The Future of Games on the App Store

July 14th, 2017

The Future of Games on the App Store
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

Developers are currently scrambling to make sure their metadata will be completely ready for iOS 11’s launch this coming fall. Apple announced big changes to the App Store such as the revamped navigation bar, which now features three new tabs, Today, Games and Apps. This redesign means that Apple has finally separated games from other apps, essentially creating two App Stores with their own separate top charts and featured content. Making games its own tab concretely separates games from other apps, and allows for all games genres to be better categorized on the App Store. The games tab will have its own top charts, but will also have separate top categories section. Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.44.38 AM While many developers are eagerly awaiting the launch of iOS 11, some are frantically adjusting their app’s metadata in case there are major changes to how apps index. But why are game developers worrying about games having its own tab? Will the upcoming changes affect everyone’s carefully crafted metadata and current ASO strategy? Why Are Games a Big Deal? Games having its own store is a complete game changer for everyone. It separates games from other apps and means there is now a dedicated space in the App Store that will focus solely on games. This separation also means that the top charts inside the Games tab will focus only on gaming, creating even more competition with each app category. While many developers are focused on how to get their apps on the top charts, others are looking forward to Apple’s promises of editorialized content that will only focus on games. This content will aid in discoverability in highlight the day’s biggest game releases, rotating game promotions and gameplay videos, along with featuring a revolving list of new handpicked games. On top of the curated lists, Apple will show users available content for in-app purchases. This extends to new levels, characters or gameplay updates. Having in-app purchases readily available from the app’s product page expedites the decision-making process for many users and encourages them to download faster. Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.14.21 AM Giving games its own store will help users discover more games and definitely distinguish non-games within the App Store. All of this is great news, but does the separation of games and other apps affect current ASO best practices? Games and ASO Moving games to its own store simply means more competition in the App Store. All available games will be in one place, meaning that developers need to make sure their metadata is clear and relevant to help their game stand out over competitors. Despite many developers already having a tried and true ASO strategy, Apple did announce changes to the metadata. These changes include:

  • Reducing app name character limit to 30 characters
  • New Subtitle field capped at 30 characters
  • New Promotional Text field capped at 170 characters
  • Displaying up to three Preview Videos

Thankfully, ASO best practices is fully equipped to help developers prepare for these changes. Keep in mind, the changes to metadata are crucial to building relevancy, but it is still unknown whether the Subtitle and Promotional Text will affect how apps index.

1. Subtitle

The Subtitle text field can be maximum of 30 characters and will be displayed underneath the app name on the product page. Despite having such little space, game developers should treat this field as a brief summary of their game that encourages users to download. This field, just like the description, can only be updated when submitting a new build of the game. Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.49.47 AM 2. Promotional Text While it’s suggested to treat the Subtitle as a brief summary of the game, the Promotional Text should be used to highlight any recent updates, features, promotions and more. This field, unlike the description or Subtitle, can be updated at any time without submitting a new build.

3. Preview Videos

While the addition of the Subtitle and Promotional Text are incredibly important for helping games become more visible, the addition of more Preview Videos means one thing: more opportunities to convert users. Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.52.53 AM Games can now show off multiple Preview Videos that feature gameplay, characters and more. Ultimately, game developers will be able to engage with users while highlighting core features of their game.

Key Takeaways

Apple’s decision to separate Games is a huge turning point in the future of the App Store. iOS 11 will clearly distinguish games and apps as two separate entities on the App Store. Developers need to realize that the separation of games and apps does help more games become easily discoverable, but it also clearly displays the high levels of competition among game categories. It is imperative that developers take the preemptive strike and focus their ASO strategy toward reducing their app name, creating unique and relevant Subtitle and Promotional Text, and making sure each Preview Video demonstrates the game’s core features before the App Store’s update.

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