The world of gaming is changing, Immersion is leading the charge.
In collaboration with Google, we’ve launched a new category of mobile games – Games You Can Feel, spotlighted this week in the games section on Google Play. The games feature TouchSense® Engage, Immersion’s haptic technology for making mobile games rumble, shake, pop, and zap on your mobile device. The wide range of games available, including fan favorites Angry Birds Friends by Rovio and Trials Frontier (two new developers with Immersion) to Clouds and Sheep by Handy Games and Basketball Tournament by Fat Bat Studios.
It’s important to note that this haptic feedback is not the same that you’ve experienced in the past. For example, TouchSense Engage has the capability to make it feel like its raining inside your mobile phone. The tactile effects are distinguished enough that you can feel the difference between a basketball bounce and a whiffle ball bounce. This is what is changing the way that you experience the mobile game.
Imagine how much better you would be at playing a mobile game if you had touch as a point of reference for an interaction. Once game designers start to think about the features that can be enabled with tactile effect, a new world of game design opens up. Using your hands to feel the experience adds a basic intuition that goes beyond the audio and visual components of today’s mobile games.
While there is a lot of talk about virtual reality and augmented reality out there (see a recent blog post from Immersion on virtual reality at GDC 2015), haptic technology is here now. We can get pretty far with the motor that is currently on your mobile device and Immersion’s TouchSense Engage. Download your choice of game from Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/collection/promotion_30014e7_haptics_games
One additional note: Haptics created using TouchSense doesn’t consume the same about of battery as silent mode. TouchSense Engage precisely controls the actuator to optimize battery consumption. One less hurdle to trying it out today.
Mobile has changed the dynamic of gaming in a dramatic way.
Over the last few years, game developers have grown accustomed to mobile as one of the platforms in which they can engage the consumers. The approach for designing a top-tier mobile game still includes the majority of the same components – game design, action, gamer engagement, sound design, user retention strategies. However the way that these components are executed in the mobile gaming platform can have a huge impact on success.
In a recent contributed article on Exploring Mobile Games as An Engaging Platform, posted in gamesauce, last month, I recapped a conversation I had during panel with a few industry leaders, namely Jeff Drobick of Tapjoy, Jeffrey Cooper of Samsung, and David Zemke of DeNA. On the panel we debated the balance between the left brain and the right brain when it came to designing mobile games.
The one consensus across the industry experts was that these creative game design remains the highest priority in gaining and retaining users. It makes sense. After all, you can’t even start to think about how you can make money until you have gamers playing your game. From that perspective every piece of the design is a balancing act. The mobile device is a unique platform because of the way gamers use their handsets. (See my blog post on Embracing the Mute Button). Maintaining a lasting relationship with the user is exponentially harder on the mobile device, however the opportunity to target a broader audience makes it a worthwhile effort.
This is an ever present component of how we look at tactile design at Immersion. There is huge benefit to adding tactile effects to games. We know it increases retention, improves people’s intent to share their experience with others, and provides users with an overall better impression of the game design quality. We also know that at some point the intent in a tactile design can go bad. This happens when design principles are not followed and the strategy for tactile design is not completely thought through.
Touch is a great engagement tool and to do it right can mean a lot to your users, and can result a more elegant game design, higher retention and new monetization opportunities. Getting the right balance in means that the focus should be on improving game design and increasing retention before monetization consideration. It is possible to use haptics for both. We should continue to explore how users play their mobile games to find other creative avenues for monetization as we consciously design haptics to improve game play and engagement.