The power of YouTubers, streamers and personalities with gigantic social media followings is better starting to be better appreciated by the wider world of gaming. But one area where a clear disconnect remains is the realm of mobile gaming.
Developers and publishers are still investigating how the power of that social footprint can be harnessed for mobile games. And Disney thinks it has an idea.
Disney Interactive's mobile business came more into the spotlight last week after they announced a partnership with Melbourne developers Hipster Whale to produce Disney Crossy Road. The spin-off of the endless runner is a good example of how Disney has changed its focus to mobile gaming over the past few years, and it's also nice to see a little more success for Australian studios and developers.
But the interesting part of Disney's mobile plans revolve around what they want to do with influencers. Earlier this week, Disney's mobile games head Chris Heatherly told VentureBeat that they were investigating ways to build mechanics into their mobile games that would encourage people with large social followings to remain in-game.
"One thing we’d like to do going forward is, how do we build mechanics into our games that allow influencers to be an active part of the community and help manage their own micro-communities within our games," Heatherly said. "That’s a whole thread we’re thinking about."
Disney, according to Heatherly, has five internal studios with a goal to ship between three and four titles a year. That doesn't include the amount Disney partners with outside parties, of course, although the company has learnt from what happens when your internal development plans get out of hand.
He added that Clash Royale was a good indication of what the immediate future might hold for mobile games, with synchronous competitive multiplayer and a raft of community features that include clan creation, automated replays and more. "One of the most interesting things I’ve seen at [GDC] is people who are doing games built to be watched by audiences."
"They’re building off the trend of YouTube and Twitch, building those features directly into their games, which is very interesting to us from a game and a maker standpoint."