How to build a freemium mobile game: Go cute or go home

On May 18, 2011

Matt Tubergen heads Recharge Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of W3i that invests in the development and marketing/distribution of freemium mobile games.  W3i is a market leader in distributing and monetizing apps with over 500 million apps distributed for W3i clients. Recharge Studios is actively seeking new investment opportunities, if you have a great idea for a game contact us.

Let’s shift gears this week and talk a little bit about freemium content. It’s safe to say that in a world of copycat engines and concepts it’s hard to stand out. Sure, you can create new themes built on a proven game engine, but if the content doesn’t resonate with the users it simply won’t work.

There is a movement in the freemium game world that we call the “Cuteness” movement. No longer does targeting a specific demographic guarantee a success in a specific category. Today’s freemium games target a broad base of users and leave no stone unturned. Many top social game companies found success in this broad target by going cute.

Going cute with your freemium game will ensure that you can attract young and old alike. You might not necessarily “appeal” to a core gamer… but c’mon, who doesn’t love cute penguins or playful dolphins?

And freemium/casual games have turned into just that “casual”….

Gamers are better off to have a relaxing enjoyable experience with a bunch of cute elf-like, hobbit-like creatures vs. hard core death ridden monsters. Don’t believe me that going “cute” works?

Take a look at some of the top grossing freemium titles as of 5/17/11, every single icon screams “cute”.

So what does this mean? Unless you’re going after a specific demographic with a unique genre of content, stick to cute!

Make it as freakin’ cute as possible.

Do your best to get as many 45 year old males to go goo-goo and gah-gah over your content and your app is sure to be a hit.

Do you have a question about freemium gaming or a topic you’d like us to explore? Let us know in the comments or catch us on twitter @rechargestudios or @w3i.

Freemium Game Blogs are published in partnership with the series on W3i’s corporate blog.