There's never been a more competitive time in the free-to-play mobile game market, and at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March you'll have unique opportunities to hone your mobile game-making skills and learn new ways of grabbing (and holding) a healthy playerbase.
Most notably, the GDC 2019 Mobile Summit offers you two days of talks dedicated to the nuts and bolts of great game design and successful business strategies for games on iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms.
For example, this year's Mobile Summit will feature King's Ishai Smadja presenting a talk on "To Affinity and Beyond: Lessons Learned Mapping the Mobile Games Market."
Using King's treasure trove of mobile market data, Smadja will show you what the mobile gaming market looks like mapped using big data, and how to use this knowledge to explore opportunities, or grow them for yourself. Can big data help game makers chart a fruitful course in today's choppy game market? You'll find out by coming to this talk!
And in "The Changing Face of the Mobile Marketplace" Kongregate's Peter Eykemans will give you a valuable refresher in how things are different now by taking a look at four mobile games (two new launches, and two aging titles) to see what the modern mobile business looks like. He'll walk you through the practical value of things like storefront featuring, user acquisition, test markets, performance improvements, competition, game updates, and more!
Outside the Summit you'll find lots of GDC 2019 talks that offer potentially useful learnings for mobile F2P game makers, among them "Defying Expectations: 7 Lessons from The Sims Free Play" from Electronic Arts' Mavis Chan.
Part of the GDC 2019 Business & Marketing track of talks, Chan's session condenses seven years of work on The Sims Free Play into seven key lessons that have shaped EA's thinking and the game's success. Through multiple examples, Chan will illustrate the failures and difficulties that TSFP faced and how they eventually resulted in insightful lessons that now heavily influence TSFP in live service. Live games are almost a way of life in today's F2P mobile game market, so don't overlook this talk!
On the same track of talks you'll find "Nature vs Nurture: Unpacking Player Spending in F2P Games", in which Kongregate's Drew Levin will use several case studies from live Kongregate games to explore how and why some player behaviors are easier and more rewarding to change, while others have a nearly unbreakable ceiling.
Free-to-play mobile game developers will hopefully walk away with a deeper understanding of how focusing on repeat spend will improve their business, and how that translates into design and product principles!
And if you'd like a bit of schadenfreude with your tips and tricks, consider checking out "The Guy Who Ruined Angry Birds" from Rovio's Mans Wilde. Part of the Design track, it's all about the design and development of Angry Birds 2, which had to be a F2P game that succeeded one of the most popular premium games of all time.
It should be packed with practical takeaways for changing player expectations about mobile game economies; if nothing else, Wilde promises it will be a "very honest story about the good and bad decisions that ultimately made it possible to transfer the Angry Birds gameplay from one business format into a completely different one."
Further details on these talks and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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