Mobile gaming online has several distinguishing features. Mobile games are games designed for mobile devices that may be connected to the Internet, such as smartphones, feature phones, smartwatches, pocket PCs, tablets, PDAs, or portable media players. Today’s mobile phones – particularly smartphones – have a wide range of connectivity features for enabling mobile gaming online, including infrared, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G. These technologies facilitate wireless multiplayer games with two or more players.
Mobile gaming online can consist of a range from basic (like simple, casual game Snake on older Nokia phones) to more sophisticated (3D and augmented reality games). The earliest known game on a mobile phone was a Tetris variant on the Hagenuk MT-2000 device from 1994.
Today, mobile games are usually downloaded from an app store as well as from mobile operator’s portals, but in some cases are also preloaded in the handheld devices by the OEM or by the mobile operator when purchased, via infrared connection, Bluetooth, or memory card, or sideloaded onto the handset with a cable.
Because most mobile devices have limited system resources, mobile game features are not as rich as games designed for PCs or gaming consoles. For example, only one mobile device (as of late 2011) – the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY – is equipped with a dedicated gaming controller. In most mobile devices, the keypad doubles as a gaming controller. Smartphones have touch screen displays for user input.
Advanced mobile games usually require fast central processing units (CPU), dedicated graphics processing units (GPU), large random access memory (RAM), and high-resolution display screens. Most developers use a royalty-free, cross-platform application programming device known as OpenGL ES to write games with 2D or 3D graphics.
Types of Mobile Gaming Online
Games played on a mobile device using localization technology like GPS are called location-based games or location-based mobile games. These are not only played on mobile hardware but also integrate the player’s position into the game concept. In other words, while it doesn’t matter for a typical mobile game where exactly the player is (play them anywhere, anytime), the player’s coordinate and movement are the main elements in a location-based mobile game.
A well-known example is Ingress, a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game that uses the mobile device GPS to locate and interact with “portals” which are in proximity to the player’s real-world location. The game uses the portals as elements of a science fiction backstory along with a continuous open narrative provided through various forms of media. Ingress can be played on any mobile device with an integrated or external GPS receiver. External GPS receivers are usually connected via Bluetooth. More and more mobile phones with integrated GPS are expected to come.
Augmented Reality Gaming
Augmented reality games are the latest mobile gaming trend. These programs combine a real-world environment with advanced computer graphics to provide the effect of augmented reality. An example is Sky Siege, where a player shoots virtual helicopters that appear to fly around the room.
Augmented reality games are also common wherever the mobile device includes a reverse-facing camera. While playing the game, the player aims the device’s camera at a location. Then, through the device’s screen, sees the area captured by the camera plus computer-generated graphics atop it, augmenting the display. This allows the player to interact that way.
One of the most successful augmented reality games is Pokémon Go. Here, the player using the game app travels to locations marked on their GPS map. Then they use the augmented reality mode to find Pokémon to capture.
Many mobile games support multiple players, either remotely over a network or locally via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar technology.
Playing multiplayer games on mobile phones can include live synchronous tournaments and turn-based asynchronous tournaments. In live tournaments, random players from around the world are matched together to compete. This is done using different networks such as Game Center, Google+, and Facebook.
In asynchronous tournaments, players’ matches are recorded. Then they are broadcast at a later time to other players in the same tournament. Asynchronous gameplay resolves the issue of needing players to have a continuous live connection. This gameplay is different. Players take individual turns in the game. Therefore allowing players to continue playing against human opponents.
This is done using different networks such as Facebook. Some companies use a regular turn-based system where the end results are posted so all the players can see who won the tournament. Other companies take screen recordings of live players. Then they broadcast them to other players at a later point in time. This allows players to feel that they are always interacting with another human opponent.
Acquiring Players for Mobile Gaming Online
In the mobile gaming industry, acquiring players, such as for a game launch, will depend largely on platform distribution. For mobile games, distribution is typically in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, with other app stores like Amazon available as well. As a result, marketing is tailored to drive potential buyers to the stores or sites where games are purchased.
For many advertisers, Facebook offers the highest volume and quality source of advertising traffic through App Install Campaigns. Fully capitalizing on the potential of the Facebook platform requires heavy creative testing and, more importantly, continually adapting to changes in Facebook’s advertising strategies and algorithms. Over the past few years, Facebook has ramped up the frequency of advertising product changes. Top mobile app advertisers have followed suit by ramping up the frequency of strategy changes. Looking back historically, the strategy we deploy today is very different from the strategy we deployed six months ago. Interestingly, this statement would hold true for any backward-looking period of time over the past five years. Put simply, our strategy is always changing to keep up with Facebook’s best practices for App Install Campaigns.
Google App Campaign
Alongside Facebook’s ad solutions are Google App Campaigns. Google App Campaigns let advertisers create ads where people can download an app directly from an ad. App Campaign ads – and all the settings available for Google App Campaigns – are designed expressly to generate app installs, such as for mobile gaming online.
You can use other campaign types, like display ads and even text ads, to advertise mobile gaming online. But, the conversion rates for those campaigns are terrible compared to App Install Campaigns. You are way more likely to get people to install an app if they only have to make a couple of clicks.
Takeaways for Mobile Gaming Marketers
For mobile gaming online, Facebook App Install Campaigns and Google App Campaigns are the best tools to acquire valuable players. If you aren’t squeezing every drop of opportunity out of Facebook and Google ads, it’s time to up your game.