We talk to Gameloft UK and Ireland country manager David Whitby about the future of mobile gaming
Since the launch of the iPhone, mobile gaming has taken off ‘ and Gameloft has been one of its biggest success stories. It is now one of the biggest mobile gaming companies in the world. The proliferation of smartphones has seen an entirely new audience introduced to gaming.
It has become a family affair; Gameloft has started offering new titles such as My Little Pony and PlayMobil Pirates for the kids, as well as educational games, alongside traditional gaming genres such as first person shooters.
“The reason why gaming has suddenly grown so much is because technology has brought us to the point where we can deliver amazing games in your pocket wherever you are; not only that, but those devices are owned by everyone,” said Whitby.
O2’s 2012 report entitled ‘All About You’ showed that mobile phones on average were used to play games more than they were to make calls. One in 10 respondents, or 11%, had ditched a games console in favour of a smart phone.
“The main use for a smart phone these days is not to make a phone call, it’s other things, and gaming is a key part of that.”
Getting a game noticed in a fragmented and rapidly growing market is the biggest challenge for the industry and for developers. Making sure a game got to the top of the charts was the key challenge for the industry.
For the devs
Gameloft is up against some big players with the weight of marketing budgets, studio resources and established social media presence behind their games.
“I think the days when you could write a game in your bedroom launch it on the app store and have it become a massive critical and popular success; it’s probably still possible but it’s a lot more difficult just because there’s just so much out there.”
2013 would be an interesting year, in that there were more platforms available to develop for other than Apple and Google, with Windows Phone 8 and the launch of BlackBerry 10, giving developers more options.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see where that goes.”
Mobile gaming is going to see more growth with ‘freemium’ style games, which are free to download but charge for extras in game. Whitby expects this model to become dominant. Resource management games, where users built a city or managed an army, have topped favourite app charts because they made sense from a business model and a game user point of view – people could play for a few minutes at a time, without the game requiring large amounts of attention, he said.
“In 2013 we’re expecting huge growth, and that style of gameplay seems to have cracked it.”