How quick wins can harm your mobile game’s future

April 20, 2023
Jai Dâvé
min read

In a previous blog post on how to to make your mobile game standout, I mentioned that one of the reasons launching a mobile game is hard is because the market is always evolving. As a result, you need to think about how your game will evolve with it over time. Basically, you need to have thought about the long-term opportunities of your title from the get-go.

This is by no means an easy feat when mobile studios are under pressure and are trying to find ways to beat declining revenue. In fact, it’s not just the pressure of the state of the mobile gaming industry that makes this challenging, it’s also challenging because in a world where we’ve become accustomed to instant gratification (there’s on-demand streaming, same-day deliveries etc.), it could be hard to resist feeling motivated by the opportunity to see quick results without taking into consideration long-term sustainability.

I didn’t think I was going to reference Sigmund Freud in a piece about mobile games, but his pleasure principle explains how the desire for immediate results is innate to all of us - ie. Humans love quick wins. However, there’s also what he calls the reality principle which is ultimately what leads us to delay the need for gratification and make more appropriate decisions for long-term gains.

Bringing this back to mobile games, going after quick wins can distract you from making more strategic decisions which will affect the future of your game and could result in:

Releasing substandard work

Focusing on speed over quality can lead to lower-quality games that fail to meet player expectations if the necessary testing has not been done.

For example, there are games that hard launch too early - out of pure excitement from developers - and overlook crucial testing which should have taken place during soft launch. Proper testing helps determine whether or not a game is in fact ready to be released to a wider audience - and helps to avoid the release of a substandard title.

That’s not to say that speed can’t be used, if testing is fast and the results are there then go for it - but make sure not to rush the process.

Poor resource allocation

Not allocating resources that align with long-term goals is both time and effort wasted.Thinking about the future of your game should be a now task. You need to build a product pipeline and ensure new features can be integrated easily down the line - this increases the chances of your game’s success.

The inability to adapt to changing markets

There are unique challenges facing mobile gaming companies, including the need to constantly adapt to new technologies and changing player preferences.

In order to maintain and sustain your game’s momentum into the future, doing your homework and testing things are essential tasks. This is by no means a once-off, quick-win. Doing this should be part of a reiterative process in order to stay relevant in a dynamic market such as mobile gaming.

Getting left behind your competition

Much to the point above, you don’t want to get left behind your competition as a result of not considering the lasting impact of your game.

Let's say your company identifies a new trend in the market and decides to quickly develop a game that capitalises on that trend in order to get ahead of your competition. You release it quickly, but don't invest enough time and resources into analysing the preliminary data, so you end up releasing something that is ill-informed and costs money to fix.

Meanwhile, other mobile gaming companies that have prioritised long-term planning and data quality - and are working on games that take into account thorough checks and balances which could take longer. As a result, they end up offering a more polished and engaging player experience. Over time, these companies may gain more loyal players and generate more revenue than the company that prioritised quick wins.

Maybe those “quick wins” are not so quick after all - eh? The common thread here is that all of this can be avoided with thorough testing, research and data processing.

The role of predictive analytics

Predictive analytics can be a powerful tool that helps mobile gaming companies make data-driven decisions about development and marketing strategies, more easily.

By getting a glimpse into your title’s future, you can identify trends, anticipate player preferences and plan your product roadmap more effectively.

Even better is having these insights automated - still giving you the satisfaction of taking swift action, but doing so based on the long-term effects and probability.

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