Discovering a great game on Playstore and iOS appstore has become an increasingly frustrating experience due to the lack of filters and curation. One of the USP’s of the appstores on launch was the fact that even small time developers could get an equal share of the opportunity. However, now a few developers have the clout and the budgets to wipe others into obscurity.
Mobile appstores are becoming a dumping ground of reskins and poorly thought out casual games. The ‘Free to Play’ segment, in particular, is suffering due to this glut of substandard content as it affects the discoverability of games that have taken years of effort to develop. When publishers are trying to turn a quick profit by dishing out casual games in volumes, it affects the industry as a whole. This is especially the case when established developers rely purely on IP and capitalise on a well-recognized brand without putting time or effort into the game mechanics. Here are a few ways by which appstores can even the odds in favour of innovation.
Reduce the dependence on ad spend
New publishers account for just 3% of the top 250 apps on the android Playstore and claim just 1.2% of the revenue according to data by Android authority. The “Top Apps” lists of Playstore are currently too dependent on ad spends and as such established names with multiple titles can game their way onto the charts. This creates a vicious cycle where top players have very little incentive to innovate and yet make the most money due to the higher visibility.
Create a category purely for Indie games
The only way to ensure that Indie games get their fair share of the pie is to introduce categories purely for Indie games. The ‘Editors Picks’ section of the appstore is a step in the right direction and more such categories need to be created to cater to and encourage new developers. Curation is key and although most of it is algorithm based, having an independent review by gamers could help bring out better content.
Build a human connection
The reason crowdsourcing websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo work are due to the human element involved. Players get passionate about projects if they feel an emotional connection to the creator. If appstores could add a profile section for Indie developers where they could put a face to their app, players would be more motivated to purchase IAPs or pay upfront for the game.