Game Development Reference
it.” Instead, “think of gathering a huge audience of players who can support and enrich each others' experiences,
who will return to your game day after day, and although many of them won't ever wind up paying anything,
the ones who care the most will.”
The Entrance of Facebook into Mobile Will Be
a Challenge to Game Developers
“Facebook is aggressively moving into mobile,” notes M2 Research's Billy Pidgeon, “and this will have a sig-
nificant impact on phone game developers working in iOS or Android.” The upcoming iOS 6 operating system
will come with deep Facebook integration, while the iOS Game Center will let users import friends from Face-
This is a challenge for developers, observes Pidgeon, because “[a]s Facebook works to improve the social
network's mobile experience, consumers will begin to spend a greater portion of their 'out and about' leisure
time on Facebook.” This will probably not only cut into the time iOS owners usually play iOS games, but also
draw them toward Facebook games that run on iOS. “If Facebook is successful in gaining momentum on mo-
bile—and there is a good chance they will be—games on Facebook will also be optimized for mobile and will
compete more directly with pure play phone games.”
Pidgeon advises developers get ahead of this trend now by working with a large partner with a broad user
base. “I'd suggest partnering with a publisher such as ngmoco or GREE that incorporates a game-focused so-
cial networking architecture and building in their own game-focused social networking architecture to connect
gamers for co-operative and/or competitive group play,” he says.
Rising Acquisition Costs Will Benefit the Biggies
Cost per install.
“The most obvious current trend is the increasing CPI ,” says Flurry's Patrick Minotti. “As the market gets more
competitive, it is getting more and more expensive to acquire users. This means that it is going to be more diffi-
cult for small companies to sustain their game. It will allow publishers with big pockets—Zynga, GREE, DeNA,
Electronic Arts, and so on—to regain some dominance in the market that is currently being ruled by indies.”
Given that, small developers should consider two possible strategies.
“Find ways to integrate user acquisition with game mechanics,” says Minotti, citing Draw Something and its
Facebook/Twitter-player matching as an excellent example of that (see Figure 14-1 ) . But even then, for most
small developers, it will probably be time to consider the second strategy: get on the consolidation train.
Flurry's Minotti explains, “It is probably better for developers to focus on what they are good at (making
games) and let a publisher deal with the user acquisition and game discovery side of things.”
This rise of acquisition costs will probably give rise to another trend, discussed next.