The latest trends in the mobile market

A little over a week ago, John Jordan, editor of the notorious PocketGamer resource, told in a post with a telling title – “Why 2D battlers will be defeated in the West, but PvP games will succeed”, about what exactly awaits the mobile games industry in the future. We decided to share his vision. 

Any company, as a rule, does what, in the opinion of its management, works, which brings money and has proved its right to exist (or, in this case, to use). 

So it should not be surprising that, for example, Zynga so actively and for so long exploited the concept embedded in its first hit – FarmVille, while the once all-powerful EA tried in vain to get off the retail needle of the annual FIFA and Madden, which were consistently (and still are) at the top of the box office tops.

Following the same logic (kui, because it works), the giants GREE and DeNA publish projects in the West that brought them success in their native Japan. 

As you probably guessed, we are talking about two-dimensional card games. 

FactoryTwo-dimensional card games in which players fight each other are not the most demanding genre for developer resources.

A decent project can be done for little money. 

What is especially important for our history, this genre works especially well in the Japanese market, whose culture is built around cards, symbols, and calligraphy. If anyone, suddenly, did not know, so Nintendo from 1883 to 1974 was engaged only in the production of game cards. 

Of course, when adapting, such projects demonstrate good performance on the world market. For example, Pokemon is just one of them.

But those card games that DeNA and GREE have been actively promoting to the west lately will never become a mass phenomenon. They will remain within their own niche, just as Magic the Gathering once occupied its niche.


The point is their high complexity, high entry threshold for most players.  

According to Jordan, he tried to play four similar games (five if you count the tutorials). But, no matter how stubborn and experienced a hardcore gamer he was, Jordan could not understand what was behind the actions he was performing. And the only thing that was clear was that money was constantly being demanded from him. 

According to him, those of his friends who still play such projects, firstly, do it for “educational purposes”, and, secondly, they talk about the minimal difference between these games, which, as a rule, is reduced only to visual design.  

DeckAs already mentioned, this is a niche, but it does not follow at all that it is impossible to make money on it, although it is absolutely not worth counting on widespread success, in any case. 

And you can poke your finger at Rage of Bahamut as much as you like, which performed well in the Western market: it has about 5 million installations behind it and it still leads the American box office top. All this is true, as well as the fact that the $3-5 million generated by him per month is nothing compared to the $26 million that another two-dimensional battler – Griland – makes only in Japan on the GREE platform.

So, these games will never be on a par with Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja or Temple Run. At least in the Western market. 

TrendBut there is one component in them that will work perfectly on the global market.

More precisely, not even a component, but a full-fledged mechanics – PvP (player versus player).

For a long time it has been key in MMO games, especially in Korea, China and Russia, but now it is coming as a new trend in the mobile market. This is largely due to the fact that companies such as Nexon, Mail.ru , Game Insight and Innogames have moved their PvP-focused games to the mobile market. This was also facilitated by the emergence and standardization of services like Game Center.

If anyone still has doubts, I suggest a couple of interesting facts:

1. Recently, the Korean publisher Com2uS reported that their Homerun Battle in PvP mode has been played more than 400 million times

2. Also, less than a month ago, Glu Mobile paid $2.8 million for GameSpy

The real trendMoreover, based on the interest in PvP in the mobile market, a much more interesting trend is developing, where there is a place not only for rivalry between players, but also for cooperation between them.


A good example of such a game is Clash of Clans from the Finnish company Supercell. The game, conditionally, has two modes: a simple urban planning (we cooperate with other players, build our own city) and a military one (we attack a neighbor’s city, rob, cut, kill). 

The key difference from hardcore PvP here is a small penalty for defeat. The city can be quickly restored after an attack, as well as lost resources. There remains only a disgraced honor, for which I want to take revenge. This factor increases both monetization and retention rate (the level of user retention). 

Plus, don’t forget about the good (console-style) graphics (more bright 3D with shaders, less text).

As for the Japanese battlers, it’s too complicated, too niche, too ambiguous, even despite the huge success in the Land of the Rising Sun. A dead end path.  

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