Best Practice – How to spot gaming trends

The mobile gaming market continues to expand at great pace, fuelled in part by the prominence of smartphone usage across the world; almost every developed country surveyed by Deloitte had at least 80% smartphone penetration. Over 2.4 billion people played mobile games in 2019 and with that has come some pretty useful data on which kinds of games are proving to be the most successful. 

Increasing competition means that it’s really hard to create a successful mobile game that ticks all the boxes with players, so making sure that your game is on trend can significantly boost its chances of hitting the mark. Trends often come about from studios simply trying out new things and capitalising on those which respond well to the market. Games that can be associated with a current trend are likely to have low CPIs, favourable ARPUs and make the chances of acquiring millions of users much more likely. 

Spotting gaming trends

Satisfying games which mimic reality is a trend which has been around for a while. Some good examples of games within this trend include Woodturning 3D, Cut and Paint, Chores! Spring into Cleaning and Perfect Cream. These games take full advantage of the responsive haptic feedback enjoyed by modern phones, great graphics and realistic sounds to really boost that ‘satisfying’ feeling.

By delving into the 30 day trending mechanics as displayed in our market intelligence platform, we can see that the ‘puzzle’ mechanic remains ahead, with a growth of 5% over the last month. Unsurprisingly, people are now playing more puzzle games which generally take more time to play, have longer retention cycles and usually require more concentration. We’ve seen this trend in our own Puzzle game Balls Master, which is showing a really strong D7 retention of 30% and IAPs making up an impressive 33% of the game’s revenue.

Going against the grain

Trends are obviously important, but is there ever a time when it might work in your favour to actually go against the grain and offer something completely different? 

Sure, sometimes.

Following trends certainly has its benefits, but that doesn’t mean this is the only way to achieve success. Some of the most stand out, successful games have taken their own path or bent the overarching industry trend in a direction that worked best for them. Two examples of this are Tomb of the Mask which was a smash hit but has the most basic, 80’s style, Pac-Man-esque aesthetic to it and Archero, which blended arcade game play and hyper casual elements to create one of the biggest hits of 2019.

Ultimately, quality of the product is the most crucial aspect of the game, but trends will always help to attract more users. 

Looking to the future

Looking ahead, our predictions are that bitesize puzzle games will still hold their ground whilst crafting games with good retention metrics will continue to grow. Expect to see a boost in IAPs over the next 6 months or so as people with expendable income are less busy than usual and spend more time on puzzle games. Perhaps the super trend of the next two quarters could be the games that capitalise on the ‘mimicking reality’ and puzzle trend by merging the two.

At Coda, understanding trends is at the very core of what we do. Our free market intelligence dashboard can help you identify trends and analyse competitor activity. Our SDK handles everything related to attribution, analytics, monetisation. Integrating SDK takes just 24 hours and can literally save you weeks of integration work which is essential for effective game commercialisation. While Coda is busy covering all of these bases, you can focus your efforts on what you do best, improving the quality and viability of your games.

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