A recent study by SuperScale, a prominent player in mobile games revenue growth, has revealed some sobering statistics about the state of mobile game development. According to their ‘Good Games Don’t Die’ white paper, a staggering 83% of mobile games fail within three years of launch, and 43% don’t even make it to market, being terminated during the development process.
This comprehensive study, which incorporated insights from 500 game developers in the UK and US, was conducted by Atomik Research for SuperScale. The findings are especially concerning for the mobile games industry, which is currently valued at $96.2 billion. Despite the high failure rate, 78% of developers still prefer working on new titles, indicating a challenging paradox within the industry.
The report not only sheds light on the commercial challenges but also highlights the human impact of these statistics. Junior developers, in particular, reported creative unfulfillment due to frequent cancellations. This environment has led to a loss of motivation and an increased focus on commercial viability over creative aspirations.
The study also points to broader trends affecting the industry, such as global recessionary pressures, the redundancy of over 6,000 developers in 2023, and a general downturn in investment. These factors have led to 32% of developers conducting layoffs, and nearly a quarter of them coming perilously close to shutting down their businesses.
However, the white paper also identifies potential opportunities in what it calls ‘legacy games’ – titles that have ceased receiving regular updates or are in decline revenue-wise. On average, a mobile gaming portfolio contains about 18 such games, which may hold significant untapped commercial potential.
Ivan Trancik, CEO and Founder of SuperScale, commented on the findings, calling for a new mindset within the industry. He stressed the importance of reflecting on existing gaming content and exploring ways to revitalize these legacy games. According to Trancik, the industry needs to balance the passion for game creation with the realities of the commercial market.
The white paper delves into various aspects of mobile game development, including outsourcing, performance measurement, and monetization methods. These insights aim to help developers and publishers maximize revenue across their portfolios, including both new and legacy games.
The ‘Good Games Don’t Die Report: Unlocking the Full Potential of Legacy Games’ is available for download, providing valuable insights for those in the mobile gaming industry seeking to navigate its challenging landscape.