The mobile games market is in a state of constant flux. With the continual emergence of new titles and innovative variations, it's essential for those in the industry to grasp not only the foundational basics of game genres and mechanics but also to keep their fingers on the pulse of current trends.
We at AppQuantum engage in various activities to ensure our employees are always up to date with the news and latest developments in the mobile games industry. Buckle up, because we will share them with you right now.
Why should game industry employees care about market trends?
Every seasoned game designer or producer will tell you that understanding the mechanics and elements resonating with the audience in popular titles is vital. This allows them to deconstruct the components and seamlessly integrate them into their current projects.
However, staying at the cutting edge of the market is crucial for everyone in the game industry. This includes User Acquisition Managers, Analysts, Quality Assurance specialists, Creative Departments, Community Teams, and more.Consider User Acquisition Managers. Their job significantly benefits from staying informed about new releases. Such knowledge lets them comprehend the competitive landscape, references, trends, and precisely what draws people to these games.
Creative Managers also need to explore newly released games in-depth. They should ask: What emotions does this game provoke? How can we harness these in our creatives?
Analysts often find value in understanding the rationale behind certain game decisions. For instance, the introduction of PvP or the implementation of leaderboards — whether these elements are introduced earlier than in similar projects or not. Analysts assess the impact of these decisions on specific metrics and compare them to the games they are working with.
Lastly, as a publisher, we view this as one of our most critical tasks. Our collective efforts are geared toward transforming our partners' games into new hits. This means that all our employees must know and understand the best solutions on the market, the most effective placements, and the most engaging gameplay.
Fostering employee interest in exploring the video game market
The easiest way to expand employees' knowledge about the market is to promote playing different games. But simply playing a wide variety of games in your free time isn’t enough at all. Firstly, most people would only play games of the genres they like, and secondly, they often play without deliberate intent. While a rich gaming experience and broad knowledge of titles benefit an industry employee, it's a minor advantage that doesn't necessarily translate into business success - the extent of which depends on their specific expertise, of course.
The key lies in playing games with purpose and mindfulness. This approach transforms quantity into quality, enabling trend identification that can guide the creation of popular and unique products rather than mere clones. This philosophy extends not only to gameplay and mechanics but also to monetization methods and their implementation, art and creative processes.
A company can institute several initiatives to promote such a mindful approach among employees from diverse work fields. Rather than viewing gaming during work hours as squandered time, recognize its potential to yield unforeseen benefits in the long run:
Among the non-obvious bonuses, for example, the results can be repurposed and used for social media, corporate blogs, etc.
Keeping up-to-date with the industry
Our company has implemented several ideas to deepen employees' knowledge and encourage them to study the market.
Idea #1. Recommended games
Every newcomer is provided with a curated list of recommended games. This roster is segmented by genre, with each one boasting a selection of its defining games. This approach expedites new employees' immersion into the company culture, as references to these iconic projects are commonplace. Moreover, it facilitates a solid understanding of the genres.
Idea #2. SyncPlay
We have an activity called SyncPlay. Once a week, a person in charge selects a game for everyone to play concurrently, facilitating a lively exchange of thoughts. At the end of this playing hour, all participants are expected to answer specific questions about the project and provide feedback. We've recently added a novel twist — making predictions about the game's potential success.
The SyncPlay format has evolved over time. For instance, there was a phase when different team members selected the game each week, and the preparation of a comprehensive review document was obligatory. These in-depth analyses could reach 5-10 pages of text! At one point, our team members even began producing video reviews of games.
Occasionally, we play one of the games AppQuantum is working on to gather focused feedback on a particular feature.
Although the format may change, one constant element is the dedicated hour each week when employees gather to explore a new game together. This structure enables team members to discover new projects, learn from their colleagues' experiences, and also serves as a powerful HR tool. SyncPlay is open to all employees, irrespective of their department, providing a casual environment for newcomers to mingle with colleagues from other work teams.
Idea #3. Spy Systems
One of the very useful tools we utilize is the spy systems. We use Sensor Tower, and its flexible alert settings allow us to receive notifications directly in Slack based on specific parameters. This approach enables us to stay promptly informed about noteworthy events in the mobile games market. Frequently, the games spotlighted in these notifications become topics for discussion and analysis during our SyncPlay sessions.
Idea #4. Market Researches
Market research plays a significant role in our company. Occasionally, new members of our Product and Business Development teams conduct such research. The goal is to acquaint people with the methodology of evaluating a project's niche and to coach them in understanding the fundamentals of specific genres.
For instance, in the Business Development Department, the catalyst for conducting market research often stems from the question, "Why do you believe we should consider this game for publishing?" If an employee is uncertain whether to take into account a particular project for publishing, they proceed with market research on the specific niche that the game occupies. We already have pre-established templates and sets of questions available for this study.
Looking for trustworthy sources of information in the game industry
As the amount of information about the game development industry and market trends continues to grow, it becomes challenging to filter out reliable information from what is commonly referred to as "noise" or misinformation.
What's our advice for acquiring the most dependable insights? Firstly, you can always rely on well-known and respected sources without rubbish info. However, such resources invariably present the author's personal experience and viewpoint. If your goal is to cultivate the ability to analyze and draw your own conclusions, then engaging directly with the primary source is the sole option.
Immerse yourself in games, pose questions, strive to find answers through research, and bounce your findings off more experienced colleagues. It's advisable to start with well-known and significant titles. This approach increases the likelihood that the solutions you observe in such games result from careful, deliberate, and tested actions rather than random creativity.
Analyze these projects thoroughly by asking yourself:
Monitor your emotions while playing — at which point did you become interested, when you sensed a strong engagement, and when exactly you started feeling bored?
Summing upEstablishing a workplace culture that motivates people to delve deeper into the mobile games market is crucial. Merely expecting employees to play games casually in their free time won't suffice for their professional growth or the company's success. Instead, it's essential to actively train employees to approach projects with an analytical mindset, encouraging them to take notes, make insightful observations, and conduct comprehensive analyses. Yes, this process requires time and patience, but remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Rest assured, the effort is truly worthwhile!