How to Start Designing A Successful Game App for iOS & Android?

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Jan 2020
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How to start designing game app

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The gaming market is getting bigger and bigger every year, and that’s brilliant if you are in the gaming business.

According to reports, the global gaming market was worth $152 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $270 billion in 2020. What’s more interesting is that the $165.9 billion of the total gaming revenue will be coming from mobile games — that’s really huge!

The mobile gaming industry, in particular, is booming. It’s no wonder why many entrepreneurs are planning on embracing the gaming ecosystem. Considering the fierce competition, you need to design a stunning game app for iOS and Android if you want to be successful in this market.

The figures may be alluring, but you guessed right, it involves a lot of groundwork. So, if you are wondering: how to start a game app designing? Or how to create mobile games? You can relax.

In this article, we will be covering myriad facets of mobile game app development, intricacies of game design, and more. The mobile game UX design insights will facilitate the systematic creation of a gaming app.

Let’s dive in.

How Big is Mobile Gaming?

Before you plan to design apps with the limitations and features of mobile devices in mind, it makes sense to check out some stats.

  • The number of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2017 was 178.1 billion. (Source)
  • In 2019, the Apple app store took a 64 percent share of worldwide consumer spending on app stores, whereas app users downloaded 21.3 billion apps from Google Play. (Source)
  • Gaming apps among Apple users accounted for 25 percent of active applications. (Source)
  • In the U.S., time spent on mobile devices has also officially outpaced that of television — with users spending eight more minutes per day on their mobile devices. (Source)
  • The average age of a mobile gamer is 36.3 (in 2014, the age was 27.7). One-third of all players are between the ages of 36-50, and the gender split is 51% female, 49% male. (Source)

The figures show the changing demographics and the reach of mobile gaming apps.

The first step to a successful game app is to study the market and do the groundwork for how to make a game app that’s simple but addictive. You can start with learning from the top-grossing gaming apps.

Let’s check out.

Top-Grossing Mobile Gaming Apps

Image 1. Top-grossing iPhone Mobile Gaming Apps (in the U.S. as of January 2020)

Top Gaming App in the US

Image Source

Image 2. Top Mobile Gaming App Titles in the Google Play Store (worldwide as of January 2019)

Top Game Apps Worldwide

Image Source

So, how did apps like Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle or Clash of Clans get to the top spots? What is the secret to becoming the top-grossing games?

Here’s a sneak peek on some of their success factors.

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle managed to surge as the top-grossing with the intense monetizing core gameplay, driving desire through leveraging the IP, capable messaging with players, and designing meta-shifting content. The Niantic CEO, John Hanke, says that social gameplay is the “heart of the game.”

With Clash of Clans (CoC), the features that worked were a unique cast of troops, the emphasis on the characters, and the gaming enthusiasts developing a deep attachment to the characters. It’s no wonder that though the developers launched the app in 2012 —and it is still going strong. CoC is a free-to-play app, but the in-app strategies keep the players engaged, and they end up paying a premium. Now, those are some interesting facts that you can keep in mind while working on your mobile game design.

So, why is design important? Here’s why.

Why is Designing so Important?

Let’s start with some basics, such as how to design a game app for android?

Take a moment and think, if you were to install an app, how would you go about it? Yes, you’re right! You would most probably look at the screenshots of the game to check out its design, the overall game plot, characters and then game story. It is typically critical as users who don’t like the model may opt not to install the app.

So, if you have a game idea, you’ll want to plot or draft the game as it emerges, and this is the design. The final product that users download will typically be a part of the design.

What are the pros of an excellent game UX design?

Pros:

  • It can keep gaming enthusiasts engaged for hours.
  • The design inspires gamers to wait for further extensions.
  • Better designs, get higher pay. So, design takes a lot of credit for the revenue generated from the gaming app.

It is quite evident, as you develop your app, you’ll need to invest a lot of time breathing in life to your gaming user interface. A good design will improve your monetization, retention, user experience, and engagement.

Creating a good UX can be challenging and fun, so keep your game design checklist updated to create a meaningful experience for your users.

As the CEO of Supercell, Ilkka Paananen, says, “…the best way to make money in mobile gaming is to stop thinking about making money. Think about fun instead.”

Now, let’s start with app development.

How to Make a Gaming App?

Let’s start by building an app from scratch.

1. Understand Yourself

The first step is to understand yourself (your organization). Why is it that you are venturing into the gaming industry? What are you passionate about in gaming? What are your key strengths, and what keeps you motivated?

You can do a SWOT analysis. The inputs will help you to not only look inside your organization to understand your USPs but also to look at the market and understand your competitors.

2. Market Research

Insights from the marketplace for your business facilitates in understanding your users better.

You may choose to check out the top trending gaming apps or visit the app store and look at the different categories and genres. The takeaways are significant while building your app.

3. Develop An Idea

A good idea sits at the heart of a game app. Ideation is the most critical step to a successful gaming app. You can brainstorm with your team and come up with a killer idea that will keep your users engaged-and-enticed for hours at a stretch.

The good part—a well-planned app can be an instant hit, and you can augment the app with a touch of the latest technologies like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality).

The equation is quite simple—you first work towards the creation of a great idea and then work towards delivering the perfect gameplay to gaming enthusiasts.

4. Create a Story

A successful game needs a brilliant story. If you create a storyline for your game with a whole world of characters, victory parameters, surprises, fun elements, and rewards, then gamers will laud the gameplay experience.

Once your players get wrapped up in the story, it will only drive them to further levels, keep them inspired, and attract new users.

5. Winning Design

Creating a winning game design could be complicated. The designing team would need to pay attention to detail and breathe in life to the characters, art, and the overall look and feel of the game.

It is critical to blend a good user experience with the graphics and logic of the gameplay. It’s better to take time to work around the design, as a bad design of an app could spell disaster for your company.

On the other hand, an exceptionally fantastic design that dons a simple style could be a significant differentiating factor for your game.

6. Identify Key Platforms

When planning anything on mobile, you would need to think about the platform. The first choice is typically between Android and iOS.

You can also choose to go for a hybrid model. However, you would need to consider the additional costs involved in developing a game for multiple platforms.

7. Build A Monetization Story

If you’ve invested in resources like talent and hosting, it is logical that you’d want to earn from your game. You may consider choosing the premium way or freemium model to gain from the app. Some popular ways to achieve this are:

Ads

You can incorporate a pay-per-click revenue model to monetize your game. So, whenever the player clicks on an Ad link or a video—you get paid.

You would need to be careful with the content of the ads as they could be annoying and may prove to be counterproductive. You can also allow the user to opt for an Ad-free version.

In-app Purchases

An effective way to earn income from players is to opt for a freemium model. The purchases could account for around 2% in Android and a little more in iOS; still, it is quite useful for mobile game monetization.

Premium versions

You can offer a free trial or demo, before asking players to opt for premium versions.

You may choose to ask for payment straight away, but that could affect the number of purchases. Typically, high-quality games opt for this model.

Pay-per-download

With games with every high investment, you would find this strategy adopted.

7. Decide Technology

Once you have the game idea in place and the platform identified, you would need to plan the design tools and setup the development processes. Native development is a popular choice if you are looking for performance.

Native mobile game development normally involves using languages native to a device platform for coding. So, you may opt for Java for Android or Swift for iOS. You would also find that game development uses web technologies such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML5.

Another handy tool to create games in—is Unity 3D, and there are many other tools such as Xamarin, Marmalade, or Cocos 2D. Choosing the right technology can directly affect the performance and usability of your game in the future.

8. Search for A Reliable Development Partner

Choosing a reliable and experienced game app development team, such as Imaginovation, can transform your idea into a digital reality in a true sense. The more complex your gaming idea, you will need experienced developers to back your initiatives. Finding the right developers for your app, designers, and other experts could be the key to your success.

9. Testing is the Key

Game testing is an integral part of mobile gaming. You can choose to hire a QA and beta testers and test your app to fix bugs and solve errors.

Testing at every stage, whether as a prototype or a final product, will ensure a smooth gameplay experience.

10. Support and Maintenance

Once you launch the mobile game, you can plan on support and maintenance for a better experience. Keep on updating your game, as this will keep gamers inspired for new features, new rewards, and new surprises.

Planning every stage of the app development can ensure your final version shaping as reality. So, stick to a systematic approach to development, as this will help deliver a quality app that gaming enthusiasts can enjoy.

What Kind of Games Can You Build?

With billions of gaming apps for android and iOS, you can start with creating a game app with the audience you choose. Here are some gaming app categories:

Puzzles and Word Games

Sudoku racks high engagement percentage. A study highlights that around 38 million monthly users play puzzles, and such games have a maximum shelf life. Now, that’s interesting! So, a simple jigsaw puzzle or a mathematical puzzle is something that you could opt for from the myriad gaming options.

Strategic games 

Games like Clash of Clans (CoC) are very addictive and are proof of popularity. Strategy building can be challenging and fun—the app created can be engaging and also generate good revenue.

Arcade games

Arcade games garner a lot of attention and are popular among gaming enthusiasts. You will need a good storyline and difficulty levels that give you a feeling of competitiveness.

So, start developing your dream game, create a great idea, develop a strategy, and turn your ideation to success.

Build A Successful Mobile Game App with Imaginovation

Your gaming app idea needs to be backed by a systematic approach to development. We at Imaginovation have helped many startups and enterprise businesses to build successful mobile gaming apps.

If you have a game app idea and want to turn your idea into a digital reality, get in touch with us.

 

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