Mobile Games Prepare for Console Cross-Play: How ASO Will Help
March 22nd, 2019
Epic Games has announced the Epic Online Services, designed to bridge the gap between console, PC and mobile gaming. What this means is that mobile games will not only face more competition from console and PC games, but games going from console to cross-platform mobile will need to understand App Store Optimization in order to compete.
Epic Online Services
The new online services from Epic Games was released during GDC 2019. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney stated that it’s focused on the cross-play experience, going beyond allowing games to be played across different consoles and bringing the full game experience to mobile devices.
Game porting of this level has already been seen with Epic’s hit game “Fortnite,” which is available on iOS and Android devices as a full game. “The genre thing is overrated, and the platform decisions are overrated,” stated Sweeney in an interview with Business Insider. “So many of these gamers play on a variety of devices, so you can’t say they’re a mobile gamer or a console gamer.”
While Epic Online Services works with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, it’s also compatible with Unity and Lumberyard. This will enable a wider range of developers to design games playable on mobile devices, computers and consoles with no loss in playability or quality. This is intended to improve gaming as a whole, including mobile gaming.
This news comes at the same time as Google announced Stadia, which is designed to provide a cloud-based, cross-platform experience that can shift between television sets, computers and mobile devices. What makes this different is that it is not intended for hosted services, but rather the same game available on multiple devices while being playable across each of them.
When developers are designing games for Epic Online Services, they may only think about the game’s availability on consoles or PCs. However, the mobile game market is continuously growing, and focusing on succeeding on the App Store and Google Play Store can contribute immensely to an app’s success. For that, App Store Optimization is essential.
ASO For Mobile Games
Mobile gaming is one of the most competitive and profitable environments in the App Store and Play Store. The top-grossing games can make anywhere between hundreds of thousands and over a million dollars through in-app purchases alone.
With that said, there are multiple categories of mobile games alone, each with their own audiences. Developers moving from console-only to console and mobile may not be able to rely on their brand names alone to succeed; ASO will help them get an edge on the competition.
While Epic Games is enabling any developer to create games for consoles and mobile devices alike, it is doing so while trying to circumvent the cut that the stores take from its in-app purchases. While “Fortnite” is still for sale on the Apple App Store, it has to be downloaded outside of the Google Play Store for Android devices. While other developers may follow suit, they can also take advantage of this for their own optimization and benefit from the Play Store traffic that “Fortnite’s” absence in the action and shooter games searches may create.
By utilizing ASO best practices, developers will be able to reach a new audience of mobile gamers. For example, battle royale shooter games like “Fortnite” have to utilize keywords like “shooter game” and “battle royale,” as well as other related keywords like “online games” and even competitors like “PUBG.”
Similarly, developers should understand the best practices for screenshots and videos. This is different from creating box art or commercials, as the app stores have different standards and requirements. The screenshots should demonstrate different aspects of the game, rather than just a moment of action, and utilize keyword-focused callout text.
Understanding the core concepts and best practices of App Store Optimization will help console games succeed on the App Store. If they want to find new players by showing up in searches and convince console players that it’s worth downloading the mobile version, they’ll need a well-optimized App Store listing that will attract and convert users.
The mobile space is an entirely different game than the console wars. With Epic Online Services on the way, developers will need to learn a new set of rules if they want to succeed in the mobile space.
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