Technology

Essential design features to make PC and console games successful on mobile devices

For many developers and publishers, converting established IPs to mobile devices can be a challenge. From methods of control through monetization and consumer expected weights, decks are often stacked based on titles attempting to make this shift.

In this section, we’ll take a look at Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact to understand how successful they were on mobile. We will also take a look at League of Legends: Wild Rift, which has some great potential if it can learn from other successful MOBAs in the mobile market.

Call of Duty Mobile

Said to be the poster child for the successful transition from console and PC to mobile, COD Mobile (as we will call it hereafter) shows AAA developers how it works. . From a design standpoint, a number of things have managed to contribute to this success.

Controls and gameplay
Going from a complicated controller and mouse/keyboard setup to a portable monitor for any FPS is a big hurdle. Developer TiMi has managed to crack this to emulate precision and controllability, delivering an experience similar to what mobile and console gamers expect.

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Continuous
COD Mobile taps into its nostalgic/IP legacy by providing familiar maps and weapons to players.

Big content rhythm
COD Mobile has learned from the most successful mobile games by providing players with a variety of gameplay events, limited-time game modes, and lots of new maps and weapons to keep players engaged. .

Big and small events
Successful mobile games know how to capitalize on events, and COD Mobile is no different. There are always two to three smaller events tied to different limited time modes/new maps on the go that require gameplay to unlock a variety of cosmetics. This is supplemented with larger game events, such as the recent Sea of ​​Steel event, at least once a month.

COD Mobile revenue spike in the last 12 months shows the importance of limited-time items and events

COD Mobile revenue spike in the last 12 months shows the importance of limited-time items and events

New seasons for matches/ranked mode
We’ve written extensively about the evolution of the Battle Pass and how it’s been used by some of the biggest games on mobile. This is also a popular monetization mechanism on PC and Console.

The Battle Pass is now a feature in over 60% of the 100 highest-grossing games on the US App Store

The Battle Pass is now a feature in over 60% of the 100 highest-grossing games on the US App Store

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A viable cosmetic economy
To make the cosmetics economy work, you need to offer variety and choices (not everyone wants to buy the same cosmetics). COD does this by shipping large amounts of items on a very regular basis.

Many ways to make money
COD earns through Battle Pass, direct purchase packs, milestone gachas and ‘lucky draw gachas’ for the rarest skins. This mechanic has ten items in the bonus pool. Every time you buy gacha, one item is discarded, so there are only nine items left in the pool, increasing your chances of getting rarer items.

Usually players need to buy gacha 9-10 times to get the biggest prize. This is similar to how Apex Legends on console/PC distributes very unique/rare heirlooms with its ‘collectible events’.

COD Mobile: Gacha sweepstakes

COD Mobile: Gacha sweepstakes

The Genshin effect

Genshin Impact is different from other PC and console IPs because it has always been designed to last on all these platforms. In this sense, it can be seen as the blueprint for successful cross-platform titles in the future as it has already found large audiences in both worlds. Here are some of the things it does well:

AAA quality graphics
These exceed expectations for a mobile game.

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Control/feel of the game
This is akin to a high-end AAA console game when compared to most other mobile action RPGs.

Core gameplay focus
Most mobile action RPGs are very meta-focused, with gameplay that doesn’t quite feel like the center of things. Autoplay is often used to grind resources for development in the meta (character upgrades, etc.) Genshin Impact has focused more on core gameplay for combat, story, exploration, and interrelated quests. more concerned.

The best of both worlds
Genshin Impact delivers strong console/PC core gameplay combined with a proven character-collecting RPG meta system that works for service-based free-to-play games.

Continuously high production value in direct operations
Genshin Impact’s monthly events are huge. New event modes, characters, event zones, and missions keep players engaged and keep them super engaged compared to many other mobile games.

Characters are introduced with high quality storylines/quests, often tied to different events. Players can purchase these characters from the limited-time banner gacha, the main in-game monetization.

Theater Mechanicus event-tower defense mode in Genshin Impact update 1.3.0

Theater Mechanicus event-tower defense mode in Genshin Impact update 1.3.0

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Daily base sales are relatively high in Genshin Impact and each new gacha release generates a huge spike in base revenue

Daily base sales are relatively high in Genshin Impact and each new gacha release generates a huge spike in base revenue

League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift had a solid global launch in terms of revenue but has fallen since its subsequent decline, although the gameplay is top notch for a mobile MOBA.

Overall, the game has no glaring problems – it’s highly productive, runs smoothly on mobile, and the controls are well-delivered. The quality, gameplay, graphics and effects are all among the best for mobile devices.

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Wild Rift had a strong launch, but sales showed a slow decline

Wild Rift had a strong launch, but sales showed a slow decline

Overall, cosmetic economies can be challenging to monetize, especially in the MOBA genre, where LoL: Wild Rift and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are the only games in the Top 500 of the game. USA. The massive content pacing is one of the key factors behind the successful monetization of these games. Wild Rift is doing this well by constantly offering new cosmetics and collectibles like emojis, dances, and player avatars.

Even so, monetization is lagging behind a game like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, so what could improve LoL: Wild Rift?

A variety of monetization mechanisms
The most successful games offer different monetization mechanisms such as battle passes, subscription packs, events and gachas among many others. Monetization in Wild Rift is almost exclusively focused on direct-purchase heroes/skins and Battle Pass.

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Wild Rift's Wild Pass and direct purchase of champion/skin packs

Wild Rift’s Wild Pass and direct purchase of champion/skin packs

Limited time events and crossovers
Look at the graph below. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang saw a spike in revenue. These are mainly due to limited time gacha events, which add significant revenue in addition to the direct purchase of characters/skins and battle monetization.

For example, the two most recent big revenue spikes in MLBB were the Star Wars and Transformers co-productions. The main reward from these events (collaboration interface) cannot be purchased directly, but rewards from the special event gacha.

Meanwhile, LOL: Wild Rift events are super sleek and engaging but never directly monetized. Instead, they are used to introduce new skins or characters.

Compare Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and League of Legends: Wild Rift Daily Revenues After Wild Rift Launch (US iOS)

Compare Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and League of Legends: Wild Rift Daily Revenues After Wild Rift Launch (US iOS)

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Various MLBB partnership events and Transformers latest limited time event gacha

Various MLBB partnership events and Transformers latest limited time event gacha

Gachas
Finally, there is a huge revenue opportunity for LoL: Wild Rift with gachas because every highest grossing mobile game with cosmetic economy uses gacha differently. The PC version of LoL uses a variety of gachas, including limited events.

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League of Legends PC version earns through various gacha which can be purchased with premium currency

League of Legends PC version earns through various gacha which can be purchased with premium currency

More game modes
Even more, game modes like auto tournaments and social features like guilds will further attract and drive player retention.

Some special game modes in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

Some special game modes in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

Summary
Done right, developers have plenty of opportunities to make their console and PC properties work on mobile devices. Exciting days are ahead, as we can see, such as Apex Legends, Valorant and Diablo Immortal (and other upcoming Blizzard titles) ahead. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on these titles in the coming months to see how well their mobile design leads to commercial success.

Wilhelm Voutilainen is a senior game analyst at GameRefinery.

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-11-16-essential-design-features-to-help-pc-and-console-games-succeed-on-mobile | Essential design features to make PC and console games successful on mobile devices

TaraSubramaniam

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