Travis Boatman, VP of Worldwide Studios for EA Mobile, has been working in the mobile game space for many years, and he's a longtime zealot of the mobile games industry. He's seen it grow from people playing bitty graphical games like Snake, all the way up to franchises like Dead Space making the jump to mobile platforms. With the iPhone exploding and game apps rising and falling faster than you can blink your eyes, he spoke about the Myths of the App Store, which should be required reading for mobile game developers.
Read on to find out what the myths are, and how they were busted.
Myth #1: Mobile players are on the run.
Game publishers (and their marketing) probably help propagate that myth. He showed a commercial full of people playing mobile games and chatting while riding skateboards, or sitting on the bus. Everyone is extremely attractive. "It's so sexy, it looks like a beer commercial."
BUSTED: 47% of mobile gamers play games at home, while they're sitting on the couch, or laying in bed. Interestly enough 7% of gamers play games on the toilet. There's a charming statistic.
Myth #2: Mobile games are for casual consumers only
Games like Scrabble and Angry Birds dominate the app space, but recently more hardcore games like Dead Space and Infinity Blade has topped the sales charts. There is a lot of room for different types of gamers in the mobile space, although it is currently dominated by more simplistic games.
BUSTED: Core gamers are under-served in mobile games.
Myth #3: One size fits all
The iPhone has an excellent form of distribution. With digital lockering, you can easily redownload games as you change devices. New devices mean more opportunities, but you don't have to lose quality when you move to another platform. He used Scrabble as an example, which was on the Motorola Razr, then the iPhone, and the iPad. Each offered a different experience, but still contained the core game. Then the Kindle came out. "Kindles are great. Everyone has a Kindle,, everyone is playing Kindle, I have a Kindle. So they ported Scrabble to the Kindle, and it sold very well.
(Editor's note: I don't have a Kindle, do you? Am I missing out?)
BUSTED: Porting pays.
Myth #4: Brands Don't Matter
The types of titles that have been available in the mobile space have shifted dramatically over the years. Initially, the platform was dominated by casino games and simple titles, and now it offers well-crafted experiences based on existing IPs like Rock Band, GTA, Call of Duty, Bejeweled 2 and so on.
Howeever, some games are uniquely suited for the iPhone. Like Angry Birds, which takes advantage of the platform and offers a unique touchscreen experience. So your branded experience may need to change to suit the platform.
BUSTED: They Do
BUT: Never bet against native IP
Final Myth: Is This As Good As It Gets?
The industry doesn't stop here. In a 2002 report, people were told "Text messaging is never coming to the United States. It's a uniquely European phenomenon." Now, the young developers of today have grown up with text messaging. They're so good at it, and it's just an extension of what they do. It's the same in mobile games, as it is evolving and changing so much.
BUSTED: In three years you won't recognize mobile games or the state of the industry.