It Takes a Village...
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Here at Appstori, we are delighted to pen our inaugural column in Gamasutra. What a great community to be a part of!
Over the past year, my co-founder Michael and I have dedicated ourselves to understanding the needs of mobile app developers across multiple verticals, including gaming. We've learned a few things along the way and believe that the market is on the cusp of positive and dramatic change.
Lots of themes, but a few observations that are worth highlighting:
- The mobile market is complex and growing: a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this infographic from Luma Partners that attempts to capture the mobile app
- The mobile gaming market is REAL: this sounds a bit trite, but it's a powerful statement. Many verticals in mobile are still trying to find out how to make money, or develop a business model that's rational. Mobile gaming is ahead of the curve, and has proven to be one of the few mobile apps categories that consumers will gladly pay for if the experience delights.
- App discovery still remains a huge challenge: lots of great products competing against each other for mindshare means that it's challenging and potentially quite expensive to break through the clutter. Too much power is concentrated in the hands of too few, which is part of the problem. However, we're beginning to see some interesting initiatives brewing that may shift the landscape a little.
- Traditional funding is in short supply: most indie developers don't have easy access to capital until they get to a certain size. It's challenging to get to that size, unless you have a little time, money and luck on your side. In mobile app development, funding is a bit of a "chicken and egg" problem, and one that becomes more acute when studios can be outspent by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Consumers will play an even greater role in bringing great games to market: the app stores kind of remind me of the old television networks when only three networks were around. Of course, then came cable TV and choice. Mobile gaming is ripe for new channels and business models to emerge to put more power back into the hand of the consumer.
Over the coming weeks, and months, we look forward to tackling these industry issues and open[ing] a forum for discussion to see how they can best be addressed. Of course, we've got a few of our own ideas :) We also look forward to highlighting mobile gaming projects that are creative, innovative and persistent in their pursuit to develop and market great games.