Mobile game discovery – why it’s tricky for indies – Gamasutra

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[Hi, I’m ‘how people find your game’ expert Simon Carless, and you’re reading the Game Discoverability Now! newsletter, which you can subscribe to now, a regular look at how people discover and buy video games in the 2020s.]

So, you might be saying – why aren’t you covering the mobile market in this newsletter, Simon? According to approximated research, it was almost a $70 billion market in 2019, whereas PC and console markets individually were way less than that. And mobile game spending has surged during the COVID-19 lockdown.

I’ve been chatting to one or two readers about this, and also picked some brains. And I think mobile games are super important. But they’re a tough market for many small and medium-sized independent studios to target. So I’m not planning to address them much here. Here’s why:

The premium mobile game market doesn’t (generally) scale

If you build up a catalog, solo or tiny devs can occasionally do decently from a premium (paid app) mobile-first strategy. Here’s a better-case scenario from TinyTouchTales (Card Crawl, etc!), who is very transparent about revenue and showed off its 2019 numbers here:

So that’s 110,000 Euros for 2019, plus some ad revenue (and Google Play pass revenue). But that’s across multiple games and SKUs and years of building up profile, plus multiple
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