when one bone is moving other parts of animation will respond to the move as well. This tool is also extremely useful in building multiple characters. You can build the skeleton only once but use it unlimited amounts of time for different characters. The Spine 2D allows animating few actions at the same time. This way, your character may walk and throw objects, or run and jump, etc. With this tool, the animation looks more lively since intermediate frames are created automatically by the tool itself.
In 2021, C# holds the fourth position in the size of programming languages leading over PHP and Kotlin. It is one of the most “user-friendly” programming languages that allows creating functional, effective, and highly productive applications in a relatively short time. In the mobile game development domain, time can be both your best friend and worst enemy, so an advantage C# gives you on this can’t be disregarded. C# also proves to be really universal language that appeals to the developers of various kinds of software. Among web and business applications for Windows, mobile games for iOS and Android are also present in the list of its capabilities. And, C# is adapted to work with the Unity engine better than any other. In a bundle, these two are meant for quality mobile game development and this is the secret behind their astounding popularity.
Mobile game development costs
There is no way of denying it, mobile game development can be costly sometimes. However, with the right development partner on your side, you’ll get your investment back and earn more than you spent.
There are several factors that regulate mobile game development costs. Let’s briefly look at them, and more broad information you can look up here.
The game genre defines the mobile game development costs since different games need a different amount of resources to be spent on the development. For example, a puzzle will cost you about $5,000 meanwhile a complex RPG mobile game won’t be cheaper than $150,000.
Hyper-casual games may cost you around $25,000 but there is a more cost-effective option for mobile game development. If you choose to outsource the mobile game development, you can get the same quality for a lower price. For example, the hourly rates of the Ukrainian developers are significantly lower than what the US specialists will charge you.
About 26% of people play mobile games to enjoy worlds or explore storylines. If they are your target audience, your mobile game is going to be more expensive. To create a complex script and other types of content you will have to work with other third-party experts.
You also may need to create a unique soundtrack if you wish, which will also be a part of your budget for mobile game development. All this adds to the logic of the software, and now you will need to have scalable architecture.
Our advice is to analyze and evaluate your target audience needs to exclude all exessive content for the first time. Start with simpler mobile game development and release the project to see how the audience reacts.
Then you can create additional content for your project to make it more successful.
The animation in the game
More complex animation costs more. For example, 3D animation needs more time to create and will be significantly more expensive than 2D animated objects.
Before you start mobile game development, find out your unique style and follow it in the process.
Mobile game testing
It is an important part of mobile game development which you can’t disregard. However, the heavier your game gets the more testing it requires. And QA engineers have hourly rates, so the testing costs will depend on how many hours your game will be tested.
If you want to make this part of the development cheaper, outsourcing is really your best option. Cutting costs on the testing may lead only to more bugs and crashes in your game. So, it’s better to think about it early and order the development from a company with affordable pricing.
So, how can you make your mobile game highly addictive? Well, first, you need to be passionate about it. Second, find yourself a reliable technical partner. And third, have everything planned.
Use trends when they are applicable for your mobile game development. Cut costs when it’s needed and possible. Use only the best and reliable tools.
Mobile game development can help your company get to the top of game stores, however, it has lots of aspects that need to be thought through. So, find yourself a reliable development company that’ll help you take care of it all.
Oleksandr KryvotsiukHEAD OF MARKETING AT REXSOFT