Analyzing key mobile game design and feature trends in 2021

With cellular video games now producing over 57% of world sport income, the cellular gaming market reveals no indicators of slowing down. Analysts forecast that the cellular gaming market shall be value £272 billion by 2030, and as we close to the top of one other large 12 months for the sector, it is value having a look at a few of the key tendencies, developments and options which have pushed contributed to it. Its development in 2021.

This enhance is sweet information for each sport builders and gamers. 2021 has seen extra titles undertake hybrid gameplay components and spin into new genres, whereas the rise of social options we skilled in 2020 has developed even additional, relying on how we socialize on-line. Roblox’s digital live shows imply you not have to journey miles to get together on the world’s greatest music festivals, whereas improve options in Excellent World Cell mean you can invite your mates to hang around in your digital dwelling can do.

2021 has proved that there’s nonetheless numerous innovation left within the cellular market

So what does all this inform us? Individuals need to join, play and socialize collectively within the digital world, and slowly, that is turning into the brand new norm. We will see this mirrored within the recognition of social sport components like Guild Mechanics, that are up 20% within the prime 100 US iOS video games. Deeper social techniques, similar to haunt areas the place gamers can socialize in digital environments outdoors the sport foyer, are additionally starting to return into play.

Social mechanics is not the one cellular function that is evolving; Occasions are getting greater. Restricted-time collaboration packages are extra common than ever as extra manufacturers outdoors the gaming trade search a approach out. 40% of the highest 100 iOS video games within the US function model collaborations. With some main collaborations between sport builders and non-gaming IPs this 12 months, that quantity has jumped to 61% for the highest 100 grossing video games in Japan (we by no means thought we might see Stranger Issues as Seven Lethal Sins). Will see you collaborating with: Grand Cross!)

2021 was additionally one other large 12 months for on line casino video games, due in no small half to how builders are utilizing social mechanics and different gameplay options to draw new gamers. And whereas location-based AR video games are struggling to duplicate the success of Pokémon Go within the West, the recognition of titles similar to Pikmin Bloom, DQ Stroll, and Eki Momo in Japan has prompted extra Japanese cellular builders to discover AR options of their video games. Huh. ,

And eventually, we have seen new cellular video games from some big IPs together with Pokémon Unite and League of Legends: Wild Rift, two new MOBAs attempting to make their mark in a style that is infamous for monetization.

All of that mentioned, let’s check out some particular examples of those key tendencies and developments in motion from 2021 onwards.

Upgrades and particular sport modes are pioneering hybrid gameplay components

Is the cellular gaming market experiencing its personal Animal Crossing impact? We have seen numerous informal video games undertake upgrades and particular sport modes as a part of their hybrid gameplay components, primarily via occasions. Meta components outdoors their core gameplay are probably the most necessary promoting factors of common match-three titles similar to Playrix’s Homescapes and Metacore’s Merge Mansion. With the recognition of ‘merge’ video games rising in 2021, we aren’t shocked to see these hybrid gameplay components pop up in different informal genres similar to puzzlers and even on line casino video games.

The favored card sport Section 10: World Tour launched renovation components to its Halloween program, permitting gamers to construct and renovate their very own Halloween theme park. Solitaire Tripeaks permits you to renovate and clear up your property on Enchanted Island (the principle sport setting) outdoors of the principle card sport, whereas the on line casino sport Caesars Slots makes use of renovation components in its Fortune Palace occasion.

Solitaire TriPeaks is one of several casual games that engage users with a home renovation theme that seems to detract from their core gameplay mechanics.

Solitaire TriPeaks is certainly one of a number of informal video games that have interaction customers with a house renovation theme that appears to detract from their core gameplay mechanics.

Different examples of video games experimenting with totally different gameplay types embrace the favored tycoon sport Township. Reside Ops has all the time been robust for the title and its common occasions are basically mini-games the place gamers can expertise all kinds of gameplay. Equally, AFK Area’s Wonderous Pouch mode introduces match-three mini-games into the sport to supply gamers a brand new gameplay expertise outdoors of the core RPG components.

Talking of match-threes, these puzzlers are simply transferring forward with innovation. The fast-paced Royal Match loved a large launch for its quirky visuals and room-by-room development, whereas the slow-paced Zen Match combines match-three gameplay with Mahjong-style puzzles and inside fashion meta components. Is.

We’re anticipating the expansion of improve components to proceed via 2022 and past as extra builders undertake them into hybrid gameplay options.

Massive IPs are transferring to cellular

The First Soldier: Last Fantasy 7, Pokémon Unite, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Marvel Future Revolution, Ni No Kuni Cross Worlds and PUBG: New State are only a small a part of the brand new cellular video games from the large IP this 12 months. The fascinating factor about many of those large titles is that the builders have chosen to undertake gameplay options that you do not sometimes affiliate with console video games from IP.

Sq. Enix makes use of PvP battle royale and PvE monster-hunting components in First Soldier, whereas the favored Last Fantasy 7: Remake on PS4/PS5 makes use of the title to fill in a few of the narrative gaps round it. In the end, this inspired many main Last Fantasy followers to obtain the sport on cellular, leading to over 200,000 downloads in its first two weeks.

We by no means thought we might see a Pokémon MOBA sport in 2021, as we all know it’s troublesome for MOBAs to monetize because of the lack of pay-to-win options. Add to that stiff competitors from not solely League of Legends: Wild Rift, however titles which are already main the style in cellular, similar to Cell Legends: Bang Bang.

Regardless of this, Pokémon Unite loved a profitable launch, however has since struggled to stay within the prime 200 grossing video games. League of Legends: Wild Rift has been dipping out and in of the highest 200 as properly, however has grown in recognition after the adoption of recent social options, the addition of guild mechanics has led to an enormous inflow of recent gamers, lots of whom have stayed with Because the sport. The launch of the Netflix collection Arcane, a brand new anime set within the LoL universe, additionally helped entice new gamers due to a profitable collaboration program.

Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier hits 200,000 downloads in first two weeks

Last Fantasy 7: The First Soldier hits 200,000 downloads in first two weeks

We predict a plethora of cellular video games from large IPs in 2022 as a consequence of alternatives within the cellular gaming panorama. Builders can reuse property from current variations of their video games, whereas utilizing cellular as a possibility to experiment with options and gameplay mechanics that would not usually match into their authentic sport.

However with the backing of strong IP behind them, success isn’t assured for brand new cellular sport launches, particularly in genres which are already dominated by large titles. Marvel’s Future Revolution, for instance, hasn’t been as profitable because the Genshin Affect.

On line casino video games discovering new gamers after adopting assortment techniques

On line casino video games are evolving. If you have not performed them earlier than, on line casino video games contain way more than slot handles, turning playing cards or spinning roulette wheels. Many function hybrid gameplay components, opening up new gameplay experiences outdoors of core on line casino gameplay.

The gathering system has been a well-liked hybrid component in on line casino video games for a while, however 2021 noticed huge system development within the prime 100 on line casino video games, rising from 47% to over 80%. Among the new video games so as to add collectibles to the album in 2021 embrace Lightning Hyperlink On line casino, GSN On line casino and Wizard of Oz Slots On line casino.

So why is this technique abruptly turning into so common in cellular video games? It’s a psychological payoff for gamers after they have one thing to indicate for all of the hours they’ve invested within the sport. Much like improve components – within the sense that you just’re consistently engaged on one thing extra necessary – collectibles hold gamers engaged for longer intervals of time by encouraging gamers to extend their assortment of things.

Not solely can we count on to see extra on line casino video games outdoors the highest 100 embracing the collectibles component (they’re comparatively easy for builders to implement), they are a testomony to the rising recognition of hybrid components. As On line casino Fashion reveals, there may be loads of room to suppose outdoors the field and do one thing totally different to maintain gamers engaged.

AR and Exploration Video games falter within the West however discover success in Japan

In November, Niantic and WB Video games introduced that it could be discontinuing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite for Good. Much like its Pokémon cousin, Wizards Unite entails exploring the surface world together with your cell phone to seize wizarding creatures, however it failed to duplicate the success of Pokémon Go.

Even with the backing of strong IP, success isn’t assured for brand new cellular video games, particularly in genres which are already dominated by large titles.

Undoubtedly, the COVID lockdown has not helped the state of affairs with Wizards Unite because the gamers are caught inside the home. Nonetheless, comparable titles similar to Pikmin Bloom are doing higher in Japan, accounting for 65% of the income generated from the sport.

In fact, as many cities in Japan rely closely on public transportation, it could possibly be a case that Japanese gamers are spending extra time on their every day commute and have extra time to play in consequence. Both approach, AR cellular titles proceed to flourish within the East.

It is also value noting that regardless of the rising recognition of Dragon Quest IP within the West, the sport’s exploration model, Dragon Quest Stroll, remains to be Japan-exclusive, two years after its preliminary launch in 2019. Is there room for an additional exploration sport to fight Pokemon Go? Within the West, arguably not, however we would not be shocked to see a possible contender from one other main IP in Japan.

Different key tendencies from 2021

  • Battle Passes have grown in recognition yearly, however have grown from 46% to 61% within the US High 100 grossing cellular video games.
  • As League of Legends: Wild Rift has proven, social components can considerably enhance participant engagement, and social mechanics had been common in 2021, with 60% to 70% of the highest US grossing titles and the highest 100 US informal titles. elevated to twenty%. ,
  • Older titles nonetheless dominate the charts in Japan, similar to Destiny/Grand Order (2015), Monster Strike (2013), and Puzzle & Dragons (2012) – all of that are prime 10 grossing titles.
  • Advertisements are nonetheless uncommon in Japanese cellular video games, with builders as a substitute growing income via in-game purchases. Though they nonetheless seem in some titles, the best grossing titles keep away from utilizing them.
  • As a result of new legal guidelines, China has now carried out punctuality in lots of video games, however that hasn’t stopped the brand new releases from being profitable. The highest 10 grossing titles Harry Potter: Magic Woke up and Battle of the Golden Spatula dominate the charts.
  • Builders who take the time to regionalize their video games for launch in new markets are doing higher. The Chinese language model of Workforce Struggle Techniques (Golden Spatula) is way more common than the Western model, and the Western model of State of Survival fought so arduous in Japan that it was discontinued. However after regional and re-releases, State of Survival is now a prime 100 grossing title in Japan.

Now we have little doubt that we’ll see many of those tendencies type in 2022 and finally develop into the norm. Extra AAA builders will inevitably develop their providing into the cellular sector. Whether or not or not the burden of their IP shall be sufficient to shake off the titles already dominating the cellular charts, we’ll have to attend and see.

Because of the hybrid meta components that make up the crossover genres, we will count on to see extra cellular video games conserving our gamers guessing. As 2021 has proved, there may be nonetheless numerous innovation left within the cellular market.

Wilhelm Voutillainen is Senior Recreation Analyst at GameRefinery

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