How are mobile games created? Challenges for the game developer

The mobile gaming industry accounts for 50% of the global gaming market. According to a revised study by Newzoo, the global gaming market is worth about $ 148.8 billion in 2019, and the largest sector of this is mobile gaming, which is valued at $ 68.2 billion. “Introduction to the development of mobile games” is a lesson that our lecturer from ARC Academy Tanko Shokerov presented to the students. In this article we have summarized the whole lecture, and the full video can be found at the end of the article.

Танко Шокеров

A little more about our lecturer: Tanko Shokerov

Tanko Shokerov is one of the veterans in the gaming industry on the Bulgarian market and studio manager of Gameloft Sofia. In 2011 he started working as a producer, and later became a senior producer in the Bulgarian office of the French giant. Behind him are now games like March of Empires, 9mm, Age of Sparta, War Planet Online and many more titles.

Objectives of the lecture:

  • To tell the history and development of the mobile gaming industry.
  • Secrets to success in creating a mobile game

Video timeline:

02:57 What is a mobile game? History and development of mobile games

08:17 Developer challenges in the past and how they are overcome today

25:01 Mobile games are available – profile and demographics of the gamers

34:07 The life cycle of a game

57:12 The new trends in games


1) What is a mobile game?

A mobile game is any game that can be played on a portable screen device

The first computer game “Spacewar!” was established in 1962. and played on a computer the size of a car. Since then, technology has evolved a lot and nowadays it is even possible to play on our smartwatch!

2) The challenges facing developers in the past and how they have been overcome today

The challenges for developers today are many, and in the past they were even more numerous. The first and one of the biggest limitations is the variety of the devices themselves – as we know on the market we have hundreds of phone models, with different display sizes, with different operating systems (IOS, Android) and different specifications. Every mobile game must be integrated and adapted to all these conditions.

3) Mobile games are available – profile and demographics of gamers

The average age of gamers is about 31 years, and 46% of them are women. Many of these users spend their free time in front of their phones playing mobile games. These are entertaining “Snack” games (Clash Royale, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, etc.) that have the following features:

  • Short game sessions
  • They do not require deep concentration

4) The life cycle of a game

“It all starts with the idea.”

It all starts with the idea, after which we have to develop it and find out if there is a place for it on the market. The next step is the first prototype, which is a kind of sketch of the game. This is the so-called kick-off phase, which aims to show the potential of the game, the target group to which it is aimed and the markets in which we will position it. Then comes the First Playable Publishable (FPP) stage. At this point, the game is almost complete and theoretically we can put it up for sale, but to make it the perfect product we are aiming for, we still have a lot of work to do. The FPP phase is followed by all the final stages (Feature Lock & Implementation, Game Testing, Soft Launch), which the development team must go through to reach the finished product.

The life cycle of the game:

Жизненият цикъл на играта

5) New trends in games

What can we expect in the future? The subscription will change mobile games with great force. It differs from the currently popular freemium model (free microtransaction games) in that it will allow the development of much higher quality mobile games. Another trend is streaming applications that allow gamers to play remotely from any device at a much faster speed than now.