The video games industry has seen unprecedented revenue growth since the start of the pandemic. Even though lockdown has lifted for the most part, the habit has simply continued to grow, with avid gamers devoting more time to their hobby and nascent gamers engaging for the first time. The world is looking for new forms of entertainment and seeking out new ways to connect with each other; video games seem to serve that purpose like never before. As publishers scramble to release new content, porting is a more effective solution than ever.
The Reasons to consider porting your game are simple
From a cost perspective, porting games can be a lucrative strategy for publishers. It offers a way to capitalize on a game already released for less than the cost of developing a new game, while also representing an opportunity to bring an existing title to a new audience. A well-timed release can rekindle interest in a franchise before a full sequel or reboot, or help recoup the costs of previous investments. The process of reworking a game for a new platform — one that may not have existed during the development of the original title — can be a colossal undertaking. Success calls for a phenomenal degree of engineering expertise and careful consideration of logistical and artistic challenges.
Every gamer has a preferred platform of play. The more platforms you release your game on, the more gamers you access. You can easily see this from the success that Battle Royale games like Fortnite have seen with their mobile ports.
Mobile gaming has seen unprecedented growth in emerging markets. Many burgeoning markets have comparatively cheap data, with prohibitively expensive consoles. This has helped mobile games seize the throne in emerging markets globally.
Access new players while thrilling loyal users by porting a legacy game to current-gen platforms. If you’re considering porting a legacy game, the time has never been better; with gamers that may not have played games in decades now reengaging with their former hobby, nostalgia games are seeing a sizeable uptick. One strategy for this is porting of legacy games from platforms to mobile. In our experience, there are even old languages that cannot be ported well to current- gen technology and a complete rebuild is required to launch a game that honors a classic title.
Ultimately, when you port a legacy game to mobile, sometimes a simple port is the right fit and sometimes a good execution requires a remaster or reboot. If you aren’t sure which one is the right fit for your game, here are some things to consider.
Live ops are the heart of mobile game dev and live ops likely did not exist when the original game was created. Crafting a robust live ops strategy will be key to the success of your port.
Memory can be a concern. Major title changes may be necessary to best suit the game to a mobile device given the smaller memory availability of the target device.
Orientation of the game needs to be considered. If both the original platform and the target platform have the same orientation (portrait vs landscape), then it’s not an issue. However, if they differ, then UI and HUD elements need to be reassigned for a successful port.
Art styles have changed significantly in the past few years and the art style of your legacy game needs to be visually resonant with the current aesthetic to engage the gamers of today.
Game play mechanics have changed significantly since Unity hit the world in 2005. Older games tend to be linear, while games that appeal to most modern gamers are non-linear and include a social or cooperative element that was absent in older games. When porting a legacy game, you need to consider how game play mechanics can be updates to appeal to a new audience. If game play mechanics need a drastic revamp, you should consider a remaster instead of a port.
Attention spans have changed significantly in the past decade. Older games may not take into account the necessity of quick game play. Porting a legacy game well to mobile means that quicker game play needs to be incorporated.
Fun is King, not Data
When it comes to porting your game to a new platform, fun has to
be king. If your game isn’t crafted to be fun on the new platform, it
doesn’t matter how impressive the graphics are or how bug-free
your final product is. So how do you port to a new platform without
losing the fun of the original game?
When you consider a port to a new platform, evaluate your audience carefully. The audience you target with your port may not be the same audience that played your game on the original platform. How do you make it fun and engaging for the gamers of today and tomorrow? Is there a new-age element you can incorporate into your game? Can you augment game play with some mixed reality or virtual reality element? If you want to incorporate VR or MR elements into your game, a revamp may be the right fit for your game rather than a port.
While porting is a fantastic way to access new markets and reengage former gamers, the process is tricky and requires an expertise
that developers and publishers may not have in-house. Ultimately, the success of your game on a new platform depends heavily on the
quality of the port. A bad port can be the quickest way for a game to lose fans and for a company to lose credibility. Porting a game well
requires specific engineering expertise before a game can be made compatible with another platform in all respects. If done well, it also
has the potential to revive interest in older titles with their newer versions.
As with any commercial endeavor, research will reveal the path toward success. Always carefully evaluate the market to determine whether your title should be ported to a new platform.