Troubling stats: almost half of mobile games fail to make it past development

Anne Freer | November 22, 2023

App Business

SuperScale, a company based in London that helps mobile games grow, recently published a report based on interviews with 500 game developers in the UK and US. It found that 43% of mobile gaming apps do not make it past the development stage. Let’s take a look.

Many games stuck in development stage

The fact that 43% of mobile games don’t make it past the development stage highlights the high level of risk and uncertainty in game development. It might also raise concern over a high portion of resources invested in game creation going to waste.

The report also found that among the games that do get released, a whopping 83% stop getting updates and services within three years.

The short lifecycle of games is a serious challenge for developers who are already struggling to maintain relevance and profitability in the highly competitive mobile gaming market.

This is a tough situation for game developers. Many of them prefer working on new games rather than improving existing ones. However, 62% of their most profitable games rely on constant updates and engagement with players.

So, even though developers want to create new games, it might not be as financially rewarding, especially when so many games fail even before they’re launched.

Economic challenges

The report also cites economic difficulties and job layoffs in the gaming industry this year. In fact, 32% of the developers who were interviewed had to let go of employees, and 40% had to hire external help for tasks, especially in hypercasual and collectable card game studios.

Nearly 25% of developers came close to shutting down completely in 2023.

Ivan Trancik, the founder and CEO of SuperScale, acknowledged that these are tough times for the gaming industry. He mentioned challenges like competition, economic conditions, and changes like the ATT (App Tracking Transparency) policy. However, he also sees an opportunity for the industry to revisit and revitalize existing gaming content.

SuperScale’s report also provides insights into current trends, how developers measure their game’s success, and the ways they make money from their games.

Key takeaways

  • 43% of mobile games face uncertain futures, raising concerns about resource wastage and industry risk
  • A staggering 83% of released mobile games stop receiving updates within three years, posing a challenge to sustained profitability
  • Layoffs, outsourcing, and nearly 25% of developers facing shutdown highlight economic challenges in the gaming industry’s volatile landscape

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