illigo : Singapore Mobile App and Web Development Company - Items filtered by date: October 2015

In the last decade the board gaming hobby has made a triumphant resurgence into many people’s lives. Gone are the days where the only games families will play is Monopoly and Cluedo. On the popular board gaming website Boardgamegeek.com they have 79,944 board games registered in their database.

But with so many board games being published each year they are struggling to get noticed by the players and the market. To combat this, board game designers needed to think of an innovation to add to their games which would make their game stand out in an over saturated market and entice the players. This innovation started to take play in early 2014, and it came in the form of mobile apps to assist or enhance gameplay in board games. There are three primary board game app categories:

  1. Full gameplay. These apps would consist of being the entire game in digital form.
  2. Buddy apps. These apps would help the users track game information such as their health points and score.
  3. Core apps. These apps are the core foundation of the game, and without the app the game is nigh on impossible to play.

Buddy apps have always gone down well with the board gaming community. They are not aiming to replace any gameplay functionality and just aim to support the current user’s play, or enhance it. A popular example would be One Night Ultimate Werewolf’s app. It merely adds narrative, and sound effects to the game which could have easily been read out and played by a player.

The controversy comes from core apps. With these apps most of the gameplay elements are captured in the application, making players concerned that if the app or devices are no longer supported in the future then it renders their game unplayable and obsolete. This is not an uncommon fear with technology outside of board games.

Often technology companies are scared by how software scales, and its longevity. However, many board game players were quick to defend apps in gaming as a principle of “If the game is good, the app will be supported for a long time”.

Popular core apps games include Alchemist and XCOM.

Alchemist is innovative with its use of apps as it allows the player to play the game to acquire ingredients to use in his alchemy, then input those ingredients into the app to determine if the potion worked. This can all be done without an app (so longevity is preserved), but is a long winded process.

XCOM on the other hand, uses its app to set real-time mission objectives, and tells a player what is going to happen on a given round which that player must then communicate to the rest of the team.

The reason I say popular is because these are the only two games in boardgamegeek’s top 500 which have core app games.

So what does this mean for technology in board games? Well, this has happened before. In the 80’s and 90’s board games used conventional electronics and motors to enhance gameplay. Case in point, remember the game Operation. There hasn’t yet been a game released in 2015 with a core app game.

Seeing as this is still a experimental concept to the board game industry I think it would be very risky to create a startup which caters to this niche of apps. However, board game mobile apps (full gameplay) are on the rise. Carcasonne (ranked 112 on BGG) is currently sitting #2 on Google Play’s board game listing with 100,000 – 500,000 installs at SGD$4. So if you are looking for a technology startup in an industry in its golden age, then maybe board games are just for you.

These days, app stores for Android & iOS apps are really big – and it’s getting bigger every day. If you are in – good for you, but if not? Developing a mobile app might be the number one priority to think about. Competition is growing among all industries, and you definitely don’t want them to take over your services or products.

A billion smartphones will be sold by the end of 2015. Think about it. How big your target audience can grow. That’s twice the number of PCs sold. And we expect over 10 billion mobile internet devices in use by 2016.

Nowadays, trending mobile app development is focused on the following:

  • Social networking mobile app – The fastest growing and most demanded apps among user;
  • Context marketing that is improving user experience through mobile app frontend usage;
  • Location-based services. A multi-billion niche for mobile app markets;
  • Mobile search for e-commerce – makes consumer experience easier while looking for products or comparing prices between vendors;
  • Standalone and moving objects recognition. Focus on mobile apps with sensor and processing capabilities;
  • And finally – Mobile payment systems – a booming demand as NFC is getting more popular around the globe. According to a study, nearby 1 in 5 mobile phones will have Near Field Communications (NFC) on board.

These are great mobile trends not only for customers, but for mobile app development companies too as even job growth of mobile app developers by this time hits 131% and continues to grow. According to statistics, 46% of mobile app users paid for their apps and we expect that number to be over 268 billion downloads by the end of 2016. Generating $77 billion revenue for mobile app developers and business owners.

For better industry understanding just have a look at this infographic, generated by theUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham’s online masters in management information systems, covering mobile applications in use, apps revenue, apps popularity, mobile application trends and mobile app developer salary.