If you are looking for Android Game related news, reviews, resources and interviews, DroidGamers is the place to go. Here is an interview with the founder, Andrew Huff.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up where you are today.
Hello, my name is Andrew Huff. Currently the Founder / Chief Editor over at DroidGamers.com. I’m 37 and I’ve been playing video games since I learned how to walk, which means I’ve played on just about every console that’s come out, more than I care to admit, along with a plethora of PC gaming.
I have played online games competitively as well. 2008 rolled around and Google released Android. I was one of the first people designing custom homescreen themes back then but because finding gaming news for Android was a pain in the ass, I started DroidGamers as more of a hobby in 2010. Just so I could know all the gaming news going on in Android and anyone else who wanted to know could read up on it. 6 months after the launch of DroidGamers I had to quit everything to do DroidGamers full-time, haven’t looked back since.
2) According to you, what is the hottest trend right now in the mobile gaming industry?
I think the hottest trend going on right now in the mobile gaming industry is trying to prove that it can be just as good for developers as other platforms (console / PC). Probably not the answer you were expecting as I could have said a particular genre of gaming instead. However, in the mobile gaming industry we are seeing technological advances leaping ahead constantly. Each month that passes lately sees more and more games being released with console/PC quality visuals, deeper gameplay than say titles like Angry Birds, and things of that nature. You have game engines with specifically developed plug-ins and such strictly for mobile game development like Unity3D. Even Unreal Engine is in on it.
If you look at other aspects of the industry you have Nvidia bringing the Tegra K1 chipset, Qualcomm pushing the limits as well, and services like Nvidia’s GRID and GameStream available where you can actually play PC games on your Android tablet. So the hottest trend right now is mobile gaming trying to prove it is as good as any other platform. Once it reaches that point though, it’ll be interesting to see what starts trending next. Virtual Reality has certainly picked up steam these days as well which has a lot of mobile integration in it but I’m not sure we can call a pair of glassed that provides stereoscopic view as Virtual Reality. Oculus Rift had the right idea.
3) With Freemium becoming almost a standard for mobile games, what is the best monetization solution for mobile game developers?
As much as mobile gamers have come to hate freemium games, they have also come to accept it. With that said, developers need to be very careful how they plan out their monetization for their freemium games. Content locking (can’t go past a certain point without paying and this happens constantly throughout the game. This isn’t including DLCs though) or pay-to-win freemium games are very risky to do.
The best way to monetize your game, if you are planning to go freemium, is to at least make the entire game available to play through without paying for anything. Offer perks or DLC as IAPs instead. However with perks you also have to be careful that you aren’t making your game pay-to-win. Some developers have seen a lot of success offer up their initial game for free, but then releasing expansions for it, or episodes if you want to call them that, as in-app purchases. That is a good way to go. In the end though, just make sure your game is fair when it comes to IAPs.
4) In a booming market with thousands of games, what makes a game stand out from the competition?
Tricky question because both Google Play and the Apple store have discoverability issues. This makes it extremely hard for good indie developers to get their game’s seen by the mobile gaming population. Originality, good quality, and fairness with pricing (whether it be a premium game or a freemium one) are some of the things that make a game shine on the mobile game stores. You could have top quality 3D visuals by Unreal Engine 4, an amazing storyline and the right pricing all there but if your game is lacking in controls, developer support, or other areas, it’ll fail.
Developers get excited when releasing a game. Don’t rush it though. Take the time to properly fix all the bugs and make sure it is as good as it can be before releasing it. Closed/open beta testing is an excellent way to ensure that your game is where it should be before you release it. This also helps with building hype around it and building a fan-base for your game before it is even officially released.
5) From your experience, what should a developer focus on in order to make his game rank higher on app stores and get more visibility?
As I mentioned above, take the extra time to ensure that ALL aspects of your game are as good as they can be before releasing it. I can’t tell you how many games I’ve played where 90% of the game is just amazing but because, for example, the controls were not as high as a focus as everything else, the game was so difficult to play that it wasn’t fun. This can lead to a lot of bad reviews which obviously hurts your ranking on Google Play and iTunes. Once you lose a gamer, chances are they won’t return to check your game out after you update it with better controls.
Your initial impression that you make on gamers when your games are released needs to be good, just like when you go for a job interview. Your first impression is everything. Also seriously take a look at how you are monetizing your game. Does it fit the game you have made? Is it fair? While freemium games can make a ridiculous amount of money, sometimes it is better to release a premium game instead, just on the sole reason that it fits the type of game you’re releasing better.
6) What is your favorite game right now and what makes it special?
Haha I play so many games right now it is hard to pick a favorite one. However the one I am playing right now the most is this game called Motor World Car Factory published by Chillingo. The monetization in it is completely unbalanced in a lot of ways and it is slightly repetitive but for some reason, aside for being a car enthusiast, I keep on playing it. I’m not even really sure why. It has issues like how it is monetized (technically this game has two currencies PLUS a stamina/energy bar and tons of IAPs) but how the game is played is perfect for mobile devices.
Thank you Andrew for that awesome interview. Remember to check out Droidgamers. By the way, you might be interested in their forum. It is literally a gold mine for Android devs and lovers.