Every mobile game developers has its reason in creating their games based on a specific game genre. May it be an indie game developer or a Triple A game development studio, you need to plan on what type of game you’d want to create. Not all developers create games to get their ROI (Return of Investment) as quickly as possible, especially if you are a indie developer or you just want to create games as a hobby but still, monetization is always a lingering thought. With the ever growing gaming on the mobile market, it is a smart move to align the kind of game you want to publish on what is popular or what is proven to get you great returns in terms of money. In that case, you need to look at what games has the highest ARPDAU which stands for Average Revenue Per Daily Active User. Here is the list of the top mobile game genres for 2017 in no particular order.
ROLE PLAYING GAMES
RPG games are a classic and is one of the oldest game genre up to date. It’s always been an all time favorite because it can transport players into a whole new fantasy world and backs it up with a storyline that will keep you engaged with the game. Although this has the biggest potential in terms of earnings, there is also a lot of challenges when building RPGs that most developers tend to avoid. Before you build this kind of game, you must have a great design or concept. The RPG genre has several subgenres:
Action RPG (ARPG)
- It focuses on real-time action where the player has direct control of the game’s playable character(s). It usually goes along with Hack & Slash or FPS (First Person Shooter) type of games. It’s getting quite popular on the mobile games department that lots and lots of titles are being published every month.
- ARPGs are usually shorter in terms of time it takes to finish the game but the action or experience playing these types of games ar rewarding
- As mobile phones becomes powerful every year, there is a great market of players who will definitely play this type of games. It’s easy to develop and can be done by a single developer or a small team – the important part for this genre is the gameplay experience and how it differentiates from the other action RPGs.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)
- It’s an RPG but it concentrates on multiple players playing under a single ‘Virtual World’. Like standalone RPG games, MMORPGs is more competitive and addictive due to its nature of gameplay where interaction with other players is the key factor in getting an advantage over the game.
- MMORPGs are popular on desktop computers but is gaining popularity in the mobile industry as mobile phones and tablets becomes more powerful and so there is a big market in terms of this genre.
- While this genre is lucrative, this type of genre is mostly developed by a team of game developers or big game companies that can support the cost of the development and maintenance of this type of game.
- The costs are high but the rewards are higher given the right plan.
- Mostly known as dungeon crawling type of games where you play a character mostly on a top down camera style and runs through different levels or scenes. You usually play this game to gain higher levels to beat monsters and gain in-game currency, items, weapons and other items that you can acquire by monster drop by chance or completing quests.
- Nowadays, it’s easier to create this genre given the right tools or game engine. It can be a repetitive game but that is the essence of this genre – you gain experience to become stronger, you get more items, weapons and go on to the next level is what makes it addictive.
- The challenge in creating this genre is the amount of things to consider to balance out the overall gameplay.
- Game assets for Roguelike genre is also important as visuals for this type of game helps a lot in terms of its marketing the game.
- This genre is different from normal RPG in which you progress by means of proper strategy. The game has specific rules and limitation and you need to work on those to plan your way on winning. This strategy type games are dated as early as the normal RPGs and has proven very successful because of its ‘tactical’ way of playing this game. Although it contains the role playing game kind of gameplay, it concentrates on strategic ways of advancing throughout the game.
- The gameplay usually revolves around building up characters, setting up equipments and completing the levels based on objectives or rules to win.
- Levels are usually built on an isometric grid or hex grid and characters or objects are on a 2.5D or Semi-3D perspective.
- Tactical RPGs are very rewarding if you built it right. Usually by a small team or a big game company as you also need to established balance on the game.
- Mobile Tactical RPG games aren’t that many so there is a good opportunity on this market.
Strategy is key. That is the main ingredient of this game genre. Strategy games requires skillful thinking and careful planning of how are you going to tackle a challenge to obtain victory. Depending on what type of strategy game you are playing, you are in full command on everything the game has to offer. Here is a list of subgenres for strategy type games.
- This genre is still one of the top genre on the Strategy games department. The purpose of the game is to ‘Defend’ your base from opposing forces.
- You have a base to protect and you can build towers to defend your base from getting destroyed by your opponents also known as creeps. The goal is to fortify your defense so you can withstand the wave after wave of creeps trying to destroy your defense.
- It’s still pretty popular on mobile games as this game is like an “on the go” kind of game where you usually don’t need Internet connection all the time not unless the game recommends you to buy in game items for you to power up a little bit. The cost of development for this genre is small and there is a huge amount of game assets that you can use on the fly. It will only differ on the game’s concept and on how your Tower Defense game will be different from others. Overall, this game has its own market and will continue to grow this year.
Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
- Like tower defense, RTS game genre embraces the concept of tower defense but instead more on a continuous action of building bases and producing your army or unit of defense which forces you to make strategies and decision in real time battle as every single object within the game is changing state. This genre is usually composed of levels known as campaigns which are like storylines that you can embark to know different stories of the game.
- It is very popular especially on eSports competitions because of the level of strategy, teamwork and fun.
- RTS genre might be broad but you can either build RTS games in 2D, 2.5D or 3D perspective. Even a simple RTS game concept proves to be successful given the right addictive ingredients.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
- Probably one of the rising video game genre that is getting positive response from players worldwide. MOBA games are basically RTS type but more action packed giving it another known title as ARTS for Action Real Time Strategy.
- The main objective is to defeat opposing team as you control a single character most known as heroes. Most MOBA games periodically spawn AI controlled units which are your allies and usually the opposing team also has an equal amount of enemy AI units to completely balance the two forces and it’s up to you on how you progress by either leveling up, unlocking abilities, acquiring gold to purchase better weapons and defeating enemy heroes to further gain advantage on pushing your way through enemy defense and complete destroying their base.
- It’s always multiplayer with real people or computer/AI bot with different difficulty level. The game concept is simple but the experience is very addicting especially if you play with a team vs team battle.
- The challenge on building this type of game is on how you make the game ‘Balanced’ in which every heroes, items, weapon etc… must have pros and cons, strengths and weakness so that the battle will be aligned towards strategy and teamwork rather than abusing an unbalanced character or item that will ruin the experience.
- Most MOBA are 3D but there are 2D and 2.5D which costs less to develop but still gains the MOBA addiction effect. Gaining a user base is the toughest part, but once done correctly, profit for this game genre is huge.
Trading Card Games (TCG)
- Also known as Collectible Card Game (CCG) is a staple game genre on mobile games and will continue to be on the top 10 mobile game genre for the years to come.
- TCG differentiates itself from the usual card games such as Solitaire, Blackjack, Poker or any other card games on the saturated casino-based games.
- The TCG game genre is mostly fantasy based with different character artworks that will define the game’s user experience and build your fantasy world through your imagination.
- The rules are different on every TCG game and is usually explained during your first time playing or on tutorial mode. Card varies on what it does and is usually defined on the card portrait itself by means of power, abilities, rarity, etc.
- Most TCG games boast its artwork quality that compliments in the entire gameplay of collecting, trading, battling and progressing throughout the game that is why character/item card artwork is important to bring TCG games alive.
- Game assets are as equally important as TCG gameplay and so planning to build this game requires good assets to back it up.
ACTION ADVENTURE GAMES
Action Adventure is proven to be one of the best game genre of all time although this genre tends to be the broadest of all game as it covers the more known genres under this type such as Platformers, Casual and Fighting games. Below are the top mobile game genres under the Action Adventure.
- This genre is set on a 2D or 3D environment with obstacle avoidance, jumping on platforms and defeating enemies to reach a specific goal or go to the next level.
- There could be puzzle solving, character building and getting all items being dropped by monsters, the level of repetitiveness leans towards the positive side of achieving these goals will be very rewarding.
- More popular versions of Platformers in mobile games are ‘Endless Runner’ type of games which is a massive hit since its first debut release on 2010.
- Until now, these games are being made solely for mobile games because of its play as you go nature of gameplay.
- The difficulty of building this type depends on how many levels, game assets you need to use or extra features you need to put in order to make it fun to play. There are hundreds of templates already out there for you to start with or jumpstart your development for this genre.
- The success factor in this type of game is its uniqueness among other Platformers. Be different and it will gain you massive users.
- Combat is a sport and same applies on the virtual world. Fighting game genre has been there for almost the dawn of video games. On today’s mobile industry, fighting games are still a hit and there is a good opportunity in building one.
- Indie developers have been creating dozens of titles on this genre and has proven to be very successful and it can be done by a single developer given the right tool and game assets.
- Development cost depends on what type of fighting game you are creating. The more complicated it is, of course, the higher the cause. It’s not always the complexity though, but the gameplay and uniqueness of the game that will standout in the long run. Creativity should always be considered here as you can put any features in addition to a standard gameplay of this genre.
- This game genre is proven to be very effective on mobile as it could be any kind of gameplay or concept yet could be a totally different genre by itself.
- The reason for its success is that most mobile users are ‘mobile’ or always on the go carrying of course – mobile phones and this games are the ‘i’m idle go play something’ games.
- The audience for this genre is massive that it tops the list of the most downloaded and most used genre per day.
- Since gamers who like Casual games doesn’t care about cosmetic looks of the game, what they’re really after is the level of fun making this genre very addictive. Sometimes, this game genre is so repetitive or so hard to beat that you keep on playing a single level just to advance or reach the highest score possible yet aiming to get a higher score than your previous one.
- The potential of this game is also unpredictable as simplistic games have proven success with the right concept and gameplay but also due to the number of casual games being produced, it has affected players who want quality gaming experience over casual gaming.
- The cost of development for this type of game is nearly zero or free yet the return is satisfying. Time is not a problem since you can just buy game assets or game templates easily, build your game through your trusted game development tool or game engine and there goes your Casual game ready to be played by millions of players worldwide.
To summarize the top mobile game genres 2017, it all boils down on what you’re really after, if you are after monetization then go after the lists suggested above but if you’re building mobile games for any other reasons then no one is really stopping you on making your game concepts come to life.