At Simply Good Games we like to search for the sweet spot in balancing familiar game play and immersing the player in something fresh and exciting. That search lead us to Highly Shareable Games, but what were the signs that lead us here?
The truth is there are no directions to Highly Shareable Games. We found our way here by looking at a combination of technology advancements, new app distribution channels, casual as well as core gaming trends, and our own imaginations.
One thing has been consistent in games over time, advances in technology have enabled new platforms to expand the gaming audience. Consoles brought games to the mass market. The web allowed casual games to flourish. Social platforms took web games to previously unheard-of scales. Mobile devices have spread games around the world.
When we look for the latest enabling technologies, we quickly see wireless networks are rapidly adopting 5G, mobile devices are now essentially handheld consoles, and creating and managing large server farms has never been easier. Another often overlooked development is the continuous improvement of the web browser. Browser apps and embedded web views have added graphics, audio, communications, and performance that can handle any casual to midcore game today. In fact, even AAA games are largely adopting embedded browsers to improve their 2D graphics and UI systems.
Mobile distribution platforms have expanded from the App Store and Play Store to include App Clips, Instant Apps, Instant Games, and progressive web apps. All these new platforms have one common goal, they exist to provide extremely quick access to app and gaming content. They do this by avoiding the need to search for an app listing, download a large app file, and finally install the app.
What opportunities do these technologies provide? Wireless 5G enables fast downloads and real-time communication on mobile devices. Ubiquitous server farms allow rapid distribution and are a second key piece to real-time communication and multiplayer gaming. Powerful mobile devices and web views allow apps and web games to share high end casual and midcore content. App Clips, Instant Apps, Instant Games, and progressive web apps provide mobile and social platform support for extremely fast connections to your gaming friends.
Looking at core gaming trends leads us to what we see missing from the casual and midcore mobile game experience today.
When casual games were first introduced, they were great single player experiences. Facebook and other social platforms opened up asynchronous communication between players and shined a light on how much more engaging a casual game could be when shared with a friend. It was also obvious on social platforms that players really want to create communities and have more personal connections within games.
Unfortunately, as casual audiences moved to mobile much of the social play in games was lost and few mobile games really take advantage of social interaction. Beyond that, social game interactions are like writing a letter rather than making a phone call. What’s missing is the ability to instantly communicate, share, and enjoy a good time with friends and family.
Core gamers have been voice chatting with friends while playing games together for years. Casual players will readily adopt real-time communication, an opportunity just hasn’t been provided to them.
We look forward and see a way to address the casual and midcore gamer’s need for better social and real-time interaction and communication.