Jump to content

Are mobile apps more important than mobile friendly design?


Digital
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is a question that I don't think has been honestly answered. We all know that having a responsive design that works in a mobile browser is good, but do you think that is enough or do you feel current virtual pet or sim games could increase their player bases by investing in mobile application versions of their games?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Matthew said:

I don't know. I think people regularly clear out apps on their mobile devices (I know I do) and an app is a significant investment that's pretty much lost if someone decides it's not for them and deletes it to make room for something else, whereas a responsive design will always pay dividends, in my opinion.

I would agree, however I would say the larger user-base on mobile these days look in the app stores. I have a nine-year-old that would love to play pet like games, however if it isn't in an app store, he will never find it. Granted a lot of teens may or not be more savvy, but I think the newer or next generation will probably a lose of the ability to use the browser as a means to find stuff to do, and rely on apps.

12 hours ago, Matthew said:

Mobile apps also require a split of the codebase (or at least moving to an API-backed model, or developing an API for the app) compared to a responsive design which can be implemented, changed, etc. relatively quickly with no codebase split.

This is definitely a consideration, however over the past several years tools have come out that make it easier and easier to do this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in the process of moving one of my web games over to a mobile app, so I don't yet have data to support this, but my gut says mobile apps are where it's at. Granted, my web game is from 2009 so it's not responsive, but apps allow you to do more in a more isolated and controlled environment than a web app.

Push notifications, in-app payments, discoverability etc. I vote app all the way.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say it depends on your target audience and what you are trying to achieve.

A responsive design will allow your game to be played on your mobile and some for that might be enough.

But then...

As Makazu says, if you looking to do more in terms of push notifications etc and get your game more visibility then a mobile app is the way to go. 

If you split the codebase and have an api as suggested, then there is nothing stopping you do both.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think @PaulSonny makes a good point here. "It depends on your target audience and what you are trying to achieve."

Many of the users that choose games like pet sites for the nostalgia factor probably aren't that into using mobile apps casually. I'm still getting used to using them myself and would prefer accessing games on the computer for the most part, because I like a wider screen and being able to communicate using my keyboard. In that way, I would prefer to just see a responsive layout when I must use my phone, because I would plan on that just being a back up. And as people have mentioned, it is a large investment to create an app when the userbase doesn't really want or require that.

 

However, if you want to reach a modern audience and offer something new that will compete with current games, I say mobile apps are the way to go. I think apps condense games in a way that can easily showcase the focus of your game and put things like advertisements and in-app purchases in the face of players (assuming you're developing a game with the goal of making money). I think apps have a way of appealing to a click and scroll generation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a web developer there's actually a lot you can do for mobile users from a website without having to go to the app level. iPhones do provide a way to bookmark webpages like apps, and there are API's available to help integrate with mobile devices. 
 

Most people who use mobile devices are familiar with navigating the web on them. Optimizing your web or game to work on mobile and touch devices will certainly help but I don't think the mobile app wave was as revolutionary as was hoped. I'm an active gamer and there are very few mobile games I actually play more than once a month. It works well if I'm sitting in a waiting room, or waiting to pick someone up but I don't actively see my phone and other mobile devices as gaming devices. I think games could benefit from supplementing with a mobile device but I don't think transforming your entire game into a mobile-app only platform is necessarily the way to go. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMO, the above are (decent) workarounds if you can't have an app. Neither one will get a push notification if the browser isn't open though.

Quote

 I'm an active gamer and there are very few mobile games I actually play more than once a month.  It works well if I'm sitting in a waiting room, or waiting to pick someone up

In those cases, would it not be simpler to open the app vs navigating to a website?

 

Quote

. I think games could benefit from supplementing with a mobile device but I don't think transforming your entire game into a mobile-app only platform is necessarily the way to go. 

I haven't seen anyone suggest that a game should go mobile-only. I believe we're discussing making your WEB GAME mobile-accessible and if simply making a responsive design is enough. 

If you're going mobile-only, chances are you're building something from the ground up vs porting an existing web-game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Makazu said:

In those cases, would it not be simpler to open the app vs navigating to a website?

My point was more that despite being a gaming person, the only mobile games I play are ones that can be played for 5 minutes at a time and dropped for a month. Most browser-based games are not like this. Yes mobile gaming is definitely a thing, and a lucrative one at that but you have to consider the types of games we're talking about. Unless you have a solid reason to go mobile, a responsive and touch optimized website should really suffice for anyone who must play your game on mobile. And no, it's not necessarily simpler to open the app because chances are I wouldn't download it to begin with. 

2 hours ago, Makazu said:

I haven't seen anyone suggest that a game should go mobile-only. I believe we're discussing making your WEB GAME mobile-accessible and if simply making a responsive design is enough. 

 

On 3/31/2017 at 5:27 AM, Makazu said:

I'm in the process of moving one of my web games over to a mobile app,

 

If that's not what you meant by your comment maybe you should revise or clarify?

I just tend to be against bandwagon ideas. Just because you could make your web game work in a mobile environment doesn't mean you should. I think mobile apps have their time and place but I don't think porting everything into the idea "There's an app for that" is stable, and it's proven not to be. There was a 20% decline in app downloads last year alone. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's not at all what I meant. In fact, the first (and most) iteration will be a companion app as it isn't really practical to bring over all the features the full web game has (not even to mobile web).

As for bandwagon and trends, I've been building websites and apps (like actual desktop apps, and then symbian apps for the first "smart" phones) for 15 years now. Many of my sites aren't even mobile optimized. There's no bandwagoning here. There's simply me seeing that a large portion of my user base on many of my sites (gaming and non-gaming) are mobile. There's me seeing that creating a mobile app for one of my non-gaming sites increased my revenue multiple times over and super increased engagement. With the apps, I have better user experience and session control than I would with a mobile website (which, we also have) and can better engage with the user.

I'm not saying simply create a pathetic wrapper "app" that is the same as the browser. I think the ticket is to put some effort in and create a user experience that can't be matched in the browser (though, as an aside, I bought a game last year that had an "app" which was actually just a browser that navigated to the domain. Users actually complained when it was removed from the store for a bit during the transition).

That's what I'm seeing from my experience though. Everyone is of course different, and devs should to do what works for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...