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KAMAGAMES The accessibility of mobile


Kamagames’ Sam Forrest explains: Why are Card Games Best Suited to Mobile as a Medium?


P


There are a number of key reasons why card games transition


effortlessly to mobile


oker may be the world’s best-known analog game but there can be no doubt that it’s been wholeheartedly embraced by modern mediums and their players. According to App Annie, mobile games was the fastest-growing sector of the overall gaming market in 2018, beating consoles, PC/Mac, and handheld gaming. In addition to this, a 2017 report stated that casino/card games made up almost a third of mobile games played at that time. Since 2017, our own revenue numbers have increased dramatically, growing +33% from $57.5m in 2017 to $76.4m in 2018. While our daily active user numbers have soared from 510,000 to 630,000 in the same time period. KamaGames has continued to build on this success, growing by 11.2% in H1 2019. There are a number of key reasons why card games transition effortlessly to mobile which has resulted in the medium, and the developers who master it, dominating the industry in recent years. Among these reasons are not only the practicalities involved for developers but also the global understanding of card games themselves and their seemingly limitless versatility.


PRACTICALITIES FOR DEVELOPERS The success of card games on mobile as a medium


A lot of casual gaming titles are built on the


relies heavily upon not only the enjoyment of the games among players but also the practicalities of creating such a game for developers. For experienced developers, the technical demands of creating a streamlined and well-designed card game are relatively low when compared to other genres of mobile gaming. In terms of design, gameplay and processing requirements, the demands for a successful card game are quite straightforward.


freemium model, which further aids in the accessibility of mobile games


The design of a deck of cards and a smartphone screen share similarities in both shape and size. This makes for a seamless transition from analog to digital and cuts out a lot of complexity for developers in terms of how players will ultimately interact with the design of the game. In addition to these advantages, card games also do not require extraordinary processing power or overly large memory. They’re also compatible with just about any smartphone on the market, making them highly accessible for players. This provides mobile card games with a competitive edge when compared to other online games demanding a lightning speed internet connection in order to have a more streamlined experience. For instance, multiplayer action games require reaction times in a fraction of a second, while  standard 4G. This, unsurprisingly, is a great advantage for developers trying to enter new and emerging markets, as players can engage with games long before the advance of reliable internet data plans and speeds.


68 DECEMBER 2019 GIO ACCESSIBILITY OF MOBILE


While some regions have had a gaming culture spanning decades, others took longer to adopt the pastime. For example, consoles were essentially banned in China  launched in the country in 2014, this medium and gaming culture in general, had a lot of catching up to  mobile. In October 2019, Call of Duty: Mobile launched generating more downloads than any other mobile game in history, according to Sensor Tower. This is impressive considering the game didn’t actually launch in the region itself.


So, even as new potential markets for console gaming emerge, there’s an argument to be made that it’s more practical for those in the digital age to purchase a multi-purpose smartphone instead of a console. With global smartphone penetration sitting at approximately 67% in 2019 according to DataReportal, this has increasingly become the case, leading to a steady increase in casual gaming.


Card games in particular are suited to the casual gaming phenomenon, as they can be played so effectively on mobile and the varying lengths of these games allow players to dip in and out whenever their schedule allows. Some players can take part for as little as the time it takes to play one hand at poker or they can enjoy an entire lengthy tournament. There’s no requirement for specialised equipment to play and as smartphone costs continue to fall, the accessibility of these games will only continue to grow. A lot of casual gaming titles, such as our own Pokerist, are built on the freemium or free-to-play (FTP) model, which further aids in the accessibility of mobile games. With this model, the minority of paying players are subsidising the majority of non-paying players. While mobile games sometimes share the one-off payment model that console games have, the price difference often varies wildly. The average mobile app game is relatively inexpensive to purchase if there’s a cost incurred at all. Producing a console game is usually much higher and that expense is then passed along to the consumer, with a typical new release easily reaching the $60 price range. Card games, such as those similar to Pokerist, would never be found in this price range, meaning anyone with a smartphone can download and play, free of charge.


UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE


 is their global recognition and familiarity. Even those who have neglected to ever encounter one hand of poker will be somewhat knowledgeable about the rules. Most are turn-based, most involve hiding the cards from other players and most have a value-based card system. Every culture understands the general concept of a card game and most even have their own regionally popular games that the majority of the population is


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