Posted in: Gaming/VR, Opinions

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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.

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