Apple Facilitates Social Gameplay With iPhone 7, Updates to iOS 10
Insights & Best Practices
November 3, 2016
The bonus revenue program is back! From October to December 2016, get the most out of iOS 10 and the latest Chartboost SDK 6.5.?Learn more here.Once a year, mobile developers around the world start up their web browsers, wait for Apple's stream to start, and lean forward on their chairs in anticipation. The unveiling of a new Apple product or OS update is always a moment of excitement, because every new Apple device or software is a business opportunity.In just over a month of availability, iOS 10 has over 50 percent adoption among Apple users. And developer's response to iOS 10 and iPhone 7 has been as varied as its been vibrant. For Frazer Merrick, creative director at Teaboy Games, the new social-sharing features of iOS 10 are a major boon for devs: ?The moment you can make your audience your marketing tool, you're onto a winner," Merrick says.In a marketplace as crowded as the App Store, anything Apple can do to ensure quality games come through without forcing developers to rely solely on user acquisition is a major bonus. Several of Apple's new features lend themselves to marketing and social sharing?from the ability to share replays easily across social media to new tools to play mini games with friends within iMessage.
ReplayKit is as simple as it sounds, allowing devs and players to both share recorded gameplay and broadcast games live. Steven Taarland, technical director at Scottish studio Insert Imagination says that since more games are designed around this sharing of "viral moments," ReplayKit is an important addition to iOS. This feature lends itself particularly well to the fast-growing eSports market, which is expected to generate $463 million globally this year and exceed $1 billion in just three years.?This could really open up Let's Play videos for mobile games even further," Taarland adds.[caption id="attachment_21175" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]
Image via Apple[/caption]Let's Play videos follow individuals playing a mobile game and typically include commentary?which can range from game-related advice to colorful asides. While they're not a new concept for mobile games, they've been largely created by key mobile game influencers on YouTube. While entertaining for viewers, Let's Play videos pose a huge opportunity for devs to educate players about their game, as well as increase awareness in the mobile gaming community. What's more, ReplayKit will allow developers to build in recording features for players, allowing to make Let's Play videos?or other video content?if they wish.
Mini games and stickers in iMessage
Apple's decision to implement mini games into its rejuvenated iMessage has generated the biggest response amongst devs.?Mini games are going to strengthen the core loop of the game and, moreover, they don't allow you to play solo?you need another gamer," says Enrico Rossomando, chief technology office of Italian mobile social outfit Mangatar. ?That increases the viral potential of the game."[caption id="attachment_21174" align="aligncenter" width="925"]
Image via VentureBeat[/caption]At the moment, iOS 10 supports mini games in the experimentation phase, with MojiQuest from the London-based MojiWorks leading the way and playing like a boiled down, especially simplified version of Clash of Clans. Last week, San Francisco-based Mastermind Studios launched simple strategy game Battle Bash. Taarland points out, ?there's potential to create larger experiences of games within messages, such as Dungeons & Dragons style role-playing games within a group conversation."Also built into iMessage's dedicated App Store are stickers from games such as?Fallout Shelter and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. Players can now share visual content from their favorite games with their friends for a small fee?providing increase in the game's social presence and overall exposure.
iPhone 7 processing power, battery
Apple's new hardware, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, also have a few notable upgrades?and, thankfully, spontaneous combustion isn't one of them (in fact, the iPhone 7 is actually reaping the benefits of its competitor's failure in some markets).[caption id="attachment_21173" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]
Image via TechCrunch[/caption]The most important feature for devs is the increased processing power of the new phone. As This Game Studio's Oz: Broken Kingdom demonstrated during the launch event, everything from weather effects to environmental destruction abilities were enhanced. Haptic feedback taps allow for an in-game experience much the way a video game controller would. The colors, brightness and audio on the iPhone 7 are improved as well.Finally, Apple attempted to address one of the major dampers on any game experience: low battery. The iPhone 7 promises to sustain battery life for two hours longer than the iPhone 6, though early reviews indicate that battery life?though improved somewhat?isn't living up to expectations.