Tag Archives: gdc 2018

casual games

Genre Showcase: Casual Games

Casual games are a nostalgic American pastime that only continues to grow each year – especially in the mobile space. What began as quarter-eating arcade cabinets has grown into a massive industry, and casual games can now be found on phones around the world.

PAC-MAN was considered to be the first ever casual game when it was released in arcades across the nation in the 1980’s. Since then, casual gamers have enjoyed classics like Tetris, Solitaire and Snake and have grown to love newer titles such as Candy Crush Saga, Farmville and more.

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Casual games aren’t going anywhere, especially since they’ve been growing in popularity since the 80’s. In 2016 alone, casual mobile games saw 23.9 million downloads. Casual games are popular with almost every age group and demographic, in large part because the gameplay is simple and can be played in short bursts of time, like during work breaks or when a user just wants to pass the time.

Users also enjoy casual games because of their sense of familiarity – they know what to expect, as most games follow familiar formats that are simple and somewhat predictable.

Mobile games tend to have high download rates in the App Store and Google Play Store, even when compared to other genres, which means there is a fair amount of competition at hand. But how do developers of casual games compete with big-name competitors or games that have similar gameplay? One way to ensure that their app is seen by users is to optimize their keywords.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Keywords

Some users might go directly to a category on the App Store that they know has casual games, but most will search using words and phrases to describe what they’re looking for. These searches, which tend to be 2-3-word phrases, are vital to apps getting discovered. Developers should seek to target keywords that are both high-volume and relevant to their app to improve its visibility.

Now, if we think about casual games, which can be games in several different app categories, how are developers supposed to choose the best keywords to make their app visible?

If developers want to compete and get their casual games seen, they’ll need to focus on:

  1. Relevancy
  2. Popularity
  3. Long-tail keywords
  4. Competitors

By focusing on these four factors, developers will be able to get their casual game appearing in more user search queries than before, which is sure to increase their download rates.

1. Relevancy

Relevancy is key for every app, especially casual games. Developers need to start thinking outside of the box to make sure that their game appears for keywords that are specifically relevant to its core features.

If we search for “arcade,” which classifies as a casual game, we’ll see that Jenga is actually the first game to appear. It beats out other games such as PAC-MAN 256 (a recognizable arcade classic) and Paper Toss most likely due to its description containing a feature set geared specifically toward the keyword “arcade.”


Jenga also includes “arcade” in one of their screenshots, unlike PAC-MAN 256. As such, we see that because they targeted the word and integrated it throughout their metadata more than other apps they’re currently ranking better for the keyword and appearing first when users search for “arcade.”

2. Popularity

When targeting keywords, it’s good to create a balance between low and high-volume keywords. By taking this approach, you’re able to appear for more commonly searched phrases like “puzzle” as well as more niche keywords such as “match 3.”

The casual game Gummy Drop! didn’t just magically become #1 for “match 3” – they had to work their way up that spot. Their description contains the keyword three times, and they also target the keyword in their title and screenshots. The developers for this app knew that “match 3” was a high-volume keyword, and decided to integrate it as much as possible throughout their metadata without overusing it to the point of being considered “keyword stuffing.” Thus, by recognizing the importance of this keyword and taking advantage of it, Gummy Drop! was able to claim the #1 spot.

3. Long-Tail Keywords

On top of targeting one-word keywords such as “puzzle,” “casual” or “arcade,” it’s optimal to target longer keywords so the game appears for a multitude of phrases. If a developer has a puzzle game, they surely want to target “puzzle,” but it would also benefit them to target keywords such as, “puzzle games” or “puzzle games for free.” While one keyword is higher volume than the other, incorporating both phrases into the game’s metadata will help it appear for multiple searches instead of just one.

4. Competitors

Because the number of games that can be classified as casual is incredibly high, the category has loads of competitors. In turn, these competitors are targeting the same keywords, either because it’s relevant to their game, or they notice that it’s a high-volume keyword and want their game to appear for it.

If we search for “classic arcade games,” we’ll notice that nearly every game in the top ten features what many would consider as a “classic game.” These games are all vying to appear first for the same keyword, which means that they’ll have to be careful. Similar to Gummy Drop! having to work its way up, new games won’t instantly take the top spot just because they’re targeting the keyword.


You’ll have to be strategic and incorporate this keyword throughout your app’s metadata to ensure that it appears in a user search in the first place. From there, you can steadily work on building your game’s visibility until it’s ranked at the top.

Remember the Importance of Keywords

Without keywords, your game just won’t appear in a user search. That’s why targeting and incorporating relevant, high-volume keywords is so incredibly important. Keep in mind that there are thousands of casual games, which means that there’s competition everywhere. However, by focusing on keywords that are relevant, popular, long-tail and also targeted by competitors, any casual game developer will stand a chance at optimizing their keywords, and in doing so stand out against the competition.

This post is part of our Blog Series on Gaming and GDC 2018. Click the link to see other posts in the series!

what to expect at gdc 2018

What To Expect At GDC 2018

With the 2018 Game Developers Conference approaching, developers and attendees are busy preparing their schedules for a busy week of exploring all the latest developments in games. However, that encompasses a wide range of subjects, and there is quite a lot to do and see. Here are the major things to expect at GDC and look forward to.

1. Game Development

For both professional and aspiring game developers, GDC contains seminars and panels covering all aspects of game development. This includes topics from programming to marketing and everything in-between. Among the wide range of subjects, there are such intriguing gems as Riot’s session on “Understanding the Social Values of Your Players,” Flux Game Studio’s “How to Scale an Indie Game via Outsourcing” and MEGO’s “Cryptocurrency in Games.”

Between panels, there’s an entire exhibition hall filled with the latest in games and innovations. Several large studios will have massive booths displaying their new games and accessories, with lengthy lines of people waiting to try out upcoming games.

2. Mobile Gaming

Of course, mobile apps are an important aspect of today’s game landscape, so there are several sessions dedicated to mobile gaming.

  • King, the studio behind hit games like Candy Crush and Bubble Witch 2 Saga, will be hosting a panel on what does and doesn’t work for design teams.
  • Kongregate will be discussing the making of their “Animation Throwdown” mobile game and the pros/cons of going cross-platform.
  • Scopely will be discussing mobile free-to-play games.

For those who make or are interested in mobile games, they should prove invaluable.

3. AR & VR

In recent years, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been seeing huge upswings in innovation. At GDC, developers creating games using these technologies will have their latest creations on display, showing off the current potential of virtual and augmented reality.

However, the exhibition hall is for more than just demonstrating and selling games. Exhibitors will be displaying products in a wide range of aspects within the gaming industry, including:

  • Ad monetization
  • Funding and venture capitalists
  • Gamification
  • Marketing
  • And many other aspects!

While you’re there, don’t forget to keep an eye out for all sorts of free gifts from the various vendors; anyone leaving GDC without at least a free t-shirt or two must make an active effort to avoid them.

4. Alt.ctrl.GDC

GDC is not only a celebration of what games are but of the innovation behind them. In that spirit, it hosts alt.ctrl.GDC, an interactive space where clever designers have created games with controllers that are anything but traditional. Previous years saw such creative ideas as a game controlled from a cardboard box and colander helmet. Another featured a game with a joystick and a single line of LED lights to represent the gameplay. No doubt there will be a variety of unique and inspired game designs on display.

5. Independent Games Festival & Developers Choice Awards

Additionally, the Independent Games Festival (IGF) Pavilion will honor and display this year’s most well-renowned indie games. These are the products of independent developers pouring their hearts and souls into creating new, unique games, and managing to create something bold and entertaining. There won’t be any large game studios in the Pavilion, but the quality of these indie developers can more than compete with any of them.

Speaking of competing, GDC always wraps up with the annual Game Developers Choice Awards. This is the 18th annual awards show, recognizing the greatest in creativity, technology, and artistry in the past year’s games. There are a wide range of awards, such as the Innovation Award, Best Narrative, Best Mobile Game, Best VR/AR Game, and of course, the coveted Game of the Year.

What to expect at GDC

Looking Forward: Even More To Expect at GDC

When all the gaming is done, and awards are claimed, then it is time to mingle. There are mixers and networking spaces held around the convention center after the floor hours have ended. This is a great time to make new contacts and friends within the gaming industry. Networking is key to any career, so attendees shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and meet new people.

Yet with all that to look forward to, it is but a taste of all that the Game Developers Conference has in store. For those who are involved in the gaming industry or looking to get a foot in the door, it’s an event that should not be missed. It’s only a few weeks away, so the time to start planning your schedule is now.

This post is part of our Blog Series on Gaming and GDC 2018. Click the link to see other posts in the series!


GDC 2018

Gaming & GDC

Game developers are gearing up for the Game Developers Conference 2018 in San Francisco. Many are excited to experience the expo, attend networking events and, of course, represent at the coveted Independent Gaming Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards.

This year we’re sure to see new innovation within the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality spaces, but there’s also going to be a plethora of great information and inspiration for every aspect of gaming!

This is why Gummicube has decided to create a series of blog posts dedicated to gaming and GDC. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing articles on marketing AR/VR, an in-depth look at three popular mobile gaming genres, a guide to what to expect at GDC and an update to our popular Gaming Cheat Sheet.

This post will serve as your “one-stop shop” for content regarding the upcoming conference and provide you with links to each post once they are published.

Check back over the next few weeks to make sure you have all the information you need to make GDC 2018 the best experience possible!

What to Expect at GDC

Whether it’s your first GDC or you’ve been every year, there’s always something new and unique to experience. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can expect to see in the expo and during the panels. We’ll also give some tips to making the most out of your GDC experience.

Genre Showcase: Casual Games

Our first gaming genre showcase will focus on casual games, an ever-growing app category that populates millions of smartphones. Games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush and more have loads of competition, yet an app with just a few differences can stand out from the crowd and quickly gain popularity. We’ll take a look at why keyword choices are so important with casual games and how finding the right keywords can improve your app’s visibility.

Tips For Marketing Your AR or VR App

With the ever-increasing popularity of VR and AR, it’s no surprise that Gaming is leading the way in those fields. As with any new technology, new ways of marketing emerge as the tech and the markets around it develop. This article will take a look at the current state of the industry and where we predict it’s going over the next year. You’ll also receive some tips and tricks on unique ways to market an AR/VR app.

Genre Showcase: Puzzle Games

Before smartphones were smart, we had phones that played simple games, many of which were puzzle-based. As one of the most common genres, mobile puzzle games have come a long way since the days of Snake and Tetris clones, but they still tend to be simple and fun. With such a rich history and frequently similar gameplay across many of the apps, standing out often times depends less on the gameplay itself, and more about the creatives. We’ll look at the genre as a whole and analyze commonalities and differences between popular apps’ icons, screenshots and preview videos.

Genre Showcase: Action Games

With smartphone technology allowing developers to create nearly console-quality experiences, it’s no surprise that action games have become so popular. Games like MARVEL Contest of Champions, Dragon Ball Z DOKKAN BATTLE and Rules of Survival are great examples of how advanced the gameplay has become. We’ll look at the most popular games in 2018 so far, break down what makes them popular and how they use their title and descriptions to make a niche for themselves.

Cheat Codes to Improve Visibility for Mobile Games

The final article for the series will be an update to our popular ASO for Mobile Games Cheat Sheet from early 2017 that showcases ASO best practices for mobile games. This will combine the concepts we talked about in the Genre Showcase posts and put them into one place to easily access and reference.

Looking Toward the Future

2018 is promising to be an amazing year for mobile gaming. Augmented Reality has become the focus of many developers, while Virtual Reality is still a major interest for PC and console gaming. The Gaming Industry will continue to grow, with new players frequently entering the scene. While having a solid game is most important for success, strong ASO strategies will help you drive downloads and get new users to try, and hopefully keep using, your app.